NYR iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
GET UPDATES FROM Casey Scieszka
 
GET UPDATES FROM Steven Weinberg
 

5 Need-To-Know Words When Traveling The World (PHOTOS)

Posted: 09/19/11 09:29 AM ET

In our travels everywhere from Beijing to Timbuktu, my boyfriend/collaborator Steven Weinberg and I have found that knowing even just a little bit of the local language goes a LONG way. We've got a real hodgepodge of language skills between us, from being near fluent in French to knowing just a few curse words in Norwegian, and we're always looking for more because as a traveler there's no such thing as packing too many language skills.

So here are 5 phrases from around the world that can help you bargain, get across town, make friends and maybe even limit the number of cultural faux-pas you will inevitably make when going somewhere new.

You check out more of our travel tales in our illustrated book "To Timbuktu: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story" (Roaring Brook Press 2011) which is all about the two years right out of college that we spent living in Asia and West Africa. More info at allthewaytotimbuktu.com.

In sha Allah
1  of  7
PLAY
FULLSCREEN
ZOOM
SHARE THIS SLIDE 
In sha Allah is your frenemy of a phrase. Modern Standard Arabic for "God Willing," Muslims all over the world use it to mean everything from "I hope that happens" to "You never know" to "Good eff-ing luck". It's not exactly what you want to hear coming out of a taxi driver's mouth right after you tell him where you want to go, but after a while it will come in handy for you too. For example, when a really nice lady from a really terrible town asks you if you're coming back again some day, you can say, "In sha Allah!" and run away before she asks you to specify.
RATE IT!   |  
VOTE
Old news!
Learned something new!
CURRENT TOP 5 PICK YOUR OWN TOP 5
USERS WHO VOTED
NEW! CREATE YOUR OWN SLIDESHOW