Make full use of this season to add a new language to your repertoire so that when travel resumes, you’ll be able to blend in with the locals seamlessly (audio-wise at least). We’ve also added some of our favourite foreign-language films and TV shows into the mix to get you inspired.
There are a ton of different theories when it comes to the origins of languages. The Jews and Christians attribute the foreign aspect of it to the Tower of Babel, while Hindus blame it on the World Tree’s presumptuous mistake. Down under, the Aboriginals believe that foreign languages were actualised when a cannibalistic act involving an old village lady’s innards was committed. Regardless of its potentially grizzly beginnings, the objective of languages remains clear — we need them to communicate effectively with one another and stay united as a global community. So, what better way to use this lull time in travel to learn (or brush up on) some of these best languages that will come in handy when you venture out, once again, on your international escapades!
Image Credits: Los Angeles Times
If you’re planning a visit to the Middle East or North Africa in the foreseeable future, knowing a bit of Arabic would come in handy. Popular destinations that recognise Arabic as their official language include Dubai, Morocco, Jordan, and of course Egypt.
Popular Phrases: “Shukran” (Thank you), “Marhaba” (Hello), “Min fadlak (masc.), Min fadlik (fem.)” (Please)
Where to learn: Al-Ahdaf Academy, from S$340
App: Learn Arabic Speak Arabic
TV series That Inspired Us: Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Season 1
Image Credits: Ars Technica
During one of the initial dates my boyfriend and I went on, the conversation of languages came up. When I asked how many he knew or was fluent in, he mentioned Python as one of them. And he isn’t wrong to categorise it as a method of communication. Python is a computer programming language often used to build websites and software, automate tasks, and conduct data analysis. It’s also easy for beginners to use and learn!
Where to learn: SG Code Campus, from S$516
TV Series That Inspired Us: Mr Robot and/or Start-Up
Image Credits: Rotten Tomatoes
Ah, the language of love. Romanticised in many a Woody Allen film (and general cinema), French is probably one of the most sought-after languages to learn on this list. Plus, if there’s one thing in common that these shows have perpetuated — it would be that the French are incredibly proud of their language, and travelling to a French-speaking country (France, Canada, Belgium, etc) would be a lot easier if you could say more than oui.
Popular Phrases: “On se parle plus tard” (Let’s talk later), “Où sont les toilettes” (Where is the bathroom), or “Est-ce que je peux utiliser vos toilettes, s’il vous plaît?” (May I use your bathroom, please?), and of course, “Bonjour!” (Hello!) and “Au revoir (Good bye), plus “Merci Beaucoup” (Thank you)
Where to learn: Alliance Française, from S$390 or at French Toast, from S$295
Movie or TV Series That Inspired Us: Midnight in Paris and/or Lupin
Image Credits: Business Insider
If you wish to enter into the business world or get into academia, German might just be your best bet! Not only will it look great on your resume, being fluent in German will come in handy because Germany is home to big economic players like Volkswagen and Adidas. Not to mention, Germany is renowned for its affordable and world-class education system!
Popular Phrases: “Danke” (Thanks), “In Sprichst du English?” (Do you speak English?), “Wo finde ich eine toilette?” (Where do I find a toilet?)
Where to learn: Goethe-Institut, from S$400
App: Rosetta Stone
Movie That Inspired Us: Inglorious Basterds
Image Credits: Cinema Express
I once took a semester of Hindi after watching 3 Idiots and instantly falling in love with Aamir Khan. However, if you need another reason to learn the third most spoken language in the world, other than being able to recognise certain phrases in your favourite Bollywood movie, just take a look at Northern India’s amazing scenery and I’m pretty sure you’ll be sold.
Popular Phrases: “Aap kaise hain” (How are you), “Mein theek hoon. Tum?” (I’m fine. You?), “Maaf ki-jie” (Sorry), “Chalo!” (Let’s go!)
Where to learn: The Hindi Society, from S$100
App: Mind ur Hindi
Movies That Inspired Us: Dangal Yuddham, PK, 3 Idiots
Image Credits: Rotten Tomatoes
I think we can all agree that the Japanese are in a league of its own — everything from their cult beauty products to cosplay culture to the creation of anime, and even Japanese cuisine. Needless to say, we all want in. However, the only way to truly immerse yourself in that world would be through an education in Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana.
Popular Phrases: “Mou ichido onegaishimasu” (Could you please say that again?), “Menu o kudasai” (May I have the menu), “Toire wa doko desu ka?” (Where is the bathroom?)
Where to learn: Tomo Japanese Language School, from S$390, or Ikoma Language School, from S$450
Movies That Inspired Us: Your Name, Spirited Away, Audition
Image Credits: Geek Culture
The K-pop culture has infiltrated almost every industry — music, movies and even beauty. If you’ve been on the earth for even two seconds, you’ll know of popular bands such as BlackPink and Korean beauty brands like Etude House and ICE. Not to imagine the empire that Korean dramas have created for themselves. Since there’s no escaping it, why not join them?
Popular Phrases: “Ban-gap-sum-ni-da” (Nice to meet you), “Bap meo-geo-seo-yo?” (How are you?), “Kam-sa-ham-ni-da” (Thank you)
Where to learn: Sejong Korean Language School, from S$360
App: Hangul by Punch
TV Series That Inspired Us: Kingdom
Image Credits: Rotten Tomatoes
Of sunshine and sangrias, Spain has an infectious energy about Her that beckons any visitor to stay and take root. Siestas aside, Spain has an amazing culture that’s rich in history, art and architecture. Needless to say, it’s an essential travel destination. Bonus: many other countries adopt Spanish as their official language, including a huge portion of the Americas.
Popular Phrases: “Hola, me llamo..” (Hello, my name is…), “Por favor” (Please), “¿Cómo estás?” (How are you?). “Yo no comprendo” (I do not understand)
Where to learn: Spanish Studio, from S$290
TV Series That Inspired Us: Money Heist, that one scene from Community
Get Started On These Best Languages Today!
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