When traveling to another country, it is incredibly important to be able to communicate, at least on a basic level, with some of that country’s residents. Before taking a trip abroad, many people purchase travel books, investigate online, talk to friends, and more. These people research customs and cultures, currency information, foods and sites they may encounter, and even basic phrases to use. Of course, it is always important to learn how to say “hello” and “goodbye” in a foreign country. It helps to know handy phrases such as “how much [does this cost]?” “Can you help me?” and the very important, “Where is the bathroom?” In addition, there are a few other words that are most helpful when traveling, and these are “thank you,” “please,” and “you’re welcome.”
Let’s say you are in Italy in a delightful little gelateria ordering some gelato. You would begin your request by saying per favore (please), and once you got your hands on the gelato you would say grazie (thank you). The employee would happily throw you a prego to say “you’re welcome.”
Or perhaps you are in France ordering some croissants at a boulangerie. Here, you would again begin your request with a s’il vous plaît (please). With the buttery croissant in your hand, you would probably tell the worker merci or merci beaucoup (thank you, and thank you very much). Following that of course is de rien (you’re welcome). Rien means “nothing,” so in essence you are saying “no problem” or “no need to thank.”
Now put yourself in Germany. You are ordering some delicious bratwursts from a bratwurststand (yes, they are really called this), and you would begin by telling the vendor bitte (please). On receiving a mustard-laced bratwurst, you would tell him danke (thank you), and he would reply back gern geschehen (you’re welcome). This latter phrase takes a bit of practice in the pronunciation department!
I’m sure you have noticed that many of these phrases were already familiar to you. What other phrases have you found useful while traveling?