Most of us might have learnt a little French or German at school, although in the 60s when I was treading the corridors of wisdom acquisition, there were few prospects of leaving these shores. These days we can easily travel the globe as independent explorers. But to be an adventurous and also a confident voyager we need at least a few words of the local language.
Eurotalk offers a host of languages to learn and at several levels. I was particularly interested in Japanese as I have several trips planned. English and a smattering of French have served me well all over Europe. If one speaks English then one encounters few problems in Scandinavia and if one is on linguistic nodding terms with French then it’s a start in both Italy and Spain. But Japan is different.
Eurotalk presents kits that offer the Japanese language novice a real chance at communication success. The software is simple to download even for the not-so-IT-savvy. One can be learning within minutes and it’s fun.
The beauty of learning from home is flexibility. It’s easy to find a little time here or there. The basic beginner’s level offers words and phrases appropriate for general travel needs and everyday courtesy. One doesn’t have to be fluent at any foreign language to make a positive impression with the host population, but a few words will always be welcomed, as will you. And despite the belief that all Japanese speak English, it’s evident that they don’t …and why should they?
Learning with Eurotalk is fun and it’s easy to assess progress. You can record your own attempts at pronunciation and you can slow down the original Japanese to give yourself a bit more of a sporting chance. You will listen to male and female native Japanese speakers pronouncing each word or phrase and you can repeat over and over. There are language games to play, to check that you truly can speak and understand those words and phrases, and that you really will be able to call them to mind when standing on a cold platform at Nagoya station.
Talk Now, for computers, has nine different topics covering first words, food, colours, phrases, body, numbers, time, shopping and countries. There is also an app called uTalk which is the equivalent for iPhone and iPad. They both give a good spread of conversations and of course you will add to these as necessary. This is just your tool to get started.
Eurotalk offers 120 or so different languages and all of those with different levels of skills. There is no homework, one can learn at one’s own pace and it opens a door to the world. A pre-travel essential.
uTalk is available from the App Store so you can start learning today.
Travel review by Chrissie Walker © 2018