The idea is that you be able to communicate with as many people in as many different places as possible knowing as few languages as possible. If in some country you can dispense with knowing the language and there is not much to see in that country (compared with the rest of the world), then the language is not needed.
This is just for fun and I didn’t do any research. My list of languages you should know to travel:
- English – this is becoming the standard so you can’t travel without it. Even if it wasn’t supposed to be the lingua franca, you would still have the US, Australia, Canada and a couple of other countries which are huge where the language is spoken so knowing English is still very high on the list
- Portuguese/Spanish – these are put together because it probably is enough to just know one of them (preferably Portuguese since generally it is easier for Portuguese speakers to understand Spanish than the other way around). There is a whole South America to see so you can’t miss out.
- Russian – a lot of people in Russia do not speak other languages and Russia is the biggest country in the world. Also it is surrounded by a bunch of other countries people in which can speak Russian and if you don’t speak it, you are missing out on the whole continent.
- Mandarin – hey, it is the most widely spoken language in the world and I am under the impression that a lot of people in China do not speak other (especially non-Chinese) languages.
- Arabic – the problem is that there are too many dialects. Perhaps Standard Arabic would cut it. Maybe not.
- French – I was not sure as to include it but hey, there is Africa. A lot of people still speak French there. There is also Quebec and France (although I wouldn’t have included French in this list if it were only those two).
I think this is it. Of course, from this point on, the more you know, the better. I just have the impression that this list would maximize your travelling experience.
How many languages from this list do you know? And what would your version of this list be?
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