do you take a phrase book with you?

Old Feb 18th, 2005, 12:59 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,412
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
do you take a phrase book with you?

I am studying French now but my experience booking the hotels in French (I had to with one)..has left me thinking I need to bring a book of common phrases or a vocabulary book. There are small ones I know.

Opinions?...
loisco is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2005, 01:02 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 19,419
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I will go to Switzerland, so I'll be taking at least 2 small books: French and German. I think it's a really good idea!
FainaAgain is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2005, 01:57 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There are several series of phrase books in .pdf and .lit format for PDAs and PPCs. In addition, Microsoft provides free language dictionaries to/from English and French, German, Spanish, and Italian.
Robespierre is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2005, 01:59 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

I always do. It generally provides a lot of hilarity.
Leely is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2005, 02:24 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,933
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes, I always take a phrase book with me to any country, even if I know the language a bit. I don't take one to France because I know French, however, in countries where I know the language enough to speak it to some extent (ie, can construct simple sentences, know the basic verbs "to be" and "to have" and simple conjugations, and know at least some common vocabulary) I always take a mini dictionary with me as I usually find that more useful than a travelers' phrasebook.

Larousse, Collins and some other companies make "mini dictionaries" that have basically the entire content of a regular pocket paperback dictionary, but are very small and easy to pack and carry. I like both those brands, but Larousse has better quality paper and I would choose it if one can't see them in person.

I would never travel to a foreign country without a dictionary. Well, you won't believe this, but I like words and write for a living to some extent, and actually always have a dictionary around, people make fun of me (I keep one in my glove compartment, for example).
Christina is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2005, 04:01 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,412
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I write for a living too (sort of)....cookbooks...anyway I have a small Larousse dictionary but no phrases in it..have a Berlitz small phrase dictionary and a Berliz phrase book.All of these are pretty old.

I am not sure whether the dictionary would be handier than the phrase book. I think so. And if Robespierre says the PDA can be loaded with the phrases...?...I will let my husband do some work.

Thanks.
loisco is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2005, 04:05 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,994
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I always take a phrase book and do some basic vocabulary studying on the plane, if not before. Look at a few pocket sized ones, and choose one that will best suit your needs.

In addition to being most useful, they can also provide a lot of fun. In Italy, after we used our book to translate many menu items at lunch and dinner, my family would take turns saying nonsensical phrases in Italian, and the other members had to guess what was being said. My son's favoite was..."Waiter, I need a bottle of whiskey, QUICKLY".

Guess you had to be there!
Iregeo is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2005, 04:16 PM
  #8  
cmt
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,793
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
For Italy or France I always take a dictionary. For Greece I photocopied the first few chapters as well as the vocabulary from the back of a very easy Greek grammar book, and some words and phrases from various guide books, and also wrote out some absolutely essential constructions that I wanted to be sure I didn't forget, e.g., "where is...." For Turkey, I hand copied words from various guidebooks that I thought would be useful, and on the shuttle bus to JFK airport I happened to sit next to an American who lives in Turkey who offered to write out some polite phrases I should know so I could learn them during the flight. I've never actually bought a phrase book.
cmt is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2005, 04:20 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,331
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The only German phrase I know:

"Trotsdiem haven wir uns verlaufen."

"Nevertheless, we are still lost."
Edward2005 is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2005, 04:29 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,339
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have taken phrase books, but honestly, never even look at them!! I just find they are not needed. You end up learning words and phrases by talking to people, and even if you don't..usually even if you try and pronounce what is in the phrase book, they don't understand you anyhow and vice versa!!
TracyB is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2005, 05:27 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,130
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I always take one, if even just to go over again on the flight over. I've never used it ofetn when abroad but I figure it's better to have it than to wish I did.
Statia is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2005, 05:41 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,886
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes - we always take a mini dictionary for each language we'll be using. And Its always useful for nouns if notihng else.

I can bumble along in tourist Spanish - but it seems there are always words you need to know that they don't teach you: and when this strange light started going on in our rentla car I was really glad to be able to look up "frenos" - brakes - so we knew how urgent it was to have the car looked at.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2005, 07:17 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,013
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have an older (1996) Thomas Cook European Travel Phrasebook (French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Greek and Turkish). Have used it quite a bit. The problem is -- quickly learned, quickly forgotten.
Treesa is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2005, 07:26 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes, I always take a dictionary and a very small phrase book. Why, I have no idea. I don't think I have ever used either. But it rather seems like a security blanket.

Edward, your "only know phrase" in German should be one phrase every traveller should know in whatever country they are travelling in. Don't you think? LOL.
LoveItaly is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2005, 11:51 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 90
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I always pack a small phrasebook/dictionary. I usually only use a handful of polite phrases and the menu/shopping decoders. Even though I speak basic Spanish, my phrasebook was extremely useful in an emergency, when the car was towed in small town Spain and we had to get police help to get it back! Phrasebooks are great for emergencies. I would always take one, especially one with a section on medical terms and phrases and one comunicating with police in case of theft, etc.
ashields is offline  
Old Feb 19th, 2005, 01:51 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 308
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
yes, I have met the nicest people on train and buses and in the street with my phrase book in Paris and Italy.
We swap the book, pointing etc to phrases to help each other out.Lots of laughs always...
kimerley is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2005, 10:50 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,933
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Some of those phrasebooks are so small, I'd say no harm in taking one along with the dictionary. I know you are trying to pack lightly, though, so maybe even one more thing seems impossible. If so, I'd take a regular dictionary rather than the phrasebook.

I do very much like the Dover publications on foreign language phrasebooks -- "Say It in French", etc. I have about every one they've published (including Arabic, Hungarian and Dutch). Those are only about $4 and very small; much smaller than some of these books that are closer to pocketsize paperback dictionaries. Throw one of those in, maybe (it's about 3x5 inches, and maybe 1/2 inch thick). You can't find them in many bookstores as they are so cheap, but you can on amazon.com, or online bookstores.

Another thing I find very useful is a very small grammar book. I really like the Vest Pocket series. These are also very small and combine a limited phrasebook (not as easily used as Dover's) with a grammar summary and even a very small dictionary of common words and verbs. This series has had various publishers over the years -- Cortina, Barnes and Noble, etc., but the author is Joseph Southam Choquette (current publisher Cortina). Also may be hard to find in a regular store. It is sold on Amazon, and is about the first finding if you type "vest pocket french" in the search box for "books" section. I really find this useful to travel with (they have some other languages, also) or just carry around with me while studying, etc. It has a very good small condensed grammar section for conjugations, tenses, adjectives, adverbs, use of articles, etc. That is only $6, and I think you'll find it useful.
Christina is offline  
Old Feb 26th, 2005, 01:38 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 97,291
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
Yes I always take a phrase book (and I am not an overpacker or overplanner by any stretch!). I brush up on every-day phrases and have amused my Swiss friends by saying in French (learned these two in my Lonely Planet phrase book) "This rounds on me" or "I have a hangover"!!!

I also find the restaurant menu definitions helpful. And (maybe you already have these down pat since you have been studying but) phrases like I'm sorry, excuse me, hello, goodbye, thank you, I'm sorry I don't speak French, I'm sorry I don't understand. Also for review of numbers (again maybe you've got these down already) useful for shopping at a farmers market or bakery.

I know from previous questions that you're considering bringing a number of guidebooks and novels, personally I would find a phrase book and small dictionary the smartest use of packing space.

I have never used a dictionary out on the streets, but have when I attempt to read the local paper or a magazine in French in the hotel room.


suze is offline  
Old Feb 26th, 2005, 03:46 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 577
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
yes, the small ones that take up more space because they need a fat old magnifying glass to go with it. but it only get used to read the menu or in the rare case pointing and grunting don't work
ucsun is offline  
Old Feb 26th, 2005, 04:49 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I never saw much use in one. How do you understand the answer after you ask the question? And they are not sufficient for a casual conversation.
bob_brown is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -