I bought my Lonely Planet Japanese phrasebook just before a two week holiday in Japan and can genuinely say I found it extremely useful. It's cheap and pocket-size so easy to carry about on your trip.
If like me you've never spoken Japanese before then this little book will arm you with all the necessary to survive your trip and even have a few conversations along the way! Its handily broken up in to sections with a useful introduction giving you the heads up with regards to pronunciation and language difficulties you may encounter. The book is then split in to the following sections "Practical, Social, Food, Travel" and a useful dictionary in both English - Japanese and the other way round at the end.
Throughout the phrasebook are useful travel hints and advice on customs and traditions that you may encounter throughout your visit. I found this really helpful considering the book is only £4.99 and the kind of information contained is more akin to the more expensive Lonely Planet Guides.
Although there is a brief section on the rather complicated Japanese alphabet system, do not expect to be writing letters or reports after reading this phrasebook. The Japanese alphabet takes years to fully understand and use correctly. What this book will give you is a wide variety of phrases for a wide variety of situations - extremely useful in a country that most people don't speak English in.
When I go travelling, at the very least I try to learn the basics of the language of that country - please, thank you, sorry. Most other things can be covered by pointing at things on menus or getting someone to write down questions/instructions for you (e.g. please can I have a train ticket to....) However the more language you learn, the more locals will appreciate it. If you're in some countries, being able to barter in the local lingo will save you money as people realise you haven't just stepped off the plane!
I used the Swahili phrasebook last year when I went to east Africa and found it invaluable. It's usefully divided up into sections such as shopping, dining out etc.... and words are spelt phonetically so it's pretty easy to practise on unsuspecting locals! There is also a grammar section so if you want to get a more in depth knowledge of a language then you can start there.
I think each phrasebook contains pretty much the same phrases, with exceptions made for cultural differences. The books are a good pocket size so you can carry them around and not mind too much - unlike carrying round a full lonely planet guidebook! The swahili phrasebook has 260 pages and covers almost all eventualities you could imagine, including dating locals and chat up lines... They are a good price as well, with the swahili phrasebook currently retailing on amazon at £3.99
Started by Tony and Maureen Wheeler aimed at low budget backpackers lonely planet has grown into one of the largest and most trusted travel guidebook publishers in the world. They make destination guides, continent guides, general travel and activity books, DVDs and digital guides along with phrase books.
Bahasa Indonesia is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.
The Indonesian phrase book is a pocket sized book with a 3500 word two way dictionary squeezed inside, the chapters are separated by colour coded sections;
RED: tools (alphabet, vowel sounds, pronunciation), a - z phrase builder, language difficulties, numbers and amounts, time and dates, money and local languages (as Indonesia has more than 700 local languages along with the official Bahasa Indonesia - Indonesian language)
BLUE: transport, border crossing, directions, accomodation, shopping, communications, banking, sightseeing, business, senior & disabled travellers, children.
GREEN: meeting people, interests, feelings and opinions, going out, romance, beliefs and cultural differences, art, sport, outdoors, ecotourism.
ORANGE: eating out, self catering, vegetarian and special meals, cullinary reader.
TURQUOISE: essentials, health.
PURPLE: english - indonesian dictionary, indonesian - english dictionary.
The phrase book also includes local sayings such as ''Ada gula ada semut'' (Like bees to the honey pot) and body language advice and dos and don'ts.
All phrases and words are accompanied by phonetic spelling and literal meaning as well as translated meaning helping you get used to the words and how they are used and in which order.
It is quite a comprehensive guide for use either as a quick phrase here and there on holiday or as something to start learning Indonesian with and to carry around conveniently when beginning to learn the language.
I really love the Indonesian language, its fun to learn and I have found it easy to pick up as a native english speaker, definatly recommended!
It is also impressivly cheap for a language guide at just £4.99. It is available from all large book shops with a travel section or online at:
What do you do when you want to go to a foreign country and you have no idea how to say anything in the local language? Rely on English? Hope for the best? Or pick up a phrase book?
My approach is a combination of these three, I have to confess! However, being able to say something in the local language can be very useful, especailly for emergencies. It also, I think, endears the local people to you. Of course, it makes life a lot easier too, when no-one in that country speaks English, if you can say something in their language!
When I went to South America, I bought the Latin American Spanish phrasebook from Lonley Planet. I chose this phrasebook overothers that I was considering for a few reasons. Firstly, I like the lonely Planet travel guides, the tv programmes, and the website, so I trust the brand. Secondly, when I was choosing a phrasebook, the Lonely PLanet one was one of the few that had a Latin American Spanish version (whereas many Spanish phrasebooks are for Spain's Spanish). Thirdly, I thought it looked comprehensive. After about five minutes of looking through it, I decided to buy it.
So, how did it fare? Well, as I said, I did think the book was comprehensive. I managed to memorise a few words and phrases from the book at a time, and I always found that when I went to the book, there was something on the subject that I was looking for.
I also found that it was easy to locate what I was looking for.
I think that the Lonely Planet phrasebooks go beyond others, because they include words and pohrases that you'll only need once you get deeper into a conversation. This meant that as my Spanish got better, I could still go to the book and learn something. I think that most phrasebooks are only useful when you're really desperate for the basics.
The small size of the book and the fact that it was lightweight was a Godsend when it came to packing it and carrying it around.
On the negative side, this phrasebook, and I think phrasebooks in general, don't teach you how to speak a language. There is little/no grammar and the basics, like the alphabet, are often missing. However, as I said I think that this is a point for phrasebooks in general so is not really a negative for this review in particular.
Overall then I would definitley recommend the Lonely Planet phrasebooks.
I like to try and learn a bit of the local language when I go on holiday. People appreciate the effort you make and it can help you a lot when you are there. I also like to play with languages and have a good memory so it helps a little. There is a slight problem with Greek though. Not only do they have a different language, they also have a totally different alphabet. How inconsiderate of them. Well I like a challenge, but if I am going I had better get a good guidebook. The Lonely Planet guidebook looked to be as good as any. The Lonely Planet series does all sorts of city guides, country guides and of course phrasebooks. They have loads of books that cover just about every sort of place you could ever consider traveling to. The Greek phrase book is written by a local, Markella Calimassia who was educated in England. This book is well written and is just about full of all sorts of words and phrases that you could need, as well as for good measure loads of history and culture details. It is in fact the best guide that I could ask for. The first chapter covers the new alphabet that Greece uses, as well as basic grammar and other literature like verbs and pronunciation. The alphabet is not too difficult once you get to know it. After a week I was beginning to crack some words, unfortunately the lower case where everything changes still was confusing me. There are some familiar letters like, A, E, K, Z and others, but other confusing ones that are the different in Greek to English. Other letters are totally new, but come up in maths and physics terms like delta, pi and alpha. Grammar is difficult with masculine, feminine and neuter all change the endings. Each word in Greek has its own letter than you put the strain on for the pronunciation. The rest of the book is split into 17 chapters each detailing a different section of life and new words. There is also a starting introduction with a brief history of Greece and maps and the boo
k ends with a Greek-English and an English/Greek dictionaries. The chapters each have a theme, like meeting people, traveling around and food. The chapters are around ten pages in length, so quite short with a comprehensive dictionary. It is pocket sized, easy to carry around while you are on holiday. It is also a very bright orange colour, so you are not likely to lose it. £4.50 in the UK and ISBN 0-86442-683-6 Each chapter follows the same basic lines. It starts off with an introduction to the new topic saying what it contains. It then follows up with some background information on the subject. Lots of cultural information along with the rest of it. It makes very interesting reading as well as adding something more while you are learning the language. The most important bits the actual Greek language. A basic sentence structure is given for you. There is a lot of actual vocabulary behind the subjects that gives you the power to mix and match the things you say. The words are written three ways. First the English word, then the word in Greek spelt out in English and help pronouncing it and finally in the Greek language as it would appear on signs and written down. Overall, a great guidebook. It has the words you could ever need, as well as lots of other interesting background information on the area while you are learning the words. My one criticism would be there is too much information here. It can be hard to quickly skip to the page you want it you need a basic sentence or word. Other than that an excellent buy. A Quick Greek Lesson: Good morning – Kalimera Good afternoon – Kalispera Good night - Kalinichta Hello – Yia sou Please – Parakalo Thank You – Efcharisto Yes – Ne No – Ochi Well enjoy the lesson. People do appreciate the time just to say good morning. It is not a hard language just to learn something like above. Take care, Chris
Started learning spanish about four years ago,and have had breaks,and restarted again. Not easy if you have been away from a language for a length of time. However,I recommend this language because it is reasonably easy to learn in a short space of time.There are very hard and fast groundrules for pronunciation for example,also the verbs,although at first site seemingly difficult because of the learning of past,present and future tenses,also follow simple rules. The book I started with,and still in my opinion is the best is "Spanigh Made Simple", by Jackson and Hart at around£4,probably gone up in price now, however.Published by Heinemann. I have also been to nightclasses which I think you have to do to converse with other people and also get the pronunciation correct, and most of all for confidence.I have not started French yet, but I would imagine it is more difficult. Some spanish words or their ideas are very similar to ours, therefore the recollection of them is so much more easier. Viva Espanol!
Incredibly helpful, whether you're going away for three days or eighteen months. These phrasebooks - at least the Spanish and Italian ones - are thoroughly modern, and absolutely indispensible. The usual phrasebook fare is here - booking rooms, boarding trains, finding your way to the post office... BUT! in these pocket-sized marvels, they also find room for the really challenging situations. LP, in their infinite wisdom, have included extensive menu decoders, pages highlighting common pitfalls and misinterpreted words, and hundreds of examples of slang and dialect. There are entire sections devoted to the needs of gay travellers, drink and drugs (and the associated dangers), dealing with the police... even sports! If you found you needed to use even a third of the material in here, you'd know you had a great trip. There are even relationship sections, which take you from pick-up, back to the bedroom, through ALL the nitty-gritty, and on to 'you can't stay here', 'this isn't working out' and the inevitable 'never call me again'. Giggly English prurience aside, these real-life situations are far more useful than 'when does the swimming pool close' - there are hints on how to discourage persistent suitors, for example. These books are cheap, phenomenonally detailed, well laid-out, and they don't start you off without a basic (though not too basic) overview of grammar. i cannot fault them.
The perfect accompaniment to a trip to another country is a compact, Lonely Planet phrasebook.