The best resources
When I first made the commitment to learn some of the language in every country I visited, I began looking for the best resources for a quick easy start. Something that would allow me to teach myself a language with a few words and give me the confidence to speak right away.
I was looking for something really useful from the moment I arrived that would be useful throughout my entire stay. What I found was a lot of great stuff but not anything that really got me up and running super fast and easily. Nothing that was compact and powerful.
How to teach yourself a language
There are a lot of great resources out there but with a lot of baggage attached. So I picked out what worked best for me from these resources, discarded what did not work, threw out the baggage, put in what I know works, and streamlined it.
- I used the tried and true 80 – 20 rule (80% of a language uses only 20% of the words).
- I employed the building block method. That means you can move these words around and add the noun of your choice to say a lot of stuff.
- I put in the words I know you will need when in a new country. That means you will use these words a lot from day 1 to say a lot of stuff.
With these ideas in mind, I put together the 11 best first words to learn in any language. Now they are not all just words, some are phrases but none of the phrases are more than two words long in English.
Made to fit you
You won’t find any nouns in this list. This is because I don’t know if you will be traveling by train or airplane, renting a beach cabana or a ski lodge, looking for a 12-bed dormitory or executive suite, or eating tacos or apam balik.
This is where the building block method kicks in. To teach yourself the language, just add the nouns you need for your situation. It’s easier and faster to know a phrase and have to translate just one word (the noun).
The list is in the first person singular, I, but you can easily translate just one word, the pronoun, and have it in
- the first person plural, we
- the second person, you
- the third person, he, she, it, and they
to include others and ask questions.
Learn these 11 words and have a translator ready for the nouns and you will be ready for any destination.