Language barrier

According to an article in The Guardian, a man who planned to walk 9,000 miles to Mahatma Gandhi’s birthplace in India without money found the language barrier insurmountable when he arrived in France.

His aim was to show that a world without money is possible, and he thought he could obtain food and shelter in return for helping people, a philosophy he promotes via his website, the freeconomy community. The walk went well until he arrived in France, when he realised that the little French he could remember wasn’t sufficient to explain his mission and his dietary requirements – he’s a vegan – and people thought he was a refugee or a beggar.

He now plans to travel around the UK offering his help to people and brushing up his language skills with members of the Freeconomy network, and would like to try the walk to India again eventually.

Have you ever had trouble explaining your mission and/or dietary requirements in a foreign language?

I don’t drink alcohol and sometimes find it hard to explain this in other languages, especially when asked why. I discovered recently that you can apparently avoid drinking in Japan if you cover your glass and say kyōkai (church) – no one will mind as long as you keep their glasses topped up. Does anyone know if this works?

Happy New Year!

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This entry was posted in Language, Language learning, Travel.

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