European Lingo - Europe Gap Year Guide
Is your French a bit rusty? Is your Dutch not quite what it should be? We’re here to help! Just remember that you can go a long way with just a little language, and you’ll find it’s possible to communicate with just a few words. Even if you make mistakes, people will understand. They will appreciate that you are making the effort to speak their language and will be more receptive
Don’t get stuck on a word. If you can’t think of the translation of the exact word you want to use, try to think of another way of saying what you want to say in English and translate that.
Use facial expressions, hand movements, anything to get your meaning across. The important thing is to build up your confidence so you’re not afraid of getting involved in a conversation.
In most European languages a lot of words have a common origin, which will help you build your knowledge more quickly. After a while, you should be able to identify common patterns between English and the language you’re learning.
Read our guide to the most popular slang terms in Europe to help you on your way:
Pronunciation is similar to English or German. The main differences in pronunciation from English are as follows:
- J is like Y in “yellow”
- K is like CK in “black”
- R is rolled
- V sounds like a cross between V in “violet” and F in “flow”
- W is like V in “violet”
- A is either long like in “black” or short as in “card”
- E is either short as in “set” or long as in “lane”
- I as in “kit”
- O as in “hot” or “boat”
- U as a cross between the U in “purple” and “hoot”
- IE like EA in “cheat”
- EU like UR in “purple”
- OE like OO in “hoot”
- Hello - hallo
- My name is - Mijn naam is
- Good morning/good afternoon - goedemorgen/goedemiddag
- Goodbye - Tot ziens
- Please - alstublieft
- Thank you - dank u
- Yes/No - Ja/nee
- Do you speak English - Spreekt u Engels?
- Excuse me - pardon
- Where is? - waar is?
- How much is it? - Hoeveel kost het?
- What time is it? - Hoe laat is het?
- I’d like - Ik wil graag
- I don’t understand - Ik begrijp het niet
- Can you help me? - Kunt u mij helpen?
- Goed - good
- Slecht – bad
- Yes, please - sí, por favor
- No, thank you - no, gracias
- Sorry - perdón
- You’re welcome - de nada
- I don’t understand - no entiendo
- Hello/goodbye - hola/adiós
- How are you? - ¿cómo está?*/¿cómo estás?
- Fine, thank you - muy bien, gracias
- See you later - hasta luego
- Do you speak English? - ¿habla*/hablas inglés?
- What’s your name? - ¿cómo se llama?*/¿cómo te llamas?
- Where are you from? - ¿de dónde es?*/ ¿de dónde eres?
- How much is it? - ¿cuánto vale?
- How far is it to the bank? - ¿a qué distancia está el banco?
- Where is:? - ¿donde está:?
Statements about yourself
- My name is : - me llamo :
- I’m English - soy inglés/inglesa (m/f)
- I’m Scottish - soy escocés/escocesa (m/f)
- I don’t speak Spanish very well - no hablo muy bien español
- I’m here on holiday - estoy aquí de vacaciones
- I live near Leeds/Glasgow - vivo cerca de Leeds/Glasgow
- Can you help me please? - ¿me puede* ayudar, por favor?
- I’m lost - me he perdido
- Call the ambulance - llame* la ambulancia
- Get the police/a doctor - llame* la policía/al médico
- Watch out! - ¡cuidado!
Verbs forms marked * are those used when you do not know the person you are speaking to.
Irish Gaelic (as opposed to Scottish Gaelic) is the official language of the Republic of Ireland. Road signs and public information are in both Gaelic and English, and English is by far the most commonly spoken lan- guage. You don’t need to know Gaelic to get along in Ireland, but if you are into languages, then it can be good to pick up some phrases. There are three regional dialects in Gaelic: Ulster, Munster and Connaught.
- Di dhuit - hello
- Conas ta tu? - How are you?
- Le do thoil - please
- Go raibh maith agat - thank you
- Cad as tu? - where are you from?
- Ta - yes
- Nil - no
- Adh moir - cheers
- Slan - goodbye
- Slan beo - Take care
- Oiche mhaith duit - good night
For native English speakers, the way Gaelic looks, and the way it sounds seems very strange. However, once you have got your head around some common vowel and consonant sounds, you can get some understanding of the pronunciation.
Single vowels are similar to English vowel sounds. Dipthongs are where most English speakers get stuck. For example “Ae” sounds like the “ay” sound in English. “Ao” sounds like “ee”, “eo” like “Oh” and “ui” like the I sound in “bit”. To understand how this works you will need to learn the difference between broad and slender vowels in Gaelic.
- A “h” after the consonant means the sound changes;
- Bh sounds like the v in violet, or the w in white
- Ch sounds like the Ch sound in loch
- Dh and Gh sounds like the y in yellow
- Mh sounds like the w in white or the v in violet
- Ph sounds like the f in fun
- Th and Sh sounds like the h in hand.
- Fh is silent
- Yes, please - oui, s’il vous plaît
- No, thank you - non, merci
- Sorry - désolé/-e
- You’re welcome - de rien
- I’m sorry, I don’t understand - je m’excuse, je ne comprends pas
- Hello/goodbye - bonjour/au revoir
- How are you? - comment allez-vous?
- Nice to meet you - enchanté/-e
- Do you speak english? - est-ce que vous parlez anglais?
- What’s your name? - comment est-ce que vous vous appelez?
- Where are you from? - d’où est-ce que vous venez?
- How much is it?- combien ça coûte?
- How far is it?- c’est loin d’ici?
- Where is:? - où est:?
- Can I have:? - est-ce que je peux avoir:?
- Would you like:? - est-ce que vous voulez:?
Statements about yourself
- My name is: - je m’appelle :
- I’m English - je suis anglais/-e
- I’m Scottish - je suis écossais/-e
- I don’t speak French very well - je ne parle pas très bien français
- I’m here on holiday - je suis en vacances ici
- I live near Leeds/Glasgow - j’habite près de Leeds/Glasgow
- I’m a student - je suis étudiant/-e
- Can you help me please? - est-ce que vous pouvez m’aider?
- I’m lost - je me suis perdu/-e
- I’m ill - je suis malade
- Call the ambulance/the police - appelez une ambulance/la police
- Watch out! - attention!