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The question is ambiguous on purpose, so you people are free to interpret it as you like, of course the more detailed and argumented your post, the better :)

To your answers now!
 

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Yes, it's possible ! I enjoyed Yemen alot ( the best trip so far ) though I couldn't understand Arabic, and most people there don't speak English

But there should be someone who are able to speak English to translate things up.
 

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That's what she said
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Generally no. In most countries only a small percentage of the people (usually the upper-class and the most educated ones) are fluent in a foreign language, so without knowing the local language you can never get in contact with the real country.

Moreover, the language is already an essencial part of the culture in that country but IMO it's far less important than my first point.

Obviously you can enjoy a lot but for me 'experience a country' is a deepest concept.
 

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Generally no. In most countries only a small percentage of the people (usually the upper-class and the most educated ones) are fluent in a foreign language, so without knowing the local language you can never get in contact with the real country.

Moreover, the language is already an essencial part of the culture in that country but IMO it's far less important than my first point.

Obviously you can enjoy a lot but for me 'experience a country' is a deepest concept.
But still, you can predict what they are saying from their gestures, and in most countries there should be some people who understand English in any tiny community

So I think you can still experience a country if there are English-speaking local friends/people to guide you around.
 

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Generally no. In most countries only a small percentage of the people (usually the upper-class and the most educated ones) are fluent in a foreign language, so without knowing the local language you can never get in contact with the real country.

Moreover, the language is already an essencial part of the culture in that country but IMO it's far less important than my first point.

Obviously you can enjoy a lot but for me 'experience a country' is a deepest concept.
I partially disagree.

Language is important, yes, but I think that the most important part is not the language but people. People tend to be friendlier and more helpful in poor countries, where you probably won't understand them, but they will try their best to communicate with you. In some countries, you may get invited to visit their homes and meet their families using basically hand gestures.

Now picture a Dutch or Japanese guy that comes to Spain with no knowledge of Spanish whatsoever. Do you think anybody would bother helping him, making an effort to communicate with him, or invite them home?

It's not just the language, people are a barrier, too. (oh and I put Spain as an example because I'm Spaniard, too, but the same applies to France, Germany, etc.)
 

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meow
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IMO it is possible. When you visit a country it's not all about talking to people and using the language. I myself when visiting foreign countries, one thing I like the most is sitting on a bench or a street café and watching people doing their stuff with their different clothes and different ways to do things.

Of course sometimes you will miss something (especially when it comes about food or theaters), but overall it is very possible.
 

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Moreover, the language is already an essencial part of the culture in that country
I rather think this is the main point.
Without knowing the language you won't ever have a complete understanding of the literature, music, popular culture and everything else that make up the culture of a country. Apart from that, learning a language is a cultural experience in itself, and the language can tell very much of the collective psyche of a country.
 

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Depending on the country and the population's comfort level with a language you speak. In Morocco for example you could experience the country, mix with the population or even live there while only speaking French. But if you were to indeed stay there for a long period, I am sure that speaking Moroccan however would take the experience to a different level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
But do you not think that english gives you a superficial or at least, partial knowledge, of the country?

Can it really make you understand how the people in a given country you experience think?
 

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Its always superficial if you visted a country for a few weeks only. To really understand a country you need a year at least.
 

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When you're staying in a country for a dew days/weeks, as a tourist, you won't get to know the culture very deeply, no matter if you speak the language or not.
 

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Its always superficial if you visted a country for a few weeks only. To really understand a country you need a year at least.
When you're staying in a country for a dew days/weeks, as a tourist, you won't get to know the culture very deeply, no matter if you speak the language or not.
I agree to both. But I think if you stay longer than 3 months it's already enough to get some aspects of the local culture. I lived in Germany for half a year and, except for politics, I quite understood how life went up there.
 

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I agree to both. But I think if you stay longer than 3 months it's already enough to get some aspects of the local culture. I lived in Germany for half a year and, except for politics, I quite understood how life went up there.
When one is staying for months, it's a different story of course. ;)
 

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Paiwasta Reh Shajr say..
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possible; yes. practical; no.

But depends on the country; these days English atleast is spoken or somewhat understood in many countries.

If one is bilingual already, then other languages are somewhat easily learnt during trip, thanks to touristy language guides. For others; it takes lot of patience, smiles, sign language and luck.
 

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do you find it possible to really experience a country without knowing the local language?
It is absolutely possible. I've been to Manila, South Korea, Brazil, France, Germany (the big trips abroad for me)...I was fine. I was able to enjoy local food and local customs without being able to speak a word of the local language.
 

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I've never had any problems - but of course it depends on what you mean" really experience"...

I have been to nations where I technically would be able to communicate in the local language ( Germany, Sweden Norway ) but I prefere English as it bring people to the same level - and never had any problems with it..


A little english and a smile can get you a loooong way :)
 
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