Which phrases are the most useful to learn first when learning a new language?

Phrases like "Sorry, I don't understand!" and "What does X mean?" and "How do you say X in Y language?" and "Do you speak English?" and "I don't know / can't speak much of X language!" are among the most value phrases I like to learn ASAP when trying to speak a new language...

How about you? What phrases have been your favourites? Which ones would you start with if learning a new language? Which phrases have got you out of problems many times?

Apr 25, 2019 3:04 AM
Comments · 8

I can only talk about classes as I've never needed it in actual practice but besides the two you mentioned about "what does X mean" and "how do you say X in Y language" I always learn "can you please write that in Skype" and "can you repeat that please" when having a lesson. This is because sometimes I have trouble catching something said so first I  ask if they can repeat it and if I still don't understand, I get them to write it. This also gives me the opportunity to make flashcards after the class with any word I didn't know.

I think in an actual conversation,  can you repeat that? and can you speak more slowly? would come in handy.

April 25, 2019
The very first phrases I have learned in Persian are "hello", "yes", and "thank you".

Next I would like to learn "please" or how to make a request politely, and basic phrases like "How do you say [word/phrase] in Persian?", "May I have [thing]?" and "What is [thing]?"

This is an interesting case because I'm dabbling in this language out of cultural interest, and I have no expectation of traveling to a Persian-speaking country any time soon.

April 25, 2019
A friend of mine learned a word "give" first in her native languege and kept using it till some day there were too many objects on the table and her mother kept giving her wrong things. She said "give me that thing", her mom understood her and gave the right thing.
This is how her parents learned that she actually knows Russian grammar.

Similarly, tourists learn frist how to ask about the price.
April 25, 2019
When you started living in an New country. I would add: where is bathroom? How to get to the xxx(name of location). How much is this. Would you tell me xxxx... These phrases I thought important to a new resident or to me. Later I learn say that again? Pardon me. Please repeat. Where are from etc. 
April 25, 2019
I didn't understand. Could you repeat please - these phrases helped me a lot :) sometimes in Singapore I couldn't catch Singlish and people also have specific accent. Now I'm afraid I understand them more than British English speakers :)
April 25, 2019
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