Fun stuff Language Guide

By April 13, 2016 November 6th, 2018 No Comments



More than a billion people speak Mandarin across the globe, making it the most widely spoken world language; it’s also one of six official languages recognised by the UN.

The language originated as that of the ruling class in China during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). This was due to the capital being switched from Nanjing to Beijing during this time.

However, being such a large country, multiple languages have always been spoken in China, and it wasn’t until 1909 that mandarin became the official language.

Where is it the Official Language:

Useful Mandarin Chinese Phrases

If you’re heading to a country where Mandarin is spoken on mass, it can help to have a few trusty phrases you can use. Angel Huang from provided us with these, for you to use if and when required.

  1. nǐ hǎo – Hello/Hi
  2. wǒ jiào… – My name is…
  3. nǐ jiào shén me míng zì? – What is your name?
  4. xìng huì xìng huì! – Nice to meet you!
  5. zài jiàn – Goodbye
  6. xiè xiè – Thank you
  7. duì bù qǐ – I’m sorry
  8. wǒ bù dǒng – I don’t understand
  9. nǐ huì shuō yīng wén ma? – Do you speak English?
  10. …zài nǎ lǐ …? –Where is the…?
  11. duō shǎo qián? – How much does it cost?
  12. mái dān – May I have the bill please?



Coming from the Arabic word sawāḥil, Swahili is a combination of various influences across the decades.

With Arabic influences making up 35% of the language, it’s also heavily influenced by English, German, French, Hindi and Portuguese. In fact, many European colonists adopted the language, and today it’s considered the easiest African language for English speakers to learn.

The oldest known pieces of writing date back to 1711. However, it wasn’t until the early 19th century that the language began to spread inland.

Where is it the Official Language:

  • Tanzania
  • Kenya
  • Uganda

Useful Swahili Phrases

Africa is an ever increasing holiday destination of choice, and with so many different languages spoken, brushing up on some key phrases is always wise. Salman Dean of has given us some key Swahili phrases for you keep in mind.

  1. Jambo – Hello
  2. Kwaheri – Goodbye
  3. Asante – Thank you
  4. Karibu – Welcome/You’re welcome
  5. Okay – Sawa
  6. Pole – Sorry
  7. Pole Pole – Slowly, slowly
  8. Hakuna Matata – No worries
  9. Maji – Water
  10. Choo kiko wapi? – Where’s the toilet?



Closely related to Western Arabic dialects, the Maltese language has been influenced by various others over the centuries, incorporating English, Italian and French, whilst preserving its Arabic roots.

Being the only Semitic language in Europe, Maltese words are now thought to be made of 40% Semitic, 40% Romance (Italian) and 20% English.

Although there are some regional versions on the Maltese islands, there are only around half a million people who speak the language around the world. 400,000 of those live in Malta and Gozo. Despite this, it was made an official EU language in 2004.

The only language to use both the Arab and Latin alphabet, the first known piece of Maltese literature is dated at pre-1485.

Where is it the Official Language:

  • Malta

Useful Maltese Phrases

Comprising of multiple islands, Malta is a wonderful place to visit. If you intend on vacationing here, and why wouldn’t you, it’s helpful to know a few key words and phrases to get by. Rachel Spiteri, from, has stepped in to give a helping hand.

  1. Inħobbok ħafna – I love you lots
  2. Bonġu – Good morning
  3. Il-lejl it-tajjeb – Good night
  4. Titkellem bl-Ingliż? – Do you speak English?
  5. X’ħin hu? – What time is it?
  6. Skużani – I’m sorry/Excuse me
  7. Jekk jogħġbok – Please
  8. Grazzi ħafna – Thank you very much
  9. Il-ġurnata t-tajba – Have a nice day!
  10. Ħudni Malta – Take me to Malta



Coming from Latin origin, this Indo-European language, is spoken by more than 60 million around the globe, with 55 million of these living in Italy alone.

The language can be traced back to the 10th century, with the first written texts being dated at 800AD. However this is disputed, and considered Vulgar Latin, with many citing a collection on legal documents, from 960AD, as the first Italian texts.

Like most languages, there are many Italian dialects spoken, but it’s the Tuscan dialect that’s used as the official spoken and written language. Italian is also spoken as it’s written; so it sounds similar to how it looks.

Where is it the Official Language:

  • Italy
  • Switzerland (one of four)
  • Croatia
  • San Marino
  • Slovenia

Useful Italian Phrases

Italians also gesture a lot whilst speaking, and while you may have your gestures nailed, it’s important to learn some key phrases. Naz from has provided us with these tips, to help you get by.

  1. Ciao – Hello
  2. Arrividerci– Goodbye
  3. Come stai? – How are you?
  4. Come ti chiami? – What is your name?
  5. Mi chiamo … – My name is…
  6. Quanti anni hai? – How old are you?
  7. Io ho … anni – I am … years old
  8. Posso avere il conto perfavore? – Please may I have the bill?
  9. Grazie – Thank you
  10. Dov’è la spiaggia? – Where is the beach?



An Indo-Aryan Language, Urdu is spoken by more than 100 million people worldwide.

One of the most important languages in India, alongside Bengali and Hindi, it’s in fact closely related to the latter. But, although they share an Indo-Aryan base, they’re quite different, as Urdu is written in a Perso-Arabic script.

The first written documentation of the language dates back to a book written between 1635 and 1636. It’s also worth noting that the language is read from right to left.

Where is it the Official Language:

  • Pakistan

Useful Urdu Phrases

With the language being spoken in multiple countries across the world, such as Fiji, Germany, Mauritius, Norway, South Africa, Thailand and the UAE, amongst others, it’s helpful to have a few key phrases in your itinerary. Nisbah Hussain from provided us with these, to help you get by.

  1. Assalam-o-Alekum – Hello
  2. Khuda-hafiz – Goodbye
  3. Bara-e-Meherbani – Please
  4. Jee nahin – No
  5. Jee Hain – Yes
  6. Shukriya – Thank you



There are more than half a billion people across the globe who speak Hindi. This includes around 425 million speaking it as a first language, and an estimated 120 million as a second.

The language gained its name during the 11th century, and comes from the Persian word ‘Hind’, which means ‘land of the Indus River’.

With words written as they’re pronounced, Hindi is a direct descendant of the Sanskrit language, with the version we know it today evolving through Prakrit and Apabhramsa. It also uses a lot of English words, and you’ll also find a number of common English words that are Hindi.

The first known Hindi texts date back to 400AD, from a romantic play written by Indian playwright Kalidas.

Where is it the Official Language:

  • India

Useful Hindi Phrases

As the official language of India, and with India being an ever popular tourist country; having the knowledge of a few key Hindi phrases can’t do you no harm. Once again Nisbah Hussain from has stepped in to give you a hand.

  1. Namaste – Hello/goodbye
  2. Aap kaise hain? – How are you?



An Austronesian language, Hawaiian developed from an ancient Polynesian precursor.

Today there are an estimated 8,000 people who speak the language across the Hawaiian Islands; which is a huge decline from an estimated 400,000 – 800,000 when the language was first discovered.

The reason for this, is because it was banned following the annex of Hawaii from the USA in 1899. It was made an official language of Hawaii back in 1978, alongside English, and has since seen a revival. During the 1980s there were only 2,000 speakers and it was endangered.

Originally an oral language, it was first discovered by Captain Cook and his men in 1778. Following this, missionaries arrived in 1820, and the written alphabet was developed by 1826.

Where is it the Official Language:

Useful Hawaiian Phrases

Although there aren’t many speakers in the world, brushing up your Hawaiian language skills before heading here couldn’t do you any harm. Simon of has provided some useful phrases, so you can get by.

  1. Hello/Welcome – Aloha
  2. Goodbye – A hui hou / Aloha
  3. Good morning – Aloha kakahiaka / Aloha awakea
  4. Good night – A hui hou / Aloha
  5. Do you speak English – ʻŌlelo anei ʻoe i ka ʻōlelo Pelekāne?
  6. Excuse me – E kala mai iaʻu!
  7. Yes a little – ʻAe, he liʻiliʻi
  8. Please – E ’olu’olu
  9. Thank you – Mahalo
  10. Where’s the toilet? – Aia i hea ka lua?



With more than 220 million speakers across the world, French is the sixth most widely spoken language.

With Latin origin, it’s also the second most spoken in Europe, at 77 million people. It’s also one of the six working languages of the EU, and the second most learned foreign language in the world, and is an official language in 29 countries; second only to English.

With a history that can be traced back to 842AD, the modern French we speak today was finalised in the 17th century; often considered to be 1635.

Where is it the Official Language:

  1. France
  2. Belgium
  3. Burundi
  4. Cameroon
  5. Canada
  6. Chad
  7. Comoros
  8. Djibouti
  9. Equatorial Guinea
  10. Haiti (the other official language is French Creole)
  11. Madagascar
  12. Rwanda
  13. Seychelles
  14. Switzerland
  15. Vanuatu
  16. Bénin
  17. Burkina Faso
  18. Central African Republic
  19. Congo (Democratic Republic of)
  20. Congo (Republic of)
  21. Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
  22. Gabon
  23. Guinea
  24. Luxembourg
  25. Mali
  26. Monaco
  27. Niger
  28. Sénégal
  29. Togo

Useful French Phrases

Recognised in so many countries, and spoken by millions, learning French could help you out on a number of vacations. But to ensure you’ve got the basics covered, Lindsay Dow from has offered these phrases to help you out.

  1. C’est combien? – How much is it?
  2. Je t’aime beaucoup – I love you lots
  3. Bonjour – Good morning
  4. Bon nuit – Good night
  5. Parlez-vous anglais? – Do you speak English?
  6. Quelle heure est-il? – What time is it?
  7. Pardon – I’m sorry/Excuse me
  8. S’il vous plaît – Please
  9. Merci beaucoup –Thank you very much
  10. Bonne journée! – Have a nice day!



With Latin origins, Spanish as we know it emerged in the Castile region of Spain. It’s now one of the most spoken languages in the world, with an estimated 425 million speakers across the globe.

With around 3,000 words shared with English, it’s thought to be one of the easier languages to learn. This is due to it being a phonetic; written the way it’s pronounced.

One of the six official languages of the UN, the first known documentation of Spanish dates back to 964AD. It has since been regulated by the royal charter, La Real Academia Española (The Royal Spanish Academy), since 1713.

Where is it the Official Language:

  1. Spain
  2. Argentina
  3. Bolivia
  4. Chile
  5. Colombia
  6. Costa Rica
  7. Cuba
  8. Dominican Republic
  9. Ecuador
  10. El Salvado
  11. Guatemala
  12. Honduras
  13. Mexico
  14. Nicaragua
  15. Panama
  16. Paraguay
  17. Peru
  18. Puerto Rico
  19. Uruguay
  20. Venezuela
  21. Equatorial Guinea

Useful Spanish Phrases

If you’re heading on holiday to a country where Spanish is an official language, which is a high possibility, then learning some language skills is highly recommended. Lindsay Dow of gave us these helpful phrases for you to use.

  1. ¿Cuánto cuesta? – How much is it?
  2. Te quiero mucho – I love you lots
  3. Buenos días – Good morning
  4. Buenas noches – Good night
  5. ¿Hablas inglés? – Do you speak English?
  6. ¿Qué hora es? – What time is it?
  7. Perdon – I’m sorry/ Excuse me
  8. Por favor – Please
  9. Muchas gracias – Thank you very much
  10. ¡Qué tenga un buen día! – Have a nice day!




Arabic is spoken as a native language by just over some 200 million people, primarily by those in the Arab League states of North Africa and the Middle East. It is currently one of the official and working languages of the United Nations. It is the liturgical language of over one billion Muslims, as it is the language in which the Qur’an, the Holy Book of Islam, is written.

The language is believed to originate from nomadic tribes in the Arabian Peninsula, though the earliest indications of it in written form only date as far back as the 7th century AD.

Arabic comes in many forms. The Qur’an is written in ‘classical Arabic’, whilst ‘Modern Standard Arabic’ is used, by politicians, on television throughout the Arab world, and to teach Arabic as a foreign language. Spoken Arabic varies somewhat throughout the region and across many states in the form of dialects.

Where is it the official language?

  1. Algeria
  2. Bahrain
  3. Egypt
  4. Iraq
  5. Jordan
  6. Kuwait
  7. Lebanon
  8. Libya
  9. Mauritania
  10. Morocco
  11. Oman
  12. Qatar
  13. Saudi Arabia
  14. Sudan
  15. Syria
  16. Tunisia
  17. United Arab Emirates
  18. Western Sahara
  19. Yemen

Useful Arabic Phrases

With the Arabic language spanning across such a huge region of the world, it’s an incredibly useful skill to have some of the basis phrases under your belt. If you’re heading for the likes of Dubai or Egypt, then a basic knowledge of the language will help you get by and go down well with the locals.

  1. مرحبا – Marhabba – Hello
  2. لا أفهم – Laa afham- I can’t understand
  3. بكام؟ – Bikam?- How much does it cost?
  4. هل تتحدث الإنجليزية؟ – Hal tatahdath al-inglyzya?- Do you speak English?
  5. أين أجد الحمام؟ – Ayna aged al-hamam?- Where can I find the toilet?
  6. ممكن تساعدني؟- Momkin tesaadny?- Can you help me?
  7. أسف – Asef- Sorry
  8. الحساب لو سمحت- Al-hesab law samaht- The bill, please
  9. شكرا – Shukran- Thank you
  10. مع السلامة – Ma salama- Goodbye