Learning to ask for beer in a foreign language is the modern traveler’s adult equivalent of their first “dada.” Usually belched from an early post-diapered understanding that this language thing was going to be important.
And, as it turns out, you were right. Whether it’s haggling in markets or talking to the police, language can make a huge difference when you’re out there brushing up against all the strange folk of the world. That said, there are a lot more actual languages than you’ll ever have the time or inclination to learn. Languages with clicks, languages that sound angry, languages that make you sound like a snake. And languages that appear to have no vowels whatsoever.
So even if you can’t understand what’s being said, would you be able to identify the language being spoken around you in the lift? On the bus? In an Eastern European forest dance festival?
The Great Language Game gives you a chance to find out.