Speaking the Language

While motorhomers aren’t exactly stay-at-home types, they are
well-attached to terra firma; after all, the reason for owning a home on
wheels is to explore the countryside — and it’s pretty hard to drive
to Europe.

However, the world doesn’t end at our coastlines. For those times when
vacations come with airline tickets attached, consider tossing an
edition of Fodor’s Languages for Travelers into your carry-ons. An
effort between Fodor’s Travel Publications and Living Language, these
combination phrase-book and twin-CD packages are designed with
travelers’ needs in mind, helping you get to your hotel, read a menu,
navigate the sights or, as in the example above, ask “Where is the
nearest service station?”

Aside from the Italian for Travelers example cited, the
packages also are available in French, German and Spanish. Each includes
an extensive phrase book with more than 3,800 key words and phrases
grouped by topic; each phrase or word is shown side-by-side with its
English, Italian (or French/German/Spanish) spelling and handy
pronunciation guide. The twin CDs are presented in the same order as the
written chapters, allowing you to follow along and hear the words being
spoken.

The phrase book also includes a wealth of region-specific
information — ranging from translating common public signs to
conversion charts for such necessities as distance, liquids, weights,
measures and clothing — along with basic tutoring in grammar. While the
handy pocket-sized book includes examples of dialog in each chapter to
give you an understanding of language flow, mastering basic grammatical
patterns allows you to construct your own sentences.

The phrase book is available by itself, but given the
reasonable $19.95 msrp for the book-and-CD package, go for the deluxe
version.

Fodor’s Languages for Travelers, (212) 572-8784, fodors.com.

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