Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Lonely Planet Phrasebooks

I only own three books in the Lonely Planet Phrasebooks series, but I’m sold on them. The pocketsize books contain brief introductions to countries, a crashcourse in grammar, useful vocabulary and phrases, cultural tidbits, and even a small dictionary in the back.

I picked up my first phrasebook several years ago before visiting Ukraine. I used the dictionary and sections on travel, shopping, and eating out to refresh my language skills. It was exactly what I needed, though I have probably already forgotten everything I learned.

Imagine my surprise when I bought the Polish phrasebook a few years later and discovered the “social” section. This section is without a doubt the all-time greatest reason to buy Lonely Planet Phrasebooks because it provides translations for any and all “romantic” encounters. 

(For some reason, the Lonely Planet folks must have thought visitors to Ukraine wouldn't be looking for love—even though the country is famous for its mail-order bride industry.  However, they released a new edition this year that I can only hope is full of dating phrases.)

My Turkish phrasebook arrived last week, and I have spent many hours in fits and giggles over the various phrases. “You’re a fantastic dancer,” “Do you want a massage?,” “Touch me here,” “I won’t do it without protection,” “Easy, tiger!,” and “You’re just using me for sex” are just a few of my favorites.

Clearly, I have the maturity of a twelve-year-old boy. However, I also can't help but think if you need a phrasebook to tell someone “I love you,” you probably don’t actually know him/her well enough to be in love.

Even without the dating sections, Lonely Planet Phrasebooks are invaluable. In fact, I think everyone should plan an international vacation just for an excuse to buy one.

1 comment:

Wanna-Be Lit said...

I have extremely fond memories of my Spanish phrasebook on our trip to Mexico City. I recall the "touch me here" phrase as well as learning how to ask for drugs. :)