Interesting Questions

Don’t some other cheeky blighters have a series of ‘Instant’ phrase books too?

Yes they do, but we’re the original and, in our humble opinion, the best. Obviously they were so impressed by the value of our brand that they decided to hop on the bandwagon… Maybe not, but we’re not too worried as we think our books are far superior anyway.

Why should I bother trying to speak Foreign, don’t they all speak English anyway?

It’s true that many people you’ll meet abroad will speak at least a few words of English, but here are a few reasons we think it’s worth making the effort:

  • You get a much better feel for a place if you can understand some of what’s going on around you
  • There’s less chance of accidentally ordering sheep’s testicles in a restaurant.
  • All those foreigners will be mightily impressed at how intelligent and cultured you are, especially compared to other Brits abroad who think speaking Foreign simply involves speaking English loudly with lots of pointing. Besides, studies have shown that speaking even a few words of Foreign makes you up to 18% more attractive to the opposite sex.*
  • They don’t all speak English, and it’s going to take a lot of pointing to tell the waiter you’ve got a nut allergy or the mechanic that you’ve got a broken clutch.
*Source: Doubtful Statistics Yearbook, 1976.

Will using one of your books enable me to pass myself off as a native speaker for my own nefarious ends?

No.  For a start, your interlocutor will probably spot that you’re reading from a book.  Seriously though, that’s not what these books are trying to do.  They’re about giving you enough language to make yourself understood, not allowing you to exposit on the finer points of Gramscian political economy.

What happens if I want to say something you haven’t thought of? Is providing only a limited number of phrases part of a dastardly plan for world domination?

What a good idea…  No really, no book can cover every possible situation in which you might find yourself.  However, we do have a few tricks up our sleeve.  Each book has a very simple grammar guide (we know it’s boring, but it’s indispensable and only covers two pages) and the newer editions (currently only French, Spanish and Dutch) also have a dictionary.  Using these in conjunction with the rest of the book will allow you get your meaning across in most situations.  Future editions of the other titles will also have dictionaries.

I’m an absolute beginner, all I can say in Foreign is “I am thirteen years old”. Are your books right for me?

Right for you?  They’ve been waiting for you their whole lives!  The idea is that somebody with absolutely no knowledge of a language can pick up an Instant, turn to the right section and be reading off the page in seconds.  We even give you the answers you’re likely to hear.

However, that doesn’t mean more advanced speakers won’t find them useful too.  Even those of you with a high level of knowledge will find situations you can’t handle without a little help.  After all, who can always remember the Foreign for ‘needle and thread’ in the heat of the moment?

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