Why do Souvenir Sellers in Tourist Sites Can Speak Many Languages

Why do  Souvenir Sellers in Tourist Sites Can Speak Many Languages

Mastering many languages can be many people’s dream since there are many benefits we can gain from it. Though, we have to acknowledge that learning different language is hard. Not only we have to memorize the vocabulary but also we have to understand the grammar. For many languages the grammar can be similar with English grammar where the verb will place after the subject, but some language such as Turkish  or Korean language, the verb is placed in the last sentence.

In social media, we can see many videos about how a children who sell souvenir in tourist attraction can speak many languages. Those children mostly don’t go to school which teach foreign languages.

In the video above, you can see a Cambodian boy, a souvenir seller can speak in more than 10 languages, including Japanese, Thai, and Mandarin with good pronunciation. In Bali, Indonesia, there is a girl namely Ni Putu Rista who is working as post card seller, she surprisingly can speak about 23 language. In this moment many people will think, “but they can only speak for selling souvenir only, not in complete understanding of the language, right?”.

Yes indeed, they maybe can speak only for their purpose (selling postcard and souvenir). However let’s make a point on one thing, they have strong will and desire to learn how to speak foreign languages. Mandarin and Thai languages for instance, we need to adjust the pronunciation correctly because if we make a different tone, it will have different meaning.

Ni Putu Rista (source : CNN Indonesia)
Ni Putu Rista (source : CNN Indonesia)


 For those who already learnt foreign languages which far more different than their mother tongue, they will agree in one thing, “It’s hard”. For basic, they will learn how to do greetings, introducing their self and memorize numbers. I already took Turkish language since i'm studying in Turkey and I found that it takes more than effort and will to memorize all the vocabularies and how to put the grammar correctly when speaking.

But, these incredible kids learned the languages by self-taught method. Thus, they also need to learn it to impress the visitors who are from different countries. They practice it daily to perfecting their understanding of the languages. In some point maybe they found hard times during learning process, but eventually they can make it.

In my personal experience when I was in Istanbul visiting Basilica Cister, I met a Syrian guy offering me a photo in photobooth. What made me impressed was this Syrian guy not only can speak Turkish, but also Russian, Mandarin, English and Japanese. I have had a nice talk with this guy and asking why he learned many languages. It is a simple answer, “because I need to” he said to me.

In conclusion, the need to sell product to gain money and surviving combined with strong will to learn many languages as well as the amount of practice they have had make them can speak foreign languages. Imagine if we have the same strong will for our life, we also can gain many benefit from speaking many languages.


Adli Hazmi

International politics enthusiast contact me by instagram : adli_hazmi
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