I don’t mind admitting I’m incredibly lazy when it comes to things I should do, but don’t have a strict deadline for. This even extends to language learning – if I hadn’t signed up for a class (which I feel obliged to go to), then my intention to learn Spanish would never come to anything.

So when I came across the Me No Speak series of books, it struck me as a great idea – but also one that means my latent lazy tendencies would come to the fore.

The Me No Speak books are filled with pictures and phrases that travellers can point to instead of trying to find the word in the local language. Their tagline is “When you can’t say it, point to it.” They cover a range of destinations, from France to China and Turkey to Thailand.

I’m glad to see that the creators of this series still think people should attempt the local language, but it seems to me that people would be more likely to put this in their bag and use it as a replacement for the local language. One of the things I enjoy overseas is all the nodding and smiling that happens when two people don’t speak each other’s language but are trying to communicate anyway. The surprise element also makes for good stories – you think you ask for a plate of noodles and instead a plate of something else appears, that turns out to be delicious anyway (or not).

Has anyone used one of these books? Did you find it helpful?