It’s always helpful to have some useful phrases down pat when you’re traveling. When people ask me how many languages I speak, I usually ‘fess up to “market language” in a number of languages. This usually involves helpful phrases like:

  1. One through ten
  2. How much?
  3. Do I look like a tourist?!
  4. No, I am NOT an American!
  5. No, I will NOT take you with me to America!
  6. I WILL take you with me to America if you’ll drive me immediately to the Swiss embassy and avoid any soldiers, policemen, or violent mobs.

Here are a few more phrases that will serve you well in Laos

Art-Grilled frog

Stuffed grilled frog. Used by permission from Phillipe Ritter, friend and ASV & ISB schoolmate.

1. Please do not serve me any meat; I will self-combust if meat even touches my lips.
ກະລຸນາ ບໍ່ໄດ້ຮັບໃຊ້ ຂ້າພະເຈົ້າ ຊີ້ນ ; ຂ້າພະເຈົ້າຈະ ເສຍຊີວິດ ຖ້າຫາກວ່າ ເຖິງແມ່ນວ່າ ເນື້ອ ທີ່ສໍາຜັດ ສົບ ຂອງຂ້າພະເຈົ້າ.
kaluna bodaihabsai khaphachao sin khaphachaocha siasivid thahakva thoengaemnva neu thisoaphad sob khongkhaphachao


CC Image courtesy of Tristan Nitot, available here.

2. Is the ice at this restaurant made from tap water or from bottled water? Please show me the bottle.
ແມ່ນ ກ້ອນ ໄດ້ເຮັດໃຫ້ ທີ່ນີ້ມາຈາກ ນ້ໍາ ປະປາ ຫຼືຈາກ ນ້ໍາ ດື່ມ? ກະລຸນາ ສະແດງໃຫ້ເຫັນ ຂ້າພະເຈົ້າ ແກ້ວໄດ້.
aemn kon daihedhai thinimachak noa papa ruchak noa dum kaluna saaednghaihen khaphachao aekv dai



{Regardless of the answer to the ice question, always follow up with}:

Never mind the gin and tonic; please bring me a BeerLao.
ໃຈບໍ່ເຄີຍ gin ແລະ tonic ; ກະລຸນາ ເອົາມາໃຫ້ ຂ້າພະເຈົ້າ ເບຍ ໄດ້.
chaibokhoeny gin lae tonic kaluna aomahai khaphachao bia dai

(But see #4, below)

3. I am very sorry I made fun of your toilets. Now for the love of all that’s holy, will you please ask the chef to go light on the red chilis?

CC Image courtesy of Jose Hernandez, available here.

ຂ້າພະເຈົ້າ ຂໍໂທດນໍາ ຂ້າພະເຈົ້າ ເຮັດໃຫ້ມ່ວນຊື່ນ ຫ້ອງນ້ໍາ ສຸດຂອງທ່ານ. ໃນປັດຈຸບັນ ສໍາລັບຄວາມຮັກ ຂອງທຸກຄົນທີ່ ເປັນ ຍານບໍລິສຸດ , ທ່ານຈະ ກະລຸນາ ຂໍໃຫ້ chef ໃນການໄປ ແສງສະຫວ່າງໃນ ພິກແດງ ໄດ້?
khaphachao khoothdnoa khaphachao hedhaimuansun hongnoa sud khongthan naipadchuban soalabkhuaamhak khongthukkhonthi pen nyanbolisud thancha kaluna khohai chef naikanpai aesngsavangnai phikaedng dai

4. Is your restaurant’s toilet Lao-style or European style?
ແມ່ນ ຫ້ອງນ້ໍາ ຫ້ອງອາຫານ ຂອງທ່ານ ລາວ ລົງຫຼື ແບບເອີຣົບ ?
aemn hongnoa hongoahan khongthan lav longru aebbooerob

{Depending on the answer and your gender}:

Yes please, I would like another BeerLao.Art-BeerLao
ແມ່ນແລ້ວ ກະລຸນາ, ຂ້າພະເຈົ້າຢາກ ເບຍ ອື່ນ.
aemnaelv kaluna khaphachaoyak bia un

No thank you, I do not wish to imbibe any more liquids.
ບໍ່ຂໍຂອບໃຈ ທ່ານ, ຂ້າພະເຈົ້າບໍ່ ຕ້ອງການທີ່ຈະ ດື່ມເຄື່ອງດື່ມ ໃດ.
bokhokhobchai than khaphachaobo tongkanthicha dumkheuongdum dai

Note: Translations provided courtesy of Google Translate. Please do not rely on ANY of these translations! I am using them to entertain my Lao friends, as well as test-driving them for the next competition. I mean, seriously, how does one even start to pronounce “aebbooerob”?!