For an awful lot of expats, the idea of learning to speak the native tongue of their new home country can be an extremely daunting proposition. Many see learning a new language as a huge task which is best approached in an academic fashion. Whilst schooling is an excellent way of learning a language properly, if you only require the ability to converse fairly easily with the locals, you can stop worrying right now, it is not as tough as it seems.
Very few people realise that in order to be able to speak a language fairly proficiently, you only need to learn around 3,000 words. With 3,000 words under your belt you will understand 90% of the most commonly spoken words and phrases, meaning that during a conversation, you will understand nine out of every ten words, making it highly likely that you can guess at the general meaning of the word you do not understand. Learning 3,000 words does not seem such a daunting task, even at ten new words a day, it means you would be speaking fairly fluently within a year, certainly well enough to live your new life without resorting to hand signals!