Learning Another Language for Survival

Not all skills that can benefit you in a survival situation involve building shelter or properly identifying edible plant species.  Sometimes, especially in an urban survival situation, your ability to deal with, or avoid dealing with people will be a determining factor in your ability to stay alive.  Learning another language can be a valuable skill in some situations.  Here are a few cases in which speaking another language can help you survive.


  • Bartering will be taking place in urban areas where environmental resources are not enough to meet the demands of the population like they are in rural areas. Urban areas are also more likely than rural areas to have immigrants that do not speak the language.  Being able to speak more than one language will increase your ability to communicate with more people that could have the resources you need.
  • If you are communicating by either shouting across the street or by radio, you might not be having a private conversation. And if you are discussing how much ammunition you have, where you are looking for food, or who you think is a possible threat in your area, then you might not want others to know what you are saying.  Being able to speak a language that people in your area are less likely to know will decrease the odds that the information you don’t want others to have will be heard and understood.
  • If you are unfortunate enough to be attacked, kidnapped, or even just harassed by hostile people who’s language you don’t speak, not only will you not know what they are saying to each other, but they are going to be able to more easily dehumanize you in the minds which will make it easier to act violently towards you. Something as simple as telling a potential attacker your name can greatly alter the course of their actions towards you.

If you do already know another language try to teach valuable phrases to those in your family or your survival group so that you can make the most of this skill if you need to.

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