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Conversational connectors – how to fake having a conversation just after starting to learn a language

| 49 comments | Category: learning languages

george

So, you’ve got a couple of phrases learned off from your phrasebook, you’ve got a positive attitude and you’ve even enjoyed quickly learning off lots of new words, but the whole point of all of this is to actually converse with native speakers! In the early stages of speaking a language you may think that an actual conversation beyond a basic question-and-answer is out of reach, or you may have tried to enjoy having basic conversations, maybe even talking about something new that you haven’t talked about before… but it just isn’t happening! Maybe you should wait a few months (or years…) until you’re “ready”?

Hardly! No matter how bad you may think your level is, with a bit of imagination you can keep conversations flowing ;). I have to admit that I was having trouble at this for trying to converse in Czech, but luckily one of the commenters on this blog came to my rescue!

Down with robotic conversations!

When I was learning off sentences from my phrasebook, I was learning something specific to say in a particular situation (Where is the bathroom, Nice to meet you etc.), I’ve also taken parts of these phrases (simply “May I…, is … included, etc.) and combined them with words that I’ve memorised and the small amount of grammar that I’ve learned up to now. This allows me to be more flexible in these basic stages with what I want to say, but there was still a very unnatural tone to the conversation. I ask a question and get the answer. They ask me a question and I give the answer. Perhaps I listen an anecdote of theirs and just say “interesting”, or try my best to explain something about myself, but I started and ended abruptly.

This isn’t actual conversing; it’s pure segments and can seem very robotic. It may seem that when we start off, we are limited to just giving or receiving answers to basic questions, but even in your first weeks of learning a language, you can still insert a certain amount of feeling of “fluency” into having an actual conversation! That’s where commenter Splogsplog (also known as Anthony Lauder) gave me a much needed boost!

Keeping the conversation flowing

I’ll copy what Anthony said in his comment that introduced this concept to me:

You are in a restaurant and somebody asks what you think of the meal. From a typical language learning experience, a student would often get flustered, find the experience unnerving, say “urm … good!” and hope they aren’t asked any more uncomfortable questions.

However, if they could use conversational connectors, they could say things like:

Thanks for asking. To tell the truth, I must say that the food is good. Let me ask you the same question: What do you think of your food?

The same conversational connectors can be recombined in all sorts of ways. Later on, then, the question “Where are you from?” could be replied to with: “To tell the truth, I am from England. Thanks for asking. Let me ask you: where are you from?”

Very little of each conversation is actually about the topic under discussion, but more about establishing intimacy and keeping the conversation going.

It’s pure genius! It’s true that some people may notice you using these same phrases, but for brief conversations they really are excellent for filling in those gaps between the actual information. It is also a great way to bounce the question back to the asker and introduce a new topic. This is important in all stages of learning a language; not just the early stages (like me in Czech currently), but intermediate speakers who don’t use such phrases can come up with a few to learn off and spice up the conversation!

In fact Anthony has worked hard at preparing a list of such phrases to use in many different types of situations, such as agreeing/disagreeing (one hundred percent! That is an exaggeration), opening (that is a good question), general fillers (between you and me, actually), qualifying (as you already know) and switching (by the way, I have an interesting story about it). You should check out his site for more information. He has his own introduction and a wider list of these there. Many of these phrases are actually translations back from common Czech phrases, but this method can definitely be applied to any language. He also gave me an Excel file that you are welcome to download and add your own translations or get a general idea of the sentences he uses to inspire you to make your own. (If you don’t have Excel, then I recommend using Open Office or Google Docs [online], both of which are free; I actually prefer Open Office to Microsoft Office).

[Note that I've had this Excel file translated to 23 languages as part of the Language Hacking Guide]

I have of course been using these conversational connectors in the last week, and have come up with my own based on things that I would naturally say anyway in conversations. I would also recommend using as many general fillers as possible to avoid the awkwardness of “um…” in sentences (such as the language’s equivalent to so, you know, like, well, etc.) Conversational connectors and fillers have worked really well in field tests to help me “fake” having an actual conversation in the beginning stages. Of course, you don’t leave it at that; as you progress in the language you can take a more active role in conversations. Even so, trust me, it’s a great feeling to actually have a to-and-fro with someone with no awkward pauses after just having start a language from scratch a month before!! :P I have been using this in combination with my methods for convincing locals to actually talk to me in their language, which I will be talking about in my next post :).

Do you have any thoughts on this? Surely I can’t actually be having a conversation after just learning a language a few weeks? Maybe you think I’m being too general in defining what a true conversation is? Do share your thoughts in the comments! If you have tried this method, or have another method for such a situation, let us know! I have been really enjoying your comments and have learned so much from you all!! If you like this post, please retweet it, stumbleupon it or share it on facebook (buttons just below). :)

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  • http://www.ikindalikelanguages.com/ lyzazel

    Well, personally I don’t really see how making your language wasteful is helpful in any way. It seems to me that ones just wasting somebody’s time and it’s not like the one improves his perception of what somebody is saying.

    So, I just feel like learning by rote and saying:

    “To be totally completely totally frank with you, my comprehension of the language is not to sufficient to understand the meaning of your sentence. Could you possibly find the courage to repeat the question that you have been asking.”

    isn’t that much different from:

    “I don’t speak the language well. Could you repeat the question?”

    and it just disrespects somebody by wasting his time.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ benny

      You’re right Iyzazel :) But the thing is… most small talk is wasting time anyway. I’ve heard so many natives in many countries who can talk for a long time without actually saying anything. Famous politician-speak for example. People do it all the time, I’m just saying that we beginner-language-learners do it too ;). This is obviously something that should be used a lot less in serious discussions.
      It has nothing to do with disrespect, it’s keeping the conversation flowing. The examples I gave in italics above just have the information of “good”, but the conversational connection one is a lot less awkward. I think your example is a bit extreme. I’d always opt for the second version that you gave; it’s already a full two sentences that are perfectly coherent. There’s no need to say more.
      I don’t think it’s wasteful; it’s getting you to speak a lot more than one-word answers. This really helps with your confidence and gets you into speaking quicker. It’s hardly disrespecting the asker if you are letting them speak, but doing it while maintaining a conversation flow rather than providing awkward one word answers. In later stages these kinds of fillers would be less necessary.
      As with all my posts, they are only suggestions anyway, it’s not for everyone ;)

  • http://www.ikindalikelanguages.com/ lyzazel

    Well, personally I don’t really see how making your language wasteful is helpful in any way. It seems to me that ones just wasting somebody’s time and it’s not like the one improves his perception of what somebody is saying.

    So, I just feel like learning by rote and saying:

    “To be totally completely totally frank with you, my comprehension of the language is not to sufficient to understand the meaning of your sentence. Could you possibly find the courage to repeat the question that you have been asking.”

    isn’t that much different from:

    “I don’t speak the language well. Could you repeat the question?”

    and it just disrespects somebody by wasting his time.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com benny

      You’re right Iyzazel :) But the thing is… most small talk is wasting time anyway. I’ve heard so many natives in many countries who can talk for a long time without actually saying anything. Famous politician-speak for example. People do it all the time, I’m just saying that we beginner-language-learners do it too ;). This is obviously something that should be used a lot less in serious discussions.
      It has nothing to do with disrespect, it’s keeping the conversation flowing. The examples I gave in italics above just have the information of “good”, but the conversational connection one is a lot less awkward. I think your example is a bit extreme. I’d always opt for the second version that you gave; it’s already a full two sentences that are perfectly coherent. There’s no need to say more.
      I don’t think it’s wasteful; it’s getting you to speak a lot more than one-word answers. This really helps with your confidence and gets you into speaking quicker. It’s hardly disrespecting the asker if you are letting them speak, but doing it while maintaining a conversation flow rather than providing awkward one word answers. In later stages these kinds of fillers would be less necessary.
      As with all my posts, they are only suggestions anyway, it’s not for everyone ;)

  • Raeann

    This is definitely awesome advice! I think that the most important part of language learning is going out there and actually practising what you’ve learned in real conversation. Without a doubt, the earlier you get the confidence to do this, the faster you will progress, and some people never gain the courage at all! Using these “fillers” will definitely help me gain the confidence to actually go out there and try to converse (even at an early level).

    Thanks for the info!

  • Raeann

    This is definitely awesome advice! I think that the most important part of language learning is going out there and actually practising what you’ve learned in real conversation. Without a doubt, the earlier you get the confidence to do this, the faster you will progress, and some people never gain the courage at all! Using these “fillers” will definitely help me gain the confidence to actually go out there and try to converse (even at an early level).

    Thanks for the info!

  • http://www.anthonylauder.com/ SplogSplog

    @lyzazel:

    I agree completely that people can go overboard with this, but maybe that is better than being completely silent, or giving staccato answers and questions. In fact, you probably already use these connectors all the time, without even realising it.

    Just for fun, let’s look at your own reply, and see how much of it is “pure fact” and how much is “connectors”:

    [Well, personally I don’t really see]
    … making your language wasteful is helpful in any way ….
    [It seems to me that] …
    … ones just wasting somebody’s time and it’s not like the one improves his perception of what somebody is saying …
    [So, I just feel like] ….

    If you trimmed that down to just “facts” you could have said:

    “Connectors waste time. They don’t improve perception.”

    Of course, sometimes that is the right thing to say, but it can be rather blunt, and off-putting, and doesn’t invite people to reply.

    Instead, your natural use of connectors wrapped you statements us nicely, and kept them flowing well, and also gave us the feeling that you were talking at a more intimate level than pure fact.

    As a result, you have inspired replies, and kept the conversation going.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ benny

      hahahaha, great answer Splogsplog :D :D
      Very good point; we do this all the time anyway – they are essential for a natural sounding and non-blunt conversation. :)

  • http://www.anthonylauder.com/ SplogSplog

    @lyzazel:

    I agree completely that people can go overboard with this, but maybe that is better than being completely silent, or giving staccato answers and questions. In fact, you probably already use these connectors all the time, without even realising it.

    Just for fun, let’s look at your own reply, and see how much of it is “pure fact” and how much is “connectors”:

    [Well, personally I don’t really see]
    … making your language wasteful is helpful in any way ….
    [It seems to me that] …
    … ones just wasting somebody’s time and it’s not like the one improves his perception of what somebody is saying …
    [So, I just feel like] ….

    If you trimmed that down to just “facts” you could have said:

    “Connectors waste time. They don’t improve perception.”

    Of course, sometimes that is the right thing to say, but it can be rather blunt, and off-putting, and doesn’t invite people to reply.

    Instead, your natural use of connectors wrapped you statements us nicely, and kept them flowing well, and also gave us the feeling that you were talking at a more intimate level than pure fact.

    As a result, you have inspired replies, and kept the conversation going.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com benny

      hahahaha, great answer Splogsplog :D :D
      Very good point; we do this all the time anyway – they are essential for a natural sounding and non-blunt conversation. :)

  • http://www.anthonylauder.com/ SplogSplog

    By the way, the first Czech word I teach is “Tak”. It means “So”.

    It is really just a filler connector (with no “payload” of fact) – but it is very versatile and a word that people use all the time in real life.

    For example, if people ask “(How are you) Jake se máš?” you can say “(So so) Tak tak” – in fact Czechs use this a lot more than, for example “Absolutely Great!” as would, perhaps, an American or another westerner.

    Likewise, if you want to say “(Let’s go) Pojďme!” (which can sound a bit like a harsh command) you can soften it by saying “(So) Tak (Let’s go) Pojďme!”

    As an another example: In a restaurant, when the waiter asks what you want, instead of jumping straight in with “(I’ll have coffee) Dám si kávu” you can stick “Tak” on the front, with a slight pause, as a “soft bridge” before placing your order.

    “Tak” – to me at least – is the friendliest, and most versatile word. But, it has nothing to do with facts. It is purely conversational. It may even be “wasting time” – but it wastes time in a way that a lot of people really appreciate.

    • Cainntear

      Tak — that’s a good example. However, the blog post was talking about things like “to tell you the truth”, which is not only a lot longer than “tak”, but just completely inappropriate here (at least from the point of view of the English-speaking reader) — I mean, would you ever say “to tell you the truth, it was a good meal” if you hadn’t already said it wasn’t? “Let me ask you the same question” is also excessively formal and overly grand — it just feels (as lyzazel says) like a waste of time. I’m generally very patient with learners of English, but if any started talking to me like that, I would get very bored very quickly.

      The sort of fillers you should be looking to use are things like “so” “ok” and “well”. The real ace up your sleeve should be “in that case”:
      “What’s haggis?”
      “A sheep’s heart, liver and lungs cooked in its own stomach.”
      “In that case, I’ll have the steak.”

      • http://www.anthonylauder.com/ SplogSplog

        Great points, and to a large extent I agree with you. Remember, though, that:

        1. Czech is much “politer” that English – with social graces (embedded in many of the conversational connectors) in places where English would not expect them. For example “Please don’t be upset but allow me to say that I don’t have the correct change” sounds weird in English but works well in Czech.

        2. The more connectors we learn the better we become at using them. It can seem awkward at first, but pretty quickly people tell me they have a good feel on how and when to use them.

        3. The alternative in many cases is that people are too scared to say anything. I have come across many examples of people who were essentially mute in Czech until they started using the connectors. So, although they are not perfect, they can be helpful to get Czech language learners to take the first few steps on the road to fluency.

        In terms of “so”, “ok”, “well”, and “in that case” – you are spot on , and the spreadsheet I hand out has those and about 100 more. More importantly, people who have used the spreadsheet soon discard those they don’t find useful, and pick up on those that they personally prefer – such as (in your case) those you suggested here.

      • Andrew Haddow

        “In that case, you’ve never tasted haggis.”

    • London Opendack

      One might say that “tak” is just talk. ;)

  • http://www.anthonylauder.com/ SplogSplog

    By the way, the first Czech word I teach is “Tak”. It means “So”.

    It is really just a filler connector (with no “payload” of fact) – but it is very versatile and a word that people use all the time in real life.

    For example, if people ask “(How are you) Jake se máš?” you can say “(So so) Tak tak” – in fact Czechs use this a lot more than, for example “Absolutely Great!” as would, perhaps, an American or another westerner.

    Likewise, if you want to say “(Let’s go) Pojďme!” (which can sound a bit like a harsh command) you can soften it by saying “(So) Tak (Let’s go) Pojďme!”

    As an another example: In a restaurant, when the waiter asks what you want, instead of jumping straight in with “(I’ll have coffee) Dám si kávu” you can stick “Tak” on the front, with a slight pause, as a “soft bridge” before placing your order.

    “Tak” – to me at least – is the friendliest, and most versatile word. But, it has nothing to do with facts. It is purely conversational. It may even be “wasting time” – but it wastes time in a way that a lot of people really appreciate.

    • http://deleted Cainntear

      Tak — that’s a good example. However, the blog post was talking about things like “to tell you the truth”, which is not only a lot longer than “tak”, but just completely inappropriate here (at least from the point of view of the English-speaking reader) — I mean, would you ever say “to tell you the truth, it was a good meal” if you hadn’t already said it wasn’t? “Let me ask you the same question” is also excessively formal and overly grand — it just feels (as lyzazel says) like a waste of time. I’m generally very patient with learners of English, but if any started talking to me like that, I would get very bored very quickly.

      The sort of fillers you should be looking to use are things like “so” “ok” and “well”. The real ace up your sleeve should be “in that case”:
      “What’s haggis?”
      “A sheep’s heart, liver and lungs cooked in its own stomach.”
      “In that case, I’ll have the steak.”

      • http://www.anthonylauder.com/ SplogSplog

        Great points, and to a large extent I agree with you. Remember, though, that:

        1. Czech is much “politer” that English – with social graces (embedded in many of the conversational connectors) in places where English would not expect them. For example “Please don’t be upset but allow me to say that I don’t have the correct change” sounds weird in English but works well in Czech.

        2. The more connectors we learn the better we become at using them. It can seem awkward at first, but pretty quickly people tell me they have a good feel on how and when to use them.

        3. The alternative in many cases is that people are too scared to say anything. I have come across many examples of people who were essentially mute in Czech until they started using the connectors. So, although they are not perfect, they can be helpful to get Czech language learners to take the first few steps on the road to fluency.

        In terms of “so”, “ok”, “well”, and “in that case” – you are spot on , and the spreadsheet I hand out has those and about 100 more. More importantly, people who have used the spreadsheet soon discard those they don’t find useful, and pick up on those that they personally prefer – such as (in your case) those you suggested here.

  • http://otevotnyelv.blog.hu/ balint

    Wow, SplogSplog, how true! Great summary! These are the stuff, that you never learn during a regular language course – this shows how important to contact with native speakers. I’m pretty sure, when I speak English, my every third word is “like”, “well”, “sfuff” :D because, as you wrote, these softens the meanings of my rough thoughts :D
    Just like in Spanish, they all the time use “pues”, “entonces”, etc.
    And I agree – these are really important things – not only know about them, but using them!
    .-= balint´s last blog ..Effortless English összefoglaló – 3. szint 13-14. lecke =-.

  • http://otevotnyelv.blog.hu balint

    Wow, SplogSplog, how true! Great summary! These are the stuff, that you never learn during a regular language course – this shows how important to contact with native speakers. I’m pretty sure, when I speak English, my every third word is “like”, “well”, “sfuff” :D because, as you wrote, these softens the meanings of my rough thoughts :D
    Just like in Spanish, they all the time use “pues”, “entonces”, etc.
    And I agree – these are really important things – not only know about them, but using them!
    .-= balint´s last blog ..Effortless English összefoglaló – 3. szint 13-14. lecke =-.

  • cestina

    Not to forget all those interjections like “you know” and “I mean”….

    Sometimes they take up well over half the sentence.

    I always said that I would know that I had achieved fluency in Czech when I found myself saying “No, no no….” and meaning “Yes, yes, yes” :-)

  • cestina

    Not to forget all those interjections like “you know” and “I mean”….

    Sometimes they take up well over half the sentence.

    I always said that I would know that I had achieved fluency in Czech when I found myself saying “No, no no….” and meaning “Yes, yes, yes” :-)

  • http://palestina-en-praga.blogspot.com/ Alia

    I haven’t read your blog since I first found you a while ago – this is really great. Since I’m on my way to Prague very soon (August 1!!!) I’d love to see any resources you have! I’m really enjoying reading your posts!
    .-= Alia´s last blog ..sreality.cz =-.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ benny

      Prague is a fun city! You will really like it :)
      Don’t get discouraged with Czech when you start speaking it; with the right attitude (as I’ve discussed in other posts) you will speak it quickly! Hopefully later posts will help too :D
      Post back more comments to let us know of your progress :)

  • http://palestina-en-praga.blogspot.com Alia

    I haven’t read your blog since I first found you a while ago – this is really great. Since I’m on my way to Prague very soon (August 1!!!) I’d love to see any resources you have! I’m really enjoying reading your posts!
    .-= Alia´s last blog ..sreality.cz =-.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com benny

      Prague is a fun city! You will really like it :)
      Don’t get discouraged with Czech when you start speaking it; with the right attitude (as I’ve discussed in other posts) you will speak it quickly! Hopefully later posts will help too :D
      Post back more comments to let us know of your progress :)

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    Hey Benny, the link to the excel file doesn’t seem to work for me. I get an Error – Not Found message.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ benny

      Thanks for pointing that out Jennie! I’ve corrected the error (the plugin I use to give dynamic links was also applied to older posts and messed up the URL on that file). You should be able to download it now :)

  • http://www.ielanguages.com/blog/ Jennie

    Hey Benny, the link to the excel file doesn’t seem to work for me. I get an Error – Not Found message.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com benny

      Thanks for pointing that out Jennie! I’ve corrected the error (the plugin I use to give dynamic links was also applied to older posts and messed up the URL on that file). You should be able to download it now :)

  • Chris O'Donovan

    I think this is such an unbelievable idea, after reading this post I did a search on the net and it doesn't seem to be a widely used method at all!! And its so obvious when you think about it. I think this would be really useful in Ireland where most people know hundreds if not thousands of individual Irish words yet cannot string a sentance together, I would know being a proudct of the Irish educational system myself…I can name pretty much anything in Irish but when it comes to conversation I fall flat on my face!! If these conversational connectors were introduced to schoolchildren or even if the general public were made aware of this method I'm sure a lot of people would start speaking Irish…We all have the words we just need to string them together!! Thanks Anthony your a legend!!

  • Chris O'Donovan

    I think this is such an unbelievable idea, after reading this post I did a search on the net and it doesn't seem to be a widely used method at all!! And its so obvious when you think about it. I think this would be really useful in Ireland where most people know hundreds if not thousands of individual Irish words yet cannot string a sentance together, I would know being a proudct of the Irish educational system myself…I can name pretty much anything in Irish but when it comes to conversation I fall flat on my face!! If these conversational connectors were introduced to schoolchildren or even if the general public were made aware of this method I'm sure a lot of people would start speaking Irish…We all have the words we just need to string them together!! Thanks Anthony your a legend!!

  • http://tastyinfidelicacies.blogspot.com Scherzophrenic

    This is excellent advice. I have often found that by adding connectors, I get some breathing room when searching for an elusive word.

  • http://twitter.com/fluentitalian Ben Spragge

    This is an excellent Idea! I’m very excited about learning Italian (I’ve been studying for ~3-4 weeks).

    I’ve searched the internet, but haven’t been able to find Italian translations of this.

    Can someone translate/add commonly used Italian conversation connectors to my list @ http://sn.im/itconnectors?

    This will not only help me, but everyone else who is learning Italian. Because I’m not a native, I can hardly know what is commonly used.

    Email me at: bspragge+yanswers (at) gmail.com and I’ll let you edit the document

    Grazie!

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/edward.k.robe Robe’

    My take on the filler comments – another advantage to using them is that it provides a crucial bit of time to develop the actual content of the message you’re trying to send out, or to mentally think about the grammatical structure of what you’re saying. I rely on them in order to give me the opportunity to think about declinations/tense/conjugations of the phrase I’m about to spit out without breaking up the conversation with “uhs” and “ums”.

    As for them being wasteful – eh… everything in moderation. You can rely on them too heavily, or not at all, and either situation is preferably avoided. Ever talk to someone in your native tongue who used no filler comments in normal verbal speech? It’s painful. Without the filler, people can come off as very curt or uninterested in the conversation, plus it becomes infinitely harder to read their tone, body language, etc. which is communicated more clearly when a person is relaxed and not stressing over the details of their speech (i.e. when they are using canned, memorized filler phrases). If someone feels comfortable with a filler expression, they can start adding more emotion or flair to it and provide the listener better communication (which is the point, right?) without adding literal content to their speech.

    However, I’ve seen (and I’m guilty of this too, for sure) foreign language speakers get hooked on a few phrases and use them over and over ad nauseum. In those situations I just offer a few additional colloquial alternatives (maybe even a bit of appropriate slang) to mix things up a bit. Usually people are immensely pleased to expand this vital part of their vocabulary and are quick to pick up the new phrases. :)

    Good topic!

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      Yes, there is a danger of overuse. Obviously it’s better to focus on saying these things only at certain times.

  • Sie

    1 thing I’d be wary of, and I’m sure you’ve come accross many times is the responses of the people you are talking to… I know it’s very possible to speak a small amount from phrase book study but surely almost everthing said back would be beyond your scope at the early stages?????????

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      First thing is mastering the phrases. When you can distinguish sounds you produce, it’s easier to recognise when others speak and the phrasebook usually includes replies. With more practice you’ll get it quicker.
      I really don’t think it’s THAT complicated a procedure to justify that number of question marks ;)

  • Sie

    1 thing I’d be wary of, and I’m sure you’ve come accross many times is the responses of the people you are talking to… I know it’s very possible to speak a small amount from phrase book study but surely almost everthing said back would be beyond your scope at the early stages?????????

  • Sie

    1 thing I’d be wary of, and I’m sure you’ve come accross many times is the responses of the people you are talking to… I know it’s very possible to speak a small amount from phrase book study but surely almost everthing said back would be beyond your scope at the early stages?????????

  • https://profiles.google.com/jaemin.yi/ Jaemin Yi

    Anyone looking for Spanish Conversational Connectors, check out these flashcards right here: http://www.flashcardexchange.com/flashcards/list/745914

    Great post Benny, thanks for continuing to inspire us!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZWRGGTJGBF4XQNEWHZAHOZXU5E Linyan Tang
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZWRGGTJGBF4XQNEWHZAHOZXU5E Linyan Tang
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZWRGGTJGBF4XQNEWHZAHOZXU5E Linyan Tang
  • http://polinauta.blogspot.com Tiago Mezzofanti

    This an incredible strategy. I´ve actually used this not only in all my A2´s but in my native portuguese, because that´s simply how I naturally speak. And I do talk A LOT.

    I think that people who criticize such an awesome tip just don´t understand how important fluency is in a real conversation. As I always tell my students, fluency first, precision comes later.

    Great post, Benny. Abraços do Brasil.

  • Alejandro Machado

    This is an absolutely awesome idea.
    Benny, I think we should make Anki decks with these phrases instead of Excel spreadsheets, so we can learn them even faster!

  • Steph

    Hi Benny! Really interested in speaking Turkish!
    Steph

  • Andrew

    Keeping with the theme, one of the most useful statements to use when conversing in a foreign language is “What do you think”.

  • http://myfairland.net/ 小骆驼商队

    Pure genius! A hundred percent agree! To tell the truth, this is not only useful for foreign language learners. I dare say it is also helpful for native speakers who somewhat struggle at social occasions, like those who often appear to be too abrupt and blunt, and feel awkward at conversations.
    Wow, see the conversational connectors I used there! I already feel more fluent in English now! (For the record, I’m not a native speaker of English.) :)