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18 jul. Because Conversationally Speaking, most people haven't broken down the patterns of a great conversation. Specific principles get specific. More than a million people have learned the secrets of effective conversation using Conversationally Speaking. This revised edition provides more ways to. *ALMOST 1 MILLION SOLD!* Conversationally Speaking has become the most popular book in the world teaching conversation skills. Millions of people have.
We experi- ence, see, hear about events all the time Some are tellable to everyone, some have a restricted audience, some must be told immediately, and some can wait and still retain their interest.
Part of the structure of conversational openings has to do with the positioning of topics within the conversation, as Schegloff and Sacks point out. The participants select a topic as first topic through a process of negotiation. The first topic, however, may be held back until the conversation develops to a point where it can be appropriately introduced.
For example, a conversation may open: A: What's up? B: Not much. What's up with you? A: Nothing. Later, after possible preambles, one of the participants may go on to introduce a topic such as a job offer, which could have been given as a direct response to "What's up? As Goffman points out, conversation- alists might want to "talk past" some topics initially, waiting until a much later time to introduce a sensitive issue, "all of which management requires some understanding of issues such as delicacy" Goffman Schegloff and Sacks have also pointed out that in telephone con- versations there is often a preamble to the first topic that offers the possibility of closing the conversation, should the other speaker so desire, such as "Did I wake you up?
Winskowski , refers to topicalizing behavior, by which is meant bringing up topics, responding to other people's topics, mention- 1 This section is adapted from Richards and Schmidt With this focus on topic as process, topic behavior can often be seen to consist of rounds of topical turns that are reciprocally addressed and replied to, as in the following example: A: Oh nothing, we're just cleaning up.
We had dinner. What's new? B: Nothing much. I still got a cold. A: Oh, has it improved at all, hopefully? B: Yeah, it's gotten better, it's gotten better. It'll be all right tomorrow.
It better because I'm going out tomorrow. Winskowski 86 Hatch emphasizes that second language learners need a wide range of topics at their disposal. Initially, learners may depend on "canned topics. They should practice nominating topics about which they are prepared to speak.
They should do lots of listening comprehension for topic nominations of native speakers. They should practice predicting questions for a large num- ber of topics They should be taught That is, they should practice saying "huh," echoing parts of sen- tences they do not understand in order to get the rest of it recycled again, "pardon me, excuse me, I didn't understand etc.
Hatch Learners also need to be able to follow the flow of a topic through conversation. Knowledge of the real world in the form of schema knowl- edge is one source of information the learner can make use of, predicting and anticipating questions and the direction of conversation for certain topics.
Repair Repair refers to efforts by both parties in conversation to correct prob- lems that arise. Van Lier emphasizes that discourse involves continuous adjustment between speakers and hearers obliged to operate in a code which gives them problems. This adjustment-in-interaction may be cru- cial to language development, for it leads to noticing discrepancies between what is said and what is heard, and to a resolution of these discrepancies Although it is not a sufficient condition, we may safely assume that it is a necessary condition.
Repairs may be initiated by either the speaker self-repairs or the hearer other repairs. The second language learner may also request clarifi- cation from a native speaker NS when misunderstanding occurs.
Echo- ing is one technique that is used, when the nonnative speaker NNS repeats a word or phrase that is not understood and the conversational partner explains it or replaces it with an easier item. NS: We're going mountaineering tomorrow. NNS: Mountain. NS: Mountaineering. You know, to climb up the mountain. Another response to a request for repair involves topic fronting, as in the following example: NS: Do you come from a big family?
NNS: Uhh? NS: Your family. Is it big? Do you have lots of brothers and sisters? Formal features of conversation Conversational discourse is also recognized by formal features, which distinguish it from written discourse see Chapter 6.
In the written mode, clauses are linked in complex ways, with a main clause often followed by or linked to subordinate clauses. Rules of intra- and intersentential relations serve to link repeated and coreferential constit- uents.
This is not possible in spoken discourse. Brown and Yule 4 observe: Most spoken language consists of paratactic unsubordinated phrases which are marked as related to each other, not so much by the syntax as by the way the speaker says them. The speaker uses the resources of pausing and rhythm and, to a lesser extent, intonation, to mark out for the listener which parts of his speech need to be co-interpreted.
Similarly, Syder 32 notes: Normal procedure in spontaneous connected discourse is for the speaker to package his thoughts into a series of relatively complete and independent clauses.
All the syntactic and semantic elements needed to understand the clause are present in the clause, and there is minimal cross referencing to other clauses required of the hearer.
This is because, in addition to the fragmentary nature of oral discourse, the learner's processing capacity is limited. Bygate notes that in conversation, speakers tend to avoid complex noun groups containing a series of adjectives e. As a result, spoken language is less dense than written language. Bygate gives an example of a second language learner describing a picture: OK — in this picture in picture — er — number 1 - I can see er a little girl — who probably - is inside — her house — er who is playing — with a bear - this bear - it has a brown colour and — the little girl is sitting — in the — in the stairs of her house — this house is very nice — it has rugs — it has brown rugs - mm - it has waste basket.
Different styles of speak- ing reflect the roles, age, sex, and status of participants in interactions. Consider the various ways in which it is possible to ask someone the time, and the different social meanings that are communicated by these differences: Got the time?
I guess it must be quite late now — is it? What's the time? Do you have the time? Would you know what time it is?
See a Problem?
Could I trouble you for the time? Lexical, phonological, and grammatical changes may be involved in producing a suitable style of speaking, as the following alternatives illustrate: Have you seen the boss?
However, if the speaker and hearer are judged to be of more or less equal status, a casual speech style is appropriate that stresses affiliation and solidarity.
Successful management of speech styles creates the sense of politeness that is essential for harmonious social relations Brown and Levinson Brown and Yule point out that speech in a casual conver- sational style is peppered with general nonspecific words and phrases e. The two speakers are male academics discussing the use of diaries in language research. A: I don't know whether you have talked with Hilary about the diary situation B: Well she has been explaining to me rather in more general terms, what you are sort of doing and A: What it was all about, yes.
B: I gather you've been at it for nine years. A: By golly that's true. Yes, yes, it's not a long time of course, in this sort of work, you know. B: Well no, but it's quite a long time by any standards. A: Yes, suppose so. B: She told me what you did, and we decided we were both a bit out of date compared with the present day students and A: Well I suppose that that's true The ability to produce this kind of casual conversational language as well as to produce language appropriate for more formal encounters is an essential skill for second language learners.
Wardhaugh 74 observes: There are routines to help people establish themselves in certain positions: routines for taking off and hanging up coats; arrangements concerning where one is to sit or stand at a party or in a meeting; offers of hospitality; and so on.
There are routines for beginnings and endings of conversations, for lead- ing into topics, and for moving away from one topic to another. And there are routines for breaking up conversations, for leaving a party, and for dis- solving a gathering It is difficult Where might they occur? What might be their function within those situations?
This one's on me. Guess I'll be making a move. I don't believe a word of it. I see what you mean. I don't get the point.
Let me think about it. You look great today. Just looking, thanks. What will you have to drink? I'll be with you in a minute. Nearly time.
Got everything? It doesn't matter.
Check please! No harm done. After you. Pawley and Syder suggest that native speakers have a repertoire of thousands of routines like these, and their use in appropriate situations creates conversational discourse that sounds natural and nativelike. Con- versational routines typically have to be learned and used asfixedexpres- sions, but at the same time, speakers must be aware that they cannot be used indiscriminately, to avoid exchanges such as the following: A: Thanks for the meal.
A: Terry's father died. B: It doesn't matter. B: What a nuisance. The concept of fluency The overall goal of a second language learner is to produce fluent speech; however, the notion of fluency is difficult to pin down. The European Threshold Level Project Van Ek ; Van Ek and Alexander , for example, describes oral fluency in terms of "reasonable speech: with sufficient precision: with reasonable correctness grammatically, lexi- cally, phonologically.
Although fluency is a fuzzy concept, it is not an unimportant one. The concept of fluency reflects the assumption that speakers set out to produce discourse that is comprehensible, easy to follow, and free from errors and breakdowns in communication, though this goal is often not met due to processing and production demands.
Be Error-Free phonology and syntax 2. Be Intelligible semantics, lexicon, logic, stylistics, and rhetoric 3.
Be in Control of the Communication Channel fluency, and in dyadic speech, also turn taking. The kind of discourse speakers produce and the degree of fluency they achieve, however, depend upon the task the speaker is attempting and the context for communication i. For some tasks, such as telling a story, the speaker may have access to available plans or schemas that reduce planning time and effort.
The result may be that the discourse produced is qualitatively different from discourse produced during spontaneous interaction.
It may be less hes- itant, and the speaker may be able to plan larger units of discourse than are found in unplanned conversational interaction. Holmes found that the types of clauses and pauses occurring in storytelling tasks dif- fered from those found in spontaneous interaction.
Storytelling tasks "allowed subjects to construct more integrated utterances, which have been largely thought out and organized prior to their expression. The utterances are more planned, compared with the relatively unplanned discourse of spontaneous speech, which lacks much forethought and preparation" Holmes Within a particular task type, however, such as storytelling, there may be variation between a hesitant cycle and a more fluent cycle, the latter marked by a faster rate of speech and fewer hesitations.
Clark and Clark suggest that as the speaker begins a new idea, more detailed planning is required, resulting in more hesitant speech. Once the speaker gets further into the idea or topic, however, planning and execution require less effort. As the section proceeds, the global plan becomes complete, there is less need to hesitate, and the result is a fluent output" Clark and Clark Approaches to the teaching of conversation Currently there are two major approaches to the teaching of conversation in second language programs.
The second, a more direct approach, in- volves planning a conversation program around the specific microskills, strategies, and processes that are involved in fluent conversation.
The indirect approach: teaching conversation through interactive tasks The justification for a task-based approach to the teaching of conver- sation comes from second language acquisition SLA research.
SLA researchers e. In using conversation to interact with others, learners gradually acquire the competence that underlies the ability to use language. Hatch puts the position in this way: "One learns how to do conversation, one learns how to interact verbally, and out of this interaction syntactic structures are developed.
For example, the discourse found in conversation between nonnative speakers and native speakers is usually syntactically less complex than NS-NS discourse, with a higher frequency of more regular grammatical structures and vocabulary. This should make comprehension easier for the nonnative speaker.
There are characteristic patterns of question use. Questions are more frequent than statements, drawing the nonnative speaker into con- versation and allowing the native speaker to check comprehension at the same time.
Questions may also contain their own answers e. These kinds of conversational modifications are believed to assist the second language learner's lan- guage development. This is how he was able to bring quarreling countries together no less than three separate times in history, and save literally millions of lives.
He was able to talk in ways that people would listen and see the benefit of his words. He broke political standstills and bridged ideological and philosophical differences in ways that both spared and ended great conflicts. Finally, he just made things happen through sheer skill and will. Can you imagine having that much social grace that you can literally bend the fate of nations with your conversations?
There may have been some circumstantial luck involved from time to time, but my hope is that through the principles in this book, you will be able to strike up a conversation with anyone at any time, with nothing circumstantial required at all. We might not be able to reunite the Koreas, but we can definitely make a difference in how fulfilled we are on a daily basis. Master conversation; relationships. What are your goals in life?
Too heavy to start with? Okay, so what are your goals for the next week? Is it work-related, hobby-related, or just social in nature?
Whatever you end up answering is not the important part — the important part is the realization that conversation and small talk is going to be integral to accomplishing it.
Our world is not ruled by strict requirements and objectivity, despite what we might like to believe. Success requires as many strong relationships as you can create, and relationships are made strong by conversation that delves deep and allows two people to actually connect.
At its best, it allows people to drop all pretense, become vulnerable, and relate to each other in ways they never thought possible. This engenders love, friends, business, and accomplishments. Unsurprisingly, most people are not naturals at conversation and social skills in general. Gee, I wonder which one is actually more useful in the real world? People also have various internal anxieties and mental blocks that might prevent them from successfully engaging people in conversation on a regular basis.
Regardless of the path that led you to this point of wanting help and improvement, rest assured and comforted that it will be an easier climb than you think. Like anything that is necessary, you might involve a bit of kicking and screaming as you leave your comfort zones, but there are some compelling reasons to do so.
First, conversation skills open trust.
The first meeting between two people can be cautious and tense. The first few moments are a quick haze of attempting to collect basic information with which to make an informed decision about trust, opening up, who to build relationships with, and who to ignore. Initial conversation is an effective way of detecting each other's interest and most importantly, figuring out whether we could be comfortable with each other.
Small talk may seem very superficial and rather innocent but in terms of interpersonal relationships, it's actually a very important filtering mechanism. It can give people the information they need whether they plan to let this person in deeper into their lives or hold them at a certain distance. Small talk and conversation is really kind of a socially accepted gateway for you to let other people know what you're interested in, what's important to you, what your personality is like, and your personal twist or spin on common knowledge or current events.
With rusty or non-existent conversation skills, you run the risk of being perceived as someone that is untrustworthy, not worth spending time with, or just awkward. Second, conversation skills make people feel safe. Conversation can be as shallow as you want. But done correctly, it makes people feel comfortable and safe with you, and ultimately trust you.
Initial small talk and conversation is typically neutral in nature, and about harmless topics that most people can agree on. Yet still, there is the opportunity to provide context and information about who you are, what your values are, and how you conduct yourself so people can become comfortable and trust you. This small talk is the gateway to friendships, opportunities, and relationships. When people feel safe, they reciprocate and attempt to draw you into their sphere of personal space. Our true friends are who we feel like will be there for us thick and thin.
Friendships and relationships are a series of shared moments and connections, driven by conversation. Ergo, upgrade your conversation quotient and capacity, and find yourself at the cusp of many more deep relationships and friendships.
Everyone likes a verbal mirror. Give them the space to explain their motivations and intents, and no one can resist the temptation of talking about their own cleverness.
Coming from a date coaching background, I can tell you that the same advice holds true because it has the same goal. We innately know that this has the effect of driving a conversation because people like to talk about themselves. It also gives the appearance of a smooth, flowing conversation because both people are driving the conversation along and working together for a single purpose — to talk about the other person.
The end result is that the other person will just like you more, because they have perceived a great conversation to have taken place. So… do you find yourself clamming up when you meet new people?PDF Willow Palm: Everybody has done certain things that most other people share. Chakras for Beginners, Awaken Your Internal?
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