The English language is a fascinating mix of regional dialects and unique slang, shaped by centuries of history and cultural influences. Throughout its long history, the UK has had many invasions and visitors. From the Romans in ancient Londinium to the rolling hills of the Saxon heartland, and from the Viking raiders of the north to the Norman conquerors of the south, each wave of historical influence has shaped the dialects of the UK. Each region of the United Kingdom has its own distinct flavor of language and accent. Today, we embark on a slang tour to explore some of the expressions from different regions.
9 English conversation mistakes to avoid
As humans, we learn and grow through our interactions with other people. Often these encounters are centered around great conversations – rich, meaningful exchanges among a small group of people where each person actively listens and shares. Great discussions are invaluable – they enrich our understanding of people and the world around us. Socially, being someone who can engage effortlessly with others allows us to create deep friendships and gain incredible personal growth and satisfaction. In our careers, we are more effective when we work well with others – the ability to collaborate and solve problems together makes us more effective professionals and makes our businesses more successful.
Common English conversation mistakes
But what if you must hold a conversation in English and it is not your native language? One of the many obstacles to learning something new, like English conversation, is that it can be difficult, time-consuming and even a little scary! That’s why we put together a list of nine English conversation mistakes to avoid that apply whether you are speaking with one or several people at once. Keep these tips in mind to help you improve your interactions with people all over the world…
1) Faking interest in the person
One of the things that separates a conversation from a 'transaction' (such as ordering something in a restaurant) is the genuine mutual interest of each person in the other. If one isn’t interested in knowing more about the other person, neither will engage meaningfully, and the interaction will become transactional or just 'small talk'. Most people are fascinating – take the time to learn what you can about them.
2) Discussing negative and sensitive topics
People are more engaged and willing to share when they are relaxed and happy. Especially when you don’t know someone well, it is always better to focus on the positives – avoid both sharing your biggest troubles and bringing up topics that could be negative from a cultural, religious, political, or even personal perspective. There is always something positive to share!
3) Trying to 'win' an argument
Particularly when speaking with someone you don’t know well and/or someone from another country or background, it is precarious for a conversation (especially one where you are practicing your English conversation skills) to evolve into a debate or argument. It is likely that for any two people, there will be many points of disagreement, and if such differences emerge, it’s better to attempt to understand the other person’s point of view rather than to 'win' an argument. It is perfectly acceptable to agree to disagree about specific issues and move on.
4) Disrespecting others beliefs
If you want a great conversation, others must feel you aren’t judgmental. When someone feels their ideas and beliefs are questioned or belittled, any meaningful exchange will often shut down. Instead, try listening for understanding, and you may learn something!
5) 'Hogging' the stage
It is said that great actors make their fellow performers look great. It is the essence of teamwork, and the same principle applies to great conversationalists. Ask questions that allow others to be positive, confident, and maybe even a little boastful, but certainly remember to do it in a genuine way. The positive energy will be contagious!
6) Fearing learning something unknown
There are over seven billion people worldwide, and none are exactly like you! The greatest learning experiences are often from interactions with those who are very different from ourselves. Embrace and celebrate those differences. Allow others to share their unique perspective and journey, always keeping in mind we all share so much in common. We all want to be happy, love others, and have meaning in our lives.
7) Trying to be someone you are not
There’s only one person you can be, so don’t try to be someone else or something you are not. A great conversation is based on authenticity; most people can easily sense when another is not truthful or authentic. While keeping in mind all of the other rules, it’s both acceptable and expected for you to share your own journey!
8) Monopolizing the conversation
We’ve all been in those conversations where the other person dominates by talking incessantly. At some point, we shut down, just waiting for it to end. Active listening and learning ceases. Engagement requires participation from both parties – don’t hold back from sharing, but at the same time, don’t be that person who dominates and effectively shuts down that engagement.
9) Focusing on superficial topics
What separates a great conversation from 'small talk' is the meaningful nature of the dialog. Talking about the weather doesn’t elicit much other than maybe politeness. A great conversationalist elicits meaningful thoughts from others, and those come from purposeful questions. People love to think; asking them something that requires thoughtfulness deepens the conversation's value and strengthens the relationship between the parties.
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Language is not only a tool for communication but also a means to explore and comprehend diverse cultures, traditions, and perspectives. Europe, with its vast array of languages, is a prime example of this linguistic diversity. Each year on September 26th, Europe observes the European Day of Languages, which is a day solely dedicated to celebrating and embracing this linguistic richness.
Europe is a magnificent tapestry of languages, with over 200 spoken throughout the continent. This diversity is a symbol of the rich cultural heritage of each nation and reminds us of the intricate historical, social, and linguistic elements that mold our identities. The European Day of Languages inspires people to cherish and honor this linguistic heritage.
Why September 26th?
September 26th marks an important date for celebrating linguistic diversity and promoting multilingualism. This day commemorates the adoption of the "European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages" by the Council of Europe in 1992, a crucial document that recognizes and safeguards the linguistic rights of minority languages spoken within European countries. By celebrating the European Day of Languages on this date, it renews our commitment to supporting the rich diversity of languages and cultures that make our world a more vibrant and fascinating place.
What type of events happen?
The European Day of Languages offers language learners a chance to participate in language exchanges, which is an exciting opportunity. During such exchanges, learners from diverse backgrounds partner up and teach each other their native languages. This not only helps improve language skills but also promotes intercultural understanding.
Various European cities offer language workshops led by enthusiasts and experts, providing an introduction to different languages.
Storytelling is an incredibly effective tool for learning languages. Libraries, schools, and cultural centers hold multilingual storytelling sessions, where stories from different cultures are shared in their original languages. This helps both children and adults to better understand and appreciate the beauty of linguistic diversity.
Cinema provides a wonderful opportunity to explore different languages and cultures. Throughout Europe, foreign films are often shown with subtitles, enabling viewers to fully immerse themselves in new linguistic worlds.
Museums often showcase exhibitions highlighting the linguistic and cultural heritage of various regions, providing insight into the history and traditions of different languages.
Cafés and restaurants might offer special menus featuring diverse cuisines and multilingual staff – a delightfully tasty way to explore languages and cultures.
Games and Competitions
Language-based games and competitions, such as crossword puzzles and spelling bees, are organized in schools and communities to provide a fun and educational way to celebrate language.
If you are a teacher hoping to celebrate this occasion make sure to check here for ideas on what to do.
Check out what events are happening near you here.
Just like the European day of Languages, we at Pearson Languages are fully committed to empowering and celebrating language learners and educators alike. That's why we are now supporting French, Italian, and Spanish language learning with the Global Scale of Languages (GSL). With these new language learning frameworks at your fingertips, you can confidently design curriculums and personalize learning pathways to help fast-track your learners’ progress and help your learners be themselves in French, Italian and Spanish.
Whether you're a teacher, a language learner, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of languages, the European Day of Languages and the GSL provide exciting opportunities to explore, learn, and enjoy the rich tapestry of Europe's linguistic heritage.
Can we play a game? How many times have you been asked this in class? And how often do you say Yes? Young learners love to play games, and if you choose the right ones, they can have a hugely beneficial impact on their learning.
As well as being fun, games can provide learners with necessary language practice, as well as lowering the affective filter (i.e. anxiety, fear, boredom and other negative emotions that can all impact learning). Games also foster a positive, relaxed environment.
So are you ready to play? Here are a few tried and tested games that work especially well in the primary classroom. Each game is designed to consolidate and review the language students have been learning, and take from 5 to 15 minutes. The games are flexible enough for you to adapt them to different levels, age groups and skills.