Give longer answers

If you only give short answers, you will always be a beginner

When practicing conversation in another language, if you only give short answers, you will always be a beginner. For example, if someone asks, “Where do you want to travel?”, and you just answer, “France” or “I want to travel to France,” you’ll never reach intermediate proficiency in speaking. Get used to volunteering extra information, and your proficiency will grow quickly.

The most obvious way to add information is to give reasons for your answers. “France because I love the French language, and everyone says Paris is wonderful.”

Another way is to compare two things. “Either France or Mexico. In France, I can practice my French, but in Mexico, I can get more sun. I can’t decide.” In fact, a good exercise is to compare two or more things as a conversation topic. For example, you can compare two countries you’ve visited or two cities you’ve lived in. You can compare schools you attended or homes you lived in. You can compare yourself with your siblings or with your parents. You can compare sports you like or foods you cook. This will stretch your language skills and will help you to reach the intermediate level much faster.

You can lengthen your answers by giving specific examples. “I want to travel to Paris and see the cathedrals there. Especially, I want to see Notre Dame before I die.”

You can also lengthen your answers by telling a story. “I want to go to France again. I went to Paris as a teenager and loved it. My family traveled there for a weekend. I saw the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. Now I want to see more of France.”

In summary, whether you talk to yourself or practice conversation with someone else, always get in the practice of giving longer and longer answers. If you practice by talking to yourself first, you can look up words in a dictionary as you speak. This way, you can learn specific vocabulary you need rather than the general vocabulary taught in textbooks. If you also study and practice grammar, you can go from beginner to low-intermediate level quickly.

Author: AndyMountHood

Lover of languages (linguaphile) in the US Pacific Northwest (PNW). Formerly Oregon Polyglot and PNW Linguaphile. I'm over 50 years old, work in IT, and love hiking.

3 thoughts on “Give longer answers”

  1. Wow, thanks for the personal tips. At the conference : it is not really the place for long exchanges. I had a nice chat to Wal in Polish though. I can have basic conversations in Polish in real life but can’t write more than a few sentences yet. I can read and write quite a lot in Arabic as I have studied it up to A2 level. I only said hello to Benny in Arabic as he has studied the Egyptian dialect. On Youtube comments, I frequently practice in German (only on language learning/speaking channels) as that is the language that I am studying intensively at the moment. I am at a B1/B2 level and go to a private tutor for two hours a week and study about an hour minimum a day as well as my full time job. Even though I have never met you I have been following your comnents on Youtube and find your insights very interesting and you come across as extremely knowledgable. Please make some more videos to help beginners like me. Thankyou Andy, all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very creative post! This is something many people in language classes or exchanges don’t do and definitely needs to be addressed. It also helps exchanges be less awkward, since it’s hard to be holding up the conversation if someone else isn’t saying much.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: