Sustaining a longer conversation in English

Learning about speaking strategies

Spain Gaudi architecture

Spain and its culture: sustaining a longer conversation in English when talking with a Spanish person

Hello, everyone! I am Anna and I’m an English teacher. Once my student from China said to me she didn’t know how to talk to a Spanish person for longer than 3 minutes at a party (in London) and she felt quite embarrassed about it, so she asked me to teach her a couple of tricks. This was part of the lesson I taught her on Skype. Obviously, there was a lot of interaction and Dandan asked me some questions about the content of the lesson. In short, Dandan wasn’t confident talking to the Spanish girl because she didn’t know much about Spain.

I would recommend you read about different countries every day so you will have more general knowledge and then you will feel secure and more motivated to share ideas. Secondly, it can be lack of knowledge of useful phrases that can be found in a conversation. In this lesson that I made specially for Dandan, you will have to do some research on the subject. I’ve provided some instructions for you to follow but if you have any questions or comments, do leave them at the end of the lesson. So, let’s start.

1. Let’s look at a situation when you are invited to a party and you need to spend some time with a person from a different culture to yours. You are not sure what you can talk about because your awareness of their culture is not high and your own culture makes certain conversations impolite. To be safe, you can always talk about Spanish cuisine, customs, celebrations, education and travelling.
First let’s have a look at the map of Spain. Which cities have you heard of? What is the capital of Spain?

Map of Spain

2. You should know some words that are related to Spain. Match the words on the left with their explanation on the right. Please use the internet to do your research.
1) Pasodoble               a) the capital of Spain
2) Corrida                   b) a famous opera
3) Tomatina                c) a city in Spain with a  lot of Arabic history
4) Madrid                    d) a dance
5) Carmen                   e) a bull fight
6) Antoni Gaudi         f) festival
7) Cordoba                  g) a Spanish architect
8) Flamenco               h) rice cooked with mussels, langoustines and clams
9) Real Madrid           i) several appetisers/snacks
10) Paella                    j) a dance
11) Tapas                     k) a football team

La Tomatina

3. Make a list of new things you have learnt in your research process and show it to your teacher.

4. Here are some words and phrases you must know in Spanish. Please follow this link to YouTube where you will learn the basics.

5. Please discuss with your teacher what you have learnt and what you have found interesting.

6. Now, what can we talk about if we are having a conversation with a Spanish person? Let’s look at some conversation starters.
Dandan: Hi, I’m Dandan. What’s YOUR name?
Laura: My name is Laura and I come from Spain.
Dandan: Really? Hola. Como estas? (Hello. How are you?)
Laura: Wow. Brilliant! You can speak Spanish?
Dandan: Not really. My knowledge of Spanish is quite rudimentary. I just know some basics to help me get by.
Laura: Have you been to Spain at all?
Dandan: Not yet. Been quite busy since my husband started his PhD here. We were thinking of going to Barcelona and Madrid. I’ve seen only photos of Antonio Gaudi’s architecture but I’m quite impressed with it so wanted to see it for real.
Laura: Oh, yes. He created a distinctive style that everyone seems to want to see for themselves. Is there anything else you would be interested in seeing?
Dandan: Well, I don’t think I’d like to take part in La Tomatina but I would love to be there and take some photos. Do you know when it is by any chance?
Laura: If I’m not mistaken, you’ve already missed it because it literally was on the 25th of August but next year it’ll be on the 26th.

7. Can you please highlight some of the phrases in the dialogue that you think you have not actively used before. Can you now think of the situation when you couldn’t say much to a person from another country. Please do some research on that country, for example, 10 most interesting fact about…., and write a conversation with that person in mind. You can copy paste it and post on Facebook in expert-teacher community or our Instagram account: become_fluent_in_English.

If you would like to talk to me about your learning goals and how to achieve them, use the form below for a consultation. 

Anna Large

MA in Teaching English and French, RSA CELTA, RSA DELTA

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