David Crystal – There are “different areas of vocabulary

There are “different areas of vocabulary and grammar – as well as pronunciation, intonation, for example – as well as body language, where the informality of conversation is expressed in a very traditional way,” David says. English teachers around the world spend time and energy helping students practice their speaking skills. On the one hand, it’s a fashionable way to talk, and for English students it can be confusing if they don’t understand why it’s used in conversation. His latest book, Let’s Talk: How English Conversation Works explores everything that makes conversation successful and what doesn’t. There are many ways to teach students how to have a successful conversation, such as speaking informally, using intonation, and giving feedback. The Pearson English Podcast invites English language experts from around the world to share their research and experiences, and to discuss changes in language teaching. English language learners do the same thing when they speak in their native language. Teachers can also teach their students how to engage in conversation and focus on how to make conversation in English more relaxed. In our recent Pearson’s English podcast, our group wondered if conversation can really be done in English. Fluency and comprehension are usually covered in English lessons. “What topics are appropriate for conversation starters? There are cultural differences here,” “he” says. But in general, “he” says, people should feel like they’ve had a good conversation. That means, David says, that online conversations are more like a monologue. But remember, it’s hard to give that kind of simultaneous response when talking online using video conferencing platforms. “It’s very important to look at this everyday use of language,” “he” says. So should teachers learn to speak out loud? David says yes.