April 8, 2019
Sometimes, when doing language exchange, we try to come up with interesting topics to discuss. But sooner or later most of us find ourselves unable to come up with anything. The dreaded “can’t think of things to say.” In this post, I’m going to talk about what some interesting topics to talk about are when doing Crosstalk.
In the last few posts about Crosstalk, I’ve explained what Crosstalk is and how to do it. I’ve also explained how to overcome some of the issues that people find when trying to do Crosstalk. By now, it should be pretty clear how to do Crosstalk.
More talkative people may not need any additional help, and remember that Crosstalk is as easy as having a conversation with a friend. However, less talkative people, like me, can benefit from some suggestions about good topics to discuss at each level. This issue is not specific to Crosstalk. Having a hard time finding a topic to talk about can be an issue with any kind of language exchange.
Even if you’re naturally a very talkative person, if you regularly do Crosstalk with the same partner, you may eventually find that you run out of things to say. You get to a point in which the two of you have told each other about your whole lives and all your interests. This post may help you find some new ideas. I’ll also try to help you choose the topics that work well at each level, and topics that I’ve found are generally a lot of fun to talk about.
First, I’m going to give you a few ideas for topics that work well at the beginner level. As I’ve mentioned before, talking about childhood is a very good idea. Things that children do are naturally things that usually involve a lot of action and movement. Those things are easy to represent visually, either with gestures or drawing. A very funny topic to talk about are the times when, as a child, you took something that didn’t belong to you. It’s also a very relatable topic for many people. Also, talking about times when you lied or just times when you were naughty and got in trouble. Another topic, which may surprise you as something that people often like to discuss, are times when they got hurt. It’s also interesting to talk about bad habits you had as a child, like picking your nose or biting your nails, and also times you embarrassed yourself, either as a child or as an adult.
Other topics you can discuss related to your childhood are the places where you grew up, the games that you like to play with your classmates during recess, or times when you were really happy or sad because of something that happened to you.
Another good topic, at the beginner level, is to tell a story of a TV show, a movie, or a book that you love. Even a movie that you recently watched will do, as long as there’s some action to discuss. As a general rule, if the story mostly involves people talking to each other, it’s not going to be easy to tell at the beginner level.
At the intermediate level, you have many more options. You can talk about many more things, because you don’t depend so much on drawing. At the intermediate level, it’s a good idea to just start talking about topics that you like to talk about with your friends anyway. In my case, I love talking about traveling, animals, and technology and future advancements. So, you can try to talk about those topics and see if your language partner also likes them.
Another idea is using your imagination and discussing, for example, what your ideal house would be like. You and your partner can each give your own version of an ideal house, and maybe even try to find a common perfect house for both of you. Other similar ideas are your ideal vacation, city, relationship, and/or smartphone.
Since relationships came up, this is another topic that many people enjoy talking about. You can talk about past relationships, but you can also talk about what a good relationship would be, what each partner can expect from the other person, what things are expected or not expected in a relationship, etc. Many people really enjoy and are comfortable talking about that. Other ideas include discussing things that are important in life, things that you really value, and things that you think are important or not important to have a good and happy life.
I personally like to talk about controversial topics. You have to be a bit more careful with these topics, of course, because not everybody has the same amount of tolerance for disagreement. I’m pretty open-minded and I don’t easily get emotional when discussing certain subjects. If you’ve found a partner that can sit down and have a calm conversation about a controversial topic, you will see that you can really get into the conversation. Examples of topics I like to discuss are nuclear power, the death penalty, or even politics and religion.
If you are at an intermediate level where you don’t depend on drawing so much anymore, and you feel that your Crosstalk sessions start becoming boring, a good idea is to go for a walk. Go out and visit an interesting place. Visit a market or a park and simply talk about the things that you see and catch your attention. This is a very easy way to find things to talk about. The environment is providing those things for you, so you don’t have to keep trying to come up with ideas.
I hope these ideas were helpful for you. I know that sometimes when we’re trying to force ourselves to have a conversation we may be at loss for words. Particularly, when we want to come up with an interesting topic the most is when our brain tends to fail us. Hopefully, after reading this post, you will have a few more tools under your belt. Knowing that you can just talk about what you would be talking about with your friends and family is really helpful. One last tip: think about what you’ll talk about before every Crosstalk session. Once you are at an intermediate or advanced level, you can even choose your topics based on the kinds of topics you want to be able to talk about.
The next step is to go out and try
Posted By Pablo Roman | Dreaming Spanish
I fell in love with learning languages while living in Japan. After learning Japanese to proficiency without traditional studying, I decided that a better way of learning languages is possible and I wanted to look for it. After one year in Bangkok learning Thai and experiencing a much more natural input-based method to learn languages, I decided that I wanted to help popularize these kinds of methods. In 2017, I started producing my own content that people all over the world can enjoy while learning.
Check out The Dreaming Spanish with Pablo video series here.
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