Monday, May 19, 2008

Conversational Starters: Which seems the most natural to you?

Although many ESL/EFL textbooks teach students basic ways to ask questions and start conversations, the real question is which question is the most appropriate under different situations. I believe that this where more focus should be placed because students ask inappropriate or strange questions because they don't understand under what context things should be said.

In this poll, I asked visitors what they felt was the best question to ask in this situation, and I feel the results show that students lack sociolinguistic awareness as I mentioned above.

For example, asking a complete stranger his or her name just doesn't make sense and the native speaker might be very surprised at the random question. I mean, native speakers don't ask this question unless a name is really needed. I most cases native speakers, in this case on an airplane, might talk about a variety of random things like the food or the person's travel destination for hours without ever asking the person's name because it isn't really needed.

So, what do you think about this topic and the other responses to the survey? Share your ideas.


1 comment:

  1. I think if it is just a casual conversation on the airplane then it is not necessary to ask another person's name. Unless you have a nice talk and want to keep in touch, then exchanging names and emails will be needed.

    Once I was on my way to New york, and the guy who sit next to me started to talk to me. We talked things like :
    -Is this your first time to go to NY?
    -Are you travel alone?
    -Why do you want to go to NY?
    I think we had a nice consersation, and it is not too boring on the airplane.



Thanks for posting a comment. I appreciate your interesting in sharing your ideas.