Beginner's Guide to Learning Conversational English

Beginner's Guide to Learning Conversational English

One of the main reasons to learn English is to be able to make friends wherever you go!

Learning a language gives you the ability to communicate with people and learn more about them, their lives, and their culture. 

Being able to learn conversational English and hold conversations with native speakers feels great and is the way to convert strangers to friends!

Why Is It Important to Have Conversational English Lessons? 

If you memorize “important English phrases”, such as you might see in textbooks or travel guides, you can make yourself understood. But if you want to build a relationship with someone, you need to know conversational English.

1. It will help you understand native speakers

Conversational English phrases are what native language speakers will use among their family and friends. 

They will often use these phrases without thinking, especially if they have no reason to think you might not understand them. 

If you don’t understand conversational English, even if you’ve memorized many different English phrases, you might not understand what a native speaker is trying to tell you.

2. It will keep the conversation going

Nothing brings a conversation to a halt quicker than the other party realizing they “can’t really talk to you”.

If you can’t understand “normal” English, the conversation will be stilted and unnatural. You will force the person to have to think “will they understand me” before they speak to you and they might try to end their interaction with you quickly.

Even worse, if they don’t believe that you are fluent, they might not speak properly to you. They may use pidgin or clipped sentences or exaggerated pronunciations because they think that is how they can get their point across. 

How to Learn Conversational English and Impress the Natives

Let’s face it; having a conversation in a new language can be intimidating. But the only way to learn how to have a conversation is to – have a conversation. You just need to go out and do it.

There are ways to ensure you are better prepared to start and maintain a conversation however, and here are four ways you can do so.

1. Build up your knowledge of English slang

One of the biggest differences between “textbook” English and English as spoken by a native speaker is the use of slang.

Slang words and phrases are commonly used in everyday conversation – and they may not be found in English language textbooks.

Luckily, there are a lot of online resources that you can access to learn English slang. You can look for lists of slang words and phrases, watch YouTube videos on the meaning of slang words, or listen to podcasts that teach you when to use slang.

You can also make your own list of slang words to learn and practice by watching English language TV series and movies. 

Conversational English lessons for adults can even include English swear words. Just make sure that you know when and where you can use them in conversation without making people angry. 

No matter how you pick up your new slang or swear words, it’s a good idea to run them by a native speaker you know and trust before trying them out with a stranger. You can chat with a friend or – better yet – work with a native English language speaking tutor.

Tell them that you heard a certain word or phrase on a show and you’d like to know what it means and how to use it. This is actually a pretty good conversation starter.

2. Listen and study English language dialogue

English films and TV shows, especially those set in contemporary times, are rife with dialogue approximating how people really talk.

The actors or actresses may be working from a script, but the scripts are meant to recreate conversations that English speakers have everyday amongst themselves. So, studying the dialogue of your favorite English TV show on Netflix can help provide you with some good conversational English examples. 

Watch a show and take note of how the people speak. You can use subtitles and jot down the dialogue so you can practice saying them yourself. 

Some of the more popular shows and movies might even have copies of the actual scripts online, you can study those as well.

Don’t be ashamed to try out some of the dialogue or the phrases you picked up through your viewing in actual conversations afterwards.

You are sure to pick up many different ways to say “Thank you.”, “How are you?” and even “I love you.” by studying how the actors and actresses in your favorite rom coms say it.

3.  Create (and practice) your own dialogue

Just joining into a conversation with a native speaker can feel a bit daunting. One way that you can psych yourself up for it is to prepare ahead of time.

Write a script for yourself on how you want the conversations to go. Make a list of phrases that you can use and practice them. 

Your script can be scenario specific or even character specific. For example, if you are going to go out to dinner with some new English-speaking friends, make a list of phrases you can use with the staff like “what are your specials” or “do you have vegetarian options.”

You can also prepare a list of conversation starters. Tip? To try and make sure that you keep the conversation going by using questions that need more than a yes and no answer. Or, have follow up questions that can keep the conversation going.

For example, instead of “Do you have pets?” try “Do you like dogs or cats better as pets? Do you have one?”. Or, instead of “Did you watch the news?” pick a specific news topic and, if they didn’t watch it, be prepared to explain it to them.

Having natural conversations with native speakers is your end goal here, so you need to practice. In order to do so, you don’t just need to get the conversation started; you need to keep it going. 

4. Join online conversations

This is another way that you can build up your confidence and psych yourself up to have conversations with native English speakers. It is also a way to practice being able to form coherent and understandable sentences without having to worry about “sounding funny.”

If you read a lot of blogs and articles online, check if there is a comment section. Read what other people are saying and try to leave your own comments. 

You should also try going on forums, either about language learning or just a topic that you are interested in and posting your own questions or opinions there. Don’t be afraid to admit that you are an English language learner and ask questions about words or phrases you don’t quite understand.

Follow the social media accounts of people you admire or find interesting. Read what they have to say and what other people have to say about their posts. Comment on their posts, either join or start a conversation. What’s important is you go beyond just “liking” and practice conversational English phrases.

5. Enroll in an online course

Enrolling in an online course specifically designed for conversational English can be a transformative step in your language-learning journey. These courses are tailored to focus on practical skills that are essential for everyday communication, allowing you to learn at your own pace and convenience.

The flexibility of online learning enables you to fit your studies into your busy schedule, making it accessible for learners of all levels.

Whether you're starting from scratch or aiming to polish your existing skills, these courses provide a structured approach to improving your conversational proficiency. By immersing yourself in conversational English through online platforms, you'll develop the ability to express yourself confidently.

So, if you're eager to enhance your conversational English skills independently, enrolling in an online course is the perfect way to embark on this rewarding journey.

Conclusion

The best way to learn conversational English is to jump right in and have conversations with native speakers. Don’t be ashamed to admit you are a learner. While there may be some people who might hesitate to talk to you, there will also be some people who will loosen up and be eager to be helpful.

When it comes to learning “everyday” English and the correct way to use English slang, having a native language speaking tutor offers several distinct advantages. 

First, conversation practice is a standard part of language learning sessions so you will really learn how to start and maintain a dialogue.

Second, they provide real time corrections. They can tell you if you are using language that is “too formal” and offer alternatives. They can also offer corrections.

Third, they can answer any questions you might have about slang words and phrases. This includes explaining when, where, and with whom you can use certain bits of slang. This will ensure that you don’t accidently insult or offend someone. 

Being able to practice beforehand with someone who can help you understand the nuances of the English language will surely prepare you for having conversations in English wherever you go. Get ready to make new and interesting friends!

Why Is It Important to Have Conversational English Lessons?

If you memorize “important English phrases”, such as you might see in textbooks or travel guides, you can make yourself understood. But if you want to build a relationship with someone, you need to know conversational English. It will help you understand native speakers and It will keep the conversation going

How to Learn Conversational English?

Enroll to an online course about conversational English, Build up your knowledge of English slang, Listen and study English language dialogue, Create (and practice) your own dialogue, Join online conversations

What's the best way to learn conversational English?

The best way to learn conversational English is to jump right in and have conversations with native speakers. Don’t be ashamed to admit you are a learner. While there may be some people who might hesitate to talk to you, there will also be some people who will loosen up and be eager to be helpful.

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