Beyond Boring Babble: Conversation, Dialog, Discourse, Discussion, Expression, & Furthermore. . .

Competency Puzzle “Listen & Speak with Understanding” Pieces E-10.01 to E-10.14: Use Overall Pronunciation Techniques with (Short, Problem-Solving, Instructional, Narrative, Persuasive, & Other Kinds of) Talk About Just About Anything.   
At advancing levels of linguistic proficiency, most people want to practice and perfect their—and others’—oral English-language skills with subject-matter contexts that are all-encompassing. Their sessions will involve not only listening and speaking but also vocabulary, grammar, and other interpretive plus communicative abilities. Pronunciation or accent that optimizes meaning—including nuances—might come naturally by now
Our previous blog post summarizes the striving involved in achieving satisfying success in Listening & Speaking Skills. Imperfect, Incomplete, & Imprecise Talk on Everything That Involves Speaking: How to Teach / Learn Everyday + Challenging Kinds of Speech in Confusing Times bases its instruction and applications on Parts 1 - 8 of the text Speaking: Oral Language Skills for Real-Life Communication.
The article sums up the steps associated with the most common categories of everyday, persuasive, and academic talk. These are depicted below, before the familiar graphic of 10 major “Puzzle Parts & Pieces A-J for Language Instruction.”  Puzzle Piece “E. Listen & Speak with Understanding” is circled.  
Competency Puzzle “Listen & Speak with Understanding” Pieces E-10.01 to E-10.14: Use Overall Pronunciation Techniques with Every Kind of Talk    
So what else is there for us to offer or for you to download that might be of use in polishing Oral Skills abilities at Advanced / Advancing Levels?
Well, in Accent Activities: Pronunciation Supplement for  Speaking there’s (review of) instruction in the most general features of clear American-English accent. 
Here to click on is an Introduction: Getting Acquainted with Accent (Accent Acquisition Principle: The Step by Step System of American English — plus Part 5 Rising (Jump Up, Step Up or Glide Up) Intonation
The first six pages of the Intro cover Statements and Wh-Questions. Then attached at the end are the first five pages of a section dealing with comparable features in Yes- / No- & Alternative Questions—and in queries seeking repetition / clarification of unclear words. 

 

Want the practice materials that these samples are derived from? Here are links to 12 pages of E-10.01 = Introduction: (Accent Acquisition Principle: The “Step System of American English and the 10 pages of E-10.06 = Part Five: Rising (Jump Up, Step / Glide Up Intonation. Between and after the explanatory pedagogy is cued language useful in “Getting Acquainted with Others” and in checking comprehension of a mini-lecture of “Tips for Effective Listening Comprehension.”
So what about the highest-level Intro + Parts 1 - 8 of Speaking: Oral Language Skills for Real-Life Communicationthe material focused on (getting ready for) eight kinds of everyday practical and academic speech in real-life circumstances? In case you don’t wish to accept delivery of these in one whole-text edition (with or without audio), here are the relevant Parts & Pieces that comprise the text. In between them are links to related Oral-Language Skills Card Decks & Games—along with their corresponding Activity & Idea Books.  
E-10.02a Getting Acquainted Introduction to Speaking: Oral Language Skills for Real-LIfe Communication explains why getting to know your (co-)learners and/or teachers or helpers helps in language-acquisition success. Introductory Oral Practice will have participants engaging in “Chain Interviews” on five topics: Names, Background, Family & Friends, Studies & Work, Recreation Interests. More “Getting-Acquainted Games” follow.  
E-10.03 Part One / Short Talk, Not Small Talk (Open-Ended Questions in Conversation) adds tips like “Ask Interesting Open-Ended Questions,” “Add New Info to Your Responses,” “Be Honest,” and “Don’t Interrupt” to text users’ repertoire. Sample conversations have topics like “Good Conversation?” “Good Listening?” and “The Culture of Conversation.” Oral-Practice One gets participants into “Interview Circles” that optimize use of  “Open-Ended Questions,” a concept that is well utilized in Mini-Speech 1 as well as ideas for “Open-Ended Talk” that follow in the text and in E-10.04a: Activity & Idea Book for Open-Ended Questions for Social Conversation.
Want already-created tangible Question Cards to use in activities like those suggested above? Then download E-10.04b: 72 Open-Ended Question Cards for Social Conversation (about Language Preferences & Life Values). When you print them out one- or two-sided and cut them apart nine-to-a-page, you’ll have plenty of material to add to for character or values exploration—throughout an Oral-Skills Course and forever after.
If you wish, you can click on visuals that correspond to the above links. 
 
E-10.05 Part Two / Problem-Solving Talk (The Language of Situational Advice) comes up early as a type of discourse because it’s so common in our confusingly problematic “new world.” As might be expected, “Sample Conversation 2” is about Asking & Giving Advice on Communication Difficulties. Oral-Practice Two is a “Problems & Solutions Matching Game.” And Mini-Speech 2, of course, has speakers “Presenting a (Personal, Relationship, School, Work) Problematic Situation” that co-learning listeners are invited to solve.                                                                                                           
E-10.07 Part Three / Talking About Anything of Speaking : Oral Language Skills for Real-LIfe Communication is the most “free-wheeling” of the major types of everyday speech because, potentially, it surrounds what anyone or everyone might wish to convey or communicate for most purposes—on just about any subject matter or topic. For Listening practice, Sample Speech 3-A is an “Oral Essay” about “The Wisdom of Proverbs,” enduring wise sayings / aphorisms addressing nearly every aspect of human behavior or attitude through the ages.  Oral-Practice 3-A gives instructions for “Games of Wisdom,” which can be played with matching Beginning Vs. Ending Proverb & Quotation Strips.       
If participants don’t wish to create and produce their own materials, they can access the innovative E-10.09a, a 40-page set of Traditional English-Language Proverbs 1-45 and 46-90. The 40 pages of these 180 color-illustrated Sentence Halves are designed to be printed out double-sided, cut into 9 pieces each, and matched in various activities.  As teachers / learners derive insight from their sayings and quotes, 
Again, here’s another way to access then downloads described above. Just click on these visuals of their first page(s).  
   
Still part of E-10.07 Part Three / Talking About Anything of Speaking: Oral Language Skills for Real-Life Communication is Mini-Speech 3-A, which is an “Oral Essay on Everyday Truths & Observation,” comes Sample Speech 3-B, titled “Complain, Complain, . . . .”  Oral Practice 3-B is a group (Brain-Storming) “Complaint Game” that give participants a chance to “let it all hang out.”  Mini-Speech 3-B is is a paired activity in which partners engage in “Whining Vs. Valuing” on topics related to Everyday Life, Study, Work.              
E-10.10 Part Four / The Language of Conflict Resolution  (Disagreements, Disputes, & Legal Talk) is a little more serious and quite a bit less fun.  After explanation, vocabulary to help speakers (dis)agree, and advice to follow, comes Sample Conversation 4-A, which uses the “Form: Effective Fighting” for the Topic: Communication Styles.” Oral Practice 4-A elicits “Small-Group Discussion” on “Common Subjects of Disagreement” at school or work, in the neighborhood or community, and/or at home. A Phrase Chart on “Discussing a Controversial Issue” provides phrasing for “Beginning a Discussion,” “Presenting the issue,” “Expressing a Feeling or an Opinion,” “Making a Point,” “Agreeing / Acknowledging,” “Disagreeing Constructively,” “Moving Toward Resolution,” and other practical competencies. Mini-Speech 4A has as its goal “Resolving Conflict on Controversial Issues.”                         
The rest of Download E-10.10 concerns itself with (Small-Claims) Court Cases,  Landlord-Tenant Disputes, and American Legal Principles. Participants finish Part Four by taking roles in simulated court encounters.                                         
E-10.10 Part Five / Instructional Speech (Explanation & Process) focuses on a kind of talk that is plentiful not only in educational situations but also at work and in relating to current events. Sample Speech 5-A is particularly enjoyable because it offers help in overcoming “Stage Fright” / “Speech Anxiety.” Oral Practice 5-A and Mini-Speech 5-A has participants sharing their expertise with their listeners on topics related to “Health & Self-Improvement.”                            
Sample Speech 5-B, on the subject of “How to Give a Really Good Speech,” is fun because it begins with a fitting anecdote. As an example in Oral Practice 5-B, everyone learns “How to Make a Paper Airplane.” In Mini-Speech 5-B, each person teaches everyone else “How to Do Something Practical”—on a process he/she cares about at least as much as the sample.                   
E-10.12 Part Six / Narration (True Stories & Fiction) is another fun collection of material designed for enhancement of Oral-Language Skills and abilities. Sample Speeches 6-A are “True Stories: What I Heard in the News & A Real Experience.” For all they’re worth, Oral Practice 6-A applies steps in small-group versions of “The Game of Gossip.” Mini-Speech 6-A gives individuals opportunity for “True-Story Telling.” Finally, Sample Speeches /  Oral Practice / Mini-Speech 6-B get around to techniques and timing of successful joke, anecdote, or other fiction (re-)telling.
At least for us, E-10.13 Part Seven / The Language of Selling (Persuasive Speech) gets “uncomfortable” again. In a disconcerting age of (often hostile) verbal challenge between entrenched, opposing camps, it rarely feels pleasant anymore to try to convince others of anything that’s meaningful. Even so, because many people find themselves pushed into situations that require “selling,” Sample Conversations / Oral Practice / Mini-Speech 7-A call for simulated Job Interviews & Sales Talks. Analogously, Sample Speech 7-B is an “Infomercial” about this Speaking Program. Oral Practice 7-B is a “Sales Competition Game.” And in Mini-Speech 7-A, everybody gets a final chance to sell his/her own products or services—or even best ideas & concepts, those that nearest & dearest to a person’s mind and heart.          
At the end of Speaking: Oral Language Skills for Real-Life Communication comes E-10.14 Part Eight / The Language of Debate (Supporting Opinions with Informational Reasoning). Sample Speech 8 is a “Two-Person Debate” on “Language-Learning Methodologies.” Oral Practice 8 gets participants into “Team Debates” on “Issues in Education.” Lastly, Mini-Speech 8 affords everyone opportunity to expound on any (controversial, current) issue, trying to “bring listeners around” to his/her point of view, reasoning, or values. Subject matter and (sub-)topics are suggested, but the activity lends itself to interaction about anything of interest in our evolving world.
In instruction and activity related to Listening & Speaking, there’s just  one last chance for Parting Links & Gifts that will help language teachers / learners to “Talk About Anything.”  First, here’s a link to E-10.08b, Activity & Idea Book for Talking About Anything: Step-by Step Instructions for Creative, Motivating Oral-Language Skills Activities for Use with 54 Picture –Topic Cards from A to Z.
Activity & Idea Book for a 72-Card Deck of Open-Ended Questions for Social Conversation.
And last, here are the materials themselves: E-10.08a Speaking—54 Picture-Topic Cards from A to Z. They constitute six (6) full-color nine-to-a-page Visuals (with one page of card Backs) to print out, cut apart, and use however possible and enjoyable. Like all other offerings in this article and beyond, they’re dedicated to you and yours in the spirit of language, communication, learning, truth, & well-being.    

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About Work/Life English
For over 35 years, Work/Life English has been dedicated to improving the lives of English language learners. We offer a comprehensive range of fun, effective English language improvement lessons and activities to help adult education ESL educators successfully engage their English language students and improve their English competencies, leading to a host of positive effects in students’ professional and personal lives. Better English, Better Life. For more information, visit www.worklifeenglish.com.

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