Monday, 17 June 2013

English Conversation is separate from English grammar, as mistakes are allowed to be made (and often are in many dialects). The point is to communicate and share, and not merely to receive or give information. There are certain rules about where and when a conversation can be started, how much is to be said, how it should be said, and about which subjects. Having said that, the rules are often ignored, which leads to the possibility of an interesting conversation being conducted in the most unlikely of places, about the most unusual subjects.

The English language is very often taught as a series of sentences that have no connection with each other, which leads students into conversing with no logical connection to the phrases being learned: “I went to Spain last year. I wash my car once a week. Tomorrow I will buy a banana.”

Although these sentences are entirely correct, they make no sense at all when pushed together. What is missing is the basic emotional structure of the different meanings of the phrases being used, which is the fundamental reason a language becomes something more than commands with grunts of agreement. A simple breakdown of English conversation leads to a fact, reason, opinion, background story, agree/disagree, and a question = FROBSAD + Q: “Last November I drove to Spain, because my brother lives there, and I think the weather’s really nice at that time of year, although I made a mistake driving out of Valencia, so what should have taken two hours took six, which I thought of as an adventure, but my partner didn't agree, and said so quite often. Have you had that experience?”

As well as offering a variety of information supplied by the aforementioned FROBSAD + Q list, the speaker is also introducing various situational connections that another person can link to: driving, holidays, foreign countries, family members, being lost, adventures, partners/arguments, and a question that pulls the listener into the conversation by asking for a comment.

There is no strict rule as to which order FROBSAD + Q can be used, but over-using one faction can be repetitive and tedious to the listener: “I drove to Spain last November. My brother lives there. I took the wrong motorway out of Valencia, and it took six hours instead of two. My partner complained a lot. I'm sure you've had the same experience, no?” Using basic facts does not allow another person to react to the comments, as there is no room for inter-action.

Similarly, using opinions has the same effect: “I totally love driving abroad, and Spain is really, really nice in November. My brother has a very big house there, which is nice. The roads are totally horrible out of Valencia, and it took a lifetime to get to his place. I thought it was great, but my partner was being a total pain. It’s life as we know it, isn't it?” The listener is being accosted with opinions that are presented as facts, to which the listener is not encouraged to disagree with.

Noun Verb

accountant counts money
actor acts
advertiser advertises advertisements
aerobics instructor instructs people about aerobics
aeroplane engineer engineers engines for aeroplanes
aeroplane pilot pilots an aeroplane
anaesthetist anaesthetises patients
animator animates cartoons
announcer announces announcements on TV and radio
auditor audits accounts
baggage handler handles baggage
baker bakes in a bakery
banker banks money in a bank
bartender tends a bar (tends = looks after)
boatbuilder build boats
bookseller sells books
brewer brews beer in a brewery
bricklayer lays bricks
builder builds buildings
building surveyor surveys buildings
butcher butchers meat
buyer buys things
career advisor advises people about careers
carer cares for people that can't take care of themselves
caretaker takes care of a building
carpet fitter fits carpets
clock repairer repairs clocks
coach coaches athletes
coastguard guards the coast
composer composes compositions
computer games designer design games for computers
conductor conducts an orchestra, or a bus
dancer dances
debt collector collects debts
delivery van driver drives a delivery van to deliver products
designer designs designs for web pages
director directs a film, or a company
dressmaker makes dresses
driver drives a vehicle
factory inspector inspects factories
farmer farms a farm
firefighter fights fires
fitness trainer trains people to be fit
footballer plays football with a football on a football pitch
gardener gardens/looks after gardens
glass blower blows glass
groom grooms horses
judge judges criminals
lecturer lectures students in a lecture, in a lecture hall
manager manages the management of something
miner mines coal in a coal mine
nurse nurses old people in a nursing home
painter paints paintings
patient patient is patient in a hospital
philosopher philosophises about philosophical questions 
photographer photographs things to make photographs
plasterer plasters walls with plaster
police officer polices people
producer produces a production (play/film/recording)
programmer programmes programmes for computers
quality controller controls the quality in a quality control dept.
referee referees a game
reporter reports a story
roof tiler tiles tiles on a roof (lays tiles)
sailor sails a ship with sails
sculptor sculpts sculptors/statues
shepherd herds sheep
sound recording engineer engineers the sound on a sound recording
supermarket shelf-filler fills shelves in a supermarket
tailor tailors clothes in a tailoring business
teacher teaches other teachers and students
television company televises/broadcasts television programmes
typist types on a typewriter
urban planner plans urban areas
window cleaner cleans windows
writer writes books