So far, the extent of my conversational skills in Korean were “Hello. My name is …” I might have been able to manage “Nice to meet you. I am an American. I am from Massachusetts.” I never dared ask questions. Whatever people asked me, I was unable to comprehend let alone formulate a reply quickly enough to answer.
Steve from LingQ suggested that what you need to do in conversations is anticipate what the other person is going to say. Like studying for a test, you can then prepare for what might be asked.
Picturing tourists with their phrasebook? It might sound silly to have a set of canned phrases at the ready, but it gives you the building blocks to start to speak.
In the KoreanDigitalAcademy (KDA) class #3, we covered a simple conversation. It started with a question, to which you could answer yes or no, and then had a follow up question. Ah ha! Preparing not only answers, but being able to ask questions and follow up questions, and it starts to look like a conversation.
Because I am a programmer, I immediately visualized this as a flowchart.
This was a real revelation to me. I swear, in 4 years of high school Spanish, I never tried this. Now after just 3 hours of instruction, I am speaking in simple conversation with fellow students.
Now I want to run around collecting questions, simple replies, and follow-up questions. It seems like this is the next step in language maturity, being able to move from a collection of nouns I know from dictionary look ups to actual back and forth interaction.
Now all I need is someone to talk to! Look out language exchange partner, here I come.
“Ask me about the weather”.