Having a conversation is like playing a game of tennis. When two people play, theyhitting the ball . If you don't return the ball, you can't enjoy the game!
a conversation. If you listen without , people think you not . If you don't give people feedback, they usually stop talking.
Every language has a specialto give this feedback. In Japanese, these conversational responses are called aizuchi. They include words and phrases such as hai, naruhodo and wakarimashita. These play an important role in communication and building .
When giving feedback, listeners have four important tasks: to show that they're listening, tothat they understand, to express and to provide .
Let's start with the basics. In informal conversations, the most common expressions to show that you're listening are "Yeah," "Uh-huh" and "I see." These are used when the speakerexplaining something or .
If a bus driver is explaining how to get to your hotel, listen carefully and keep repeating "Yeah... Uh-huh... I see..." in thehe provides. To confirm that you understand, use expressions like "OK," " " and "I understand."
Like other languages, English uses special phrases to express interest, sympathy and surprise. One way to express interest is tousing the verb "do." If your friend says, "I went to Kyoto last week," a good response is "Did you!" or "You did?"
If someone tells you something surprising, use phrases such as "Really?" "Wow!" or "Unbelievable!" If your classmate reports, "I saw Lady Gaga at Haneda Airport!" just reply "Really? That's amazing!"
English has different ways to express sympathy for happy and sad. If someone tells you they're sick, just say "That's too bad!" If they , say "I'm sorry to hear that."
If yoursays, "I got a job!" you can reply "That's great!" If he says, "I'm getting married!" just say "Congratulations!"
If you practice these responses, you'll find that your conversations improve and that people enjoy talking to you. Most of these expressions can be learned from books. Another way is to watch movies to see how native speakers use them.
When practicing, it's important to use an interested, proper and body language. It's no good responding to your partner if you talk in a , sound like a robot or look like a !
When I study a foreign language, I always begin by learning these conversational responses. I'm proud of the fact that I can use aizuchi expressions in French, Arabic, Russian and Chinese — even if I can't always understand what the other person is saying!
The Japan Times ST: April 14, 2017