Blog 012. (English version)
how are you doing?
The topic about pronunciations has been successively included in the last three “Eigo-jiru” blog posts,
so, let’s work on something else this time for a change…
This time, I am going to share a few tips of advice which could be useful to keep in mind during the everyday conversation.
(Regarding the pronunciations,
it is best to focus on one sound and take some time rather than working on several sounds at the same time.
Once you start wondering if the sound you are currently working on to improve is included in each word you use during the daily conversation,
and when this “wondering” has become a habit, it is time to move on to the next sound, I personally think…)
Adding the other person’s name in the right spot with moderate frequency during the conversation
There are often situations where we meet a bunch of new people at the same time, but it is almost impossible to remember every single person’s name, is it?
I am not good at memorising people’s name generally, and to be honest, you can get away with the situation without remembering their names most of the times.
However, when I sense a favourable vibe from the person out of the bunch, or if I feel like knowing about a particular person, I try to ask the person’s name again.
(Well, having said that, I tend to set invisible barriers around myself these days because I have got something I really want to concentrate on… slightly inconsistent with what I am going to write about here… w)
Anyway, if you want to get closer to the other person,
adding his or her name in the right place with moderate frequency during the conversation
is one of the very effective methods.
Let’s say your name is “Murakami”, and the other person talks to you.
Which way will give you a favourable impression between…?
If the person just says…
“Isn’t it dangerous?”
“I agree with you!”
and if he or she says…
“Isn’t it dangerous, Murakami-san?”
“I agree with you, Murakami-san!”
“Thank you, Murakami-san!”
The latter, isn’t it?
They sound more personalised.
This is a very simple thing to do, but I presume we Japanese are spilt into two groups between the one that put this into practice and the one that does not (even when we talk in Japanese).
On the contrary, this seems like just a natural thing to do in Western (and some other) countries.
Besides the frequency of including the other person’s name in a sentence is much higher than how it happens when we talk in Japanese.
For example, it goes like…
“How are you doing, Joe?”
“Hi, Maria. I’m alright, thanks!”
“By the way Joe, you didn’t turn off the light in the kitchen last night, did you?
“Oh, I’m sorry Maria. I totally forgot…”
As you get close to each other, this frequency could go even higher!?
Contrariwise, you might feel a kind of awkwardness if the one is not mentioning the other person’s name during the conversation, despite you know each other well.
The reason why there is such a difference about mentioning the other person’s name during the conversation between in Japan and in Western countries
while you can casually call each other’s name without adding his or her title irrespective of age in Western countries,
there is this tradition of calling the person, whoever is older than you, with adding the title “san” to his or her name (equivalent of “Mr” or “Mrs”) as a sign of respect in Japan (whatever the situation is…)
So, from now on, let’s try to include the other person’s name wherever you find a good spot, and I am sure this will make things lots easier for you!
Always add “please?” and make it as a habit!
When you ask someone for a favour, instead of wondering where to put the word “please” with the head full of grammatical viewpoint,
just put the word simply at the end of the sentence and keep it this way until it finally becomes a habit.
It’s more rhythmical!
I once met someone who had said that the word “please” have an implication of ‘begging” especially when it is translated into Japanese, (well, it really depends on the situation, I guess…), but anyway it shouldn’t be taken that heavily.
“Could you buy some milk on your way back home, please?”
“Will you call me, please?”
“Turn it off, please?”
Just add it at the end of the sentence like the tail of some animals…
Don’t even try to translate the word into Japanese!
As I mentioned earlier, make it as a habit because it makes things easier.
You will feel good, and the person who have heard the word will feel good, too!
(And in terms of a flow of the sentence, adding the word “please” at the end of the line will keep its balance!)
And also when it comes to the situations like…
somebody is offering something for you, and you are OK with it,
rather than just replying with one word “Yes!”,
keep it as a set like
and again, make it as a “habit”!!!
How are you? is not just asking how you are?
Hello. How are you?
We all must have learnt a few ways of responding to this back in the school days such as…
“I’m fine, thank you.”
“I’m not too bad.”
“… and you?”
Nothing is wrong with these.
The other person is asking you how you are feeling, and you tell him or her if you are well or sick or whatever…
However, if you close at this point, nothing will follow.
This is actually a crucial point where the conversation starts…
How you take the thing from here will determine how the relationship between you and the other person blossoms in the future!
If you keep sticking to the same old textbook way like…
“I’m fine thank you, and you?”
“I’m fine thank you, and you?”
… 10th time and again!
“I’m fine thank you, and you?
Then, the other person might start doubting if you are AI or…
…and eventually, you will be hearing only “Hi” from his or her mouth…
So, next time, skip “I’m fine, thank you”- type of response, and
try to start telling your story…
“Do you know what happened on my way home, last night? I was just bra bra bra… ”
or see if you can find something to comment on the person…
“Hey, look at the socks you are wearing, today! They are fluorescent, aren’t they? Making my eyes blind, man! … Bra bra bra…”
You can directly start talking like this instead of responding with your usual procedure.
If the person you are talking to is the one you want to get closer, this could be a turning point for you….
However, if you are not a swift responder (like me), you can start with a safe topic like
(a typical subject here in England) for the time being, and meanwhile, try to think about your next move.
…And finally, (this is probably the easiest way) you can ask before you get asked.
Just say “How are you doing?” or “What’s up?”, etc. followed by “Hi, (name)” or “Hello, (name)” with no gap, and let the other person speak first.
(And then, all you have to do is just listen and go with the flow. Most of the people actually want to have their stories listened!)
Anyway, this is it, and thanks for reading till the end.
These little things could help you bringing your English conversation to the next level, so good luck!