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How and what to talk about with Americans: personal experience

Often, even knowing a foreign language well, there are awkward pauses when communicating with a foreigner. They are mainly related to the fact that we do not know what to talk about with a person from another country. Especially for such cases, the author blog "Elena in America" ​​on Yandex.Zen talked about what Americans like to talk about and how to make the conversation pleasant and friendly. Further - from the first person.

Photo: Shutterstock

1. Americans love to say:

  • about places of origin: don't be surprised when asked where you are from. Pay them back with the same coin - ask where they come from. Continuing the topic, say or ask something, for example, “Oh, you're from Chicago! We were there a couple of years ago. Awesome city! ”
  • About work: who do you work, where do you work, how long do you work there
  • about sport (especially about American football, baseball, basketball and hockey) - I recommend that you know at least the names of local teams
  • about weather - will help out in any situation.

I do not advise talking about race, religion and, more recently, politics.

2. Keep your face relaxed or at least half-smiling. Otherwise, they will think that something bad has happened to you, and they will pester you with the question: "Are you ok?"

3. The overwhelming majority speaks only English - this is enough for traveling around the country and abroad.

4. Some Americans, especially the elderly, may have difficulty understanding a strong accent.

5. They love to shake hands with everyone. In a more informal setting, they love hugs. Kissing on the cheek (or touching the cheek to the cheek) is not very common.

6. While talking, look them in the eye - you have nothing to hide.

On the subject: American - funny, Russian - unfriendly: how foreigners perceive accents of English

7. In an informal situation, they address by name, in a more formal one sometimes too (for example, sometimes they call me to the doctor's office by my name: Ilena, Elina, Elena - for which there is enough imagination); in a formal setting, you can hear "mister + surname" or "miss + surname".

8. In friendly communication, abbreviations, phrasal verbs, slang and idioms are often used - be sure to learn spoken English.

9. Do not be shy about possible mistakes and accent - Americans are usually very polite and patient with foreigners.

10. What questions can you expect: Where are you from? What are you doing in America and how long will you be here? How do you like in the USA? Where is your family? and others.

Original column published on the blog. "Elena in America" ​​on Yandex.Zen.

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