Repeat the same conversation, over and over again

As I post this blog, I have been in Brazil for the past two weeks with another group of UT MBA students.  It also so happens that the Libertadores Cup is also going on in South America.  My two favorite Brazilian soccer teams have played each other in the tournament (Corinthians from São Paulo and Vasco from Rio de Janeiro).  Corinthians won and will now play Santos (another São Paulo team) in the semi-finals, most likely to take on Boca Junior from Argentina later on.

When it comes to language practice, I often find myself having the same conversation, over and over again, simply repeating the same topic with new people.  It’s one of my strategies to gain fluency and to practice vocabulary.  My usual strategy is to start the conversation, notice new words, topics, opinions, and insights from the person that I am talking to.  Then, I bring up those same items with another person, using all that I learned from the first conversation.  Little by little I get better at adding more to the conversation.

This past week I have talked to dozens of people about the libertadores cup.  When I started I didn’t really know much about the structure of the tournament, the teams involved, the players involved, who is favored, who is injured, or the issues going on.   Granted, I love “futebol” and I enjoy talking to Brazilians about their national passion.  However, the linguistic point here is that every time I engage in the conversation, I am reinforcing foreign language skills, including vocabulary, pronunciation, fluency, and grammar.  Nobody has to know that I’ve had the same basic conversation with a dozen people.  Last night was my last night in São Paulo and I had a 30-minute taxi ride to the airport.  The whole time we talked about the tournament.  If I do say so myself, I held my own, that taxi driver was the recipient of all of my previous conversations!

PS  The photo was taken at the construction site of the new Corinthians stadium in São Paulo, where the opening game of the world cup will be played in 2014.



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