Aujourd’hui n’est pas un article comme les autres. Celui-ci est en anglais. Oui oui, en anglais !!
Aller, on sort de sa zone de confort et on s’y met ! Et c’est Leandra King, anglophone native et prof d’anglais en ligne qui nous l’a soigneusement rédigé. A la fin de celui-ci, vous apprendrez d’avantage à son propos, et vous aurez l’opportunité de recevoir gratuitement son e-guide et cours d’email !
Que vous recherchiez des conseils pour partir vivre aux Etats-Unis, ou que vous vous y soyez déjà, il vous faut comprendre le lien entre la culture et la langue pour bien vous intégrer dans la société anglophone. C’est pourquoi Leandra nous parle ici du small talk en anglais, et de son rôle super important dans la vie d’expatrié aux Etats-Unis.
C’est parti ! Lisez-le, c’est l’occasion de tester votre niveau d’anglais !
As French speakers, I’m sure you sometimes find native English speakers odd (étrange). You may think to yourself “ces Américains sont tellement bizarres !”
Usually, the reason for this type of thinking is a difference in culture. That’s why in this article I would like to highlight the link between culture and language and show you the things you can do to easily fit in (bien s’intégrer) and get along well (s’entendre bien) with native English speakers.
If you live in or you have ever traveled* to an English-speaking country, you may have noticed that as native English speakers we tend to strike up (engager) conversations with strangers, which might not be the custom in French-speaking countries.
This type of casual conversation is known as making small talk (parler de la pluie et du beau temps) and doing this is essential if you want to fit in with native English speakers.
First of all, small talk establishes trust (la confiance). Persons are more trusting of you when you make small talk. Secondly, it is a great way to create relationships (nouer des liens) and make friends (se faire des amis). Thirdly, making small talk might lead to deeper, more meaningful conversations (mener à une conversation plus sérieuse).
You might not think it’s really important but I’m here to tell you not to underestimate (sous-estimer) the role small talk plays when you live in an English-speaking country.
I recently interviewed Laura, a native French speaker from the north of France, who lived and worked in England for 7 months. Here’s what she told me about her experience overseas (à l’étranger) in connection with small talk:
I guess I was very good at writing and understanding English but speaking English was still very stressful, especially with natives.
Small talk was one of the biggest challenges in my everyday life. It may sound strange but I could debate with a colleague about cultural aspects but couldn’t be as spontaneous as I wanted to be in small talk conversations in the morning or at the end of the day! Small talk isn’t something you’re taught at school!
Mastering small talk is very useful to fit in. I think it’s one of the first things you have to master if you want to fit in and get on well with the people you meet or work with.
I can really identify with people who say they’ve felt very uncomfortable or embarrassed when they talked with a native and were not as spontaneous as they wanted to be. “Awkward” is the word which immediately comes to mind!
As you can see from Laura’s account (le témoignage de Laura), small talk is an essential part of socializing* with native English speakers (pour fréquenter les anglophones natifs). You might find that if you don’t make small talk, native English speakers might not feel fully comfortable and at ease (à l’aise) around you.
How to socialise and make small talk in English
Starting conversations with native English speakers might be challenging (difficile) for English learners like you. Let’s look at three ways you can easily start conversations in English.
- 1. Use your surroundings (environs)– What is something around you that you can start a conversation about? Maybe you could talk about the weather.
- 2. Give a compliment- To give a compliment, you say something nice to the other person about his/her looks, abilities or clothing.
- 3. Use current events- Talking about the news (les nouvelles), what’s going on locally, can definitely help you fit in but you need to stay abreast (être à l’affût) of what’s going on by watching the news (en regardant les infos) or reading the newspaper (en lisant le journal).
Show interest in the conversation
Often times, non-native English speakers are unaware that they might be doing things which might show that they are not interested in a conversation.
- 1. Show interest by your body language (langage corporel)– You can offend persons or give the wrong impression if you do not have the correct body language.
When conversing with native speakers, make sure to maintain eye contact (regarder qqn dans les yeux) when both you and the other person are speaking. By looking away (en détournant les yeux), you may give the other person the impression that you’re no longer interested in the conversation. On the other hand, if you notice a native English speaker regularly looking away as you speak, it may be a cue (un signal) that he/she’s not interested and would like the conversation to end.
- 2. Show interest by your response- Often times, non-native speakers may not respond to certain statements in a conversation. They may only smile. While smiling helps somewhat (quelque peu), you still need to use short comments also known as conversation fillers to respond and show interest.
End the conversation politely
You might end (mettre fin à) the conversation differently depending on whom you’re speaking to. However, just saying “bye” and taking off (s’en aller) is not a polite way of ending a conversation. You could start to indicate that you would like to wrap up (conclure) the conversation by saying “Oh wow, the time has flown by.”, “Wait, is it 6 already?” or “I have to get going soon.”
What are the main take-aways (leçons à tirer) from this article?
In the article, I used American English spelling and vocabulary. Here are the equivalents in British just in case:
– Traveled (travelled- British)
– Socializing (socialising – British)
– Purse (handbag – British)
Alors, qu’avez-vous tiré comme conclusion de cet article ? Avez-vous tout compris sans avoir eu recours à google translate ?