Lesson Transcript


Chigusa: Welcome to a special Inner Circle Audio Lesson! I'm Chigusa and I'll be your host. My co-host today is the founder of InnovativeLanguage.com... Peter Galante!
Peter: Hi everyone! Peter here.
Chigusa: In this Inner Circle, we’re talking about...
Peter: New Topics &Talking Points - The Easiest Way to Increase Your Speaking TIme
Chigusa: And you’ll learn...
Peter: One: Ceilings You’ll Hit When Speaking in Your Target Language
Chigusa: And How to Break through Them
Peter: And Two: How to Apply This Learning Tactic
Chigusa: All so you can master your target language and reach your goals!
Chigusa: Listeners, welcome back to the Inner Circle.
Peter: Last time, you learned how to ramp up your language progress for the 2nd half of the year.
Chigusa: And speaking of progress… Peter, you set a goal for 8 minutes of Hindi conversation.
Peter: Yes, from 6 minutes in June to 8 minutes in July.
Chigusa: So, how’d you do?
Peter: Crushed it. So, sometimes, the stars align, and this time was one of them.
Chigusa: Great! So 8 minutes now… Does it get harder to speak more the higher you go with your goal? I’d imagine that speaking for 2 minutes is easy… but probably a lot harder if you’re at 8 minutes.
Peter: That’s a great question, Chigusa. It can get harder… Much like with any other conversation, you can run out of things to say.
Chigusa: Yeah, I was wondering… if there’s a ceiling you end up hitting. If it gets harder along the way.
Peter: Well, let’s talk about what I did this past month…. And let’s jump into part 1.
Chigusa: Part 1: Ceilings You’ll Hit When Speaking in Your Target Language &How to Break Through Them
Peter: So, the most obvious issue is running out of things to say…
Chigusa: Right
Peter: But another thing that can happen is… you'll get good at some conversations… like talking about yourself, or why you’re learning the language.
Chigusa: … because you tend to have these conversations a lot, right?
Peter: Exactly. That’s another kind of ceiling that you can hit.
Chigusa: How is that a ceiling if you get good at it?
Peter: Well, because that’s all you can talk about. And your language can easily go downhill…
Chigusa: Ah, if you’re hit with a topic you’re not able to talk about.
Peter: For example, Chigusa, when I was a Japanese beginner … I actually focused a lot on something I was kind of familiar with, which was baseball. So, I knew a lot about baseball, just the terms and the players. When I started to speak with someone, we changed the topic to baseball — I was very knowledgeable. So they thought I was already advanced… and when they switched topic… I was lost, Chigusa.
Chigusa: Oh no!
Peter: So, I’ve hit this ceiling in the past. On one side, it feels really great. I was able to talk about something almost fluently and on the other hand... It felt awful because... That’s all I could do.
Chigusa: Yeah, it’s kind of ironic. You can speak Japanese fine with one topic, but you freeze up with another…even though you were doing fine before, right?
Peter: It feels good and frustrating at the same time.
Chigusa: Yeah, so how do you get past this?
Peter: Well, to get past this… if you want to extend your speaking time, there are 2 things. Number one: Learn to talk about new topics… or talking points. Or two: learn to talk more in-depth about what you already know.
Chigusa: Hmm, the second one somehow seems harder than the first.
Peter: It is. The second one comes slowly over time… as you get better with the language. So, if you’re actively learning a language, you’re always kind of working on the second one. But, the short-term easy-thing-to-do is…
Chigusa: …learn to talk about new topics. Is that how you hit your goal this time?
Peter: Exactly. But to give you a bit of background, I noticed that with every language I've learned… there’d be a point where my teacher and I were having these… same conversations every time. And that’s when you kind of know you’ve hit a ceiling, right?
Chigusa: Yeah, it can get tiring if you’re having the same conversation again and again.
Peter: It can even happen in your own language. And it’s unavoidable for language learners because that’s all you can do sometimes…
Chigusa: Because you don’t know how to talk about anything else. I guess the bright side is, it gets frustrating… and that motivates you to get better.
Peter: It really does.
Chigusa: So, did you notice this with Hindi too?
Petr: I did. I guess the classic example, and you can relate this to even your own target language - is talking about your weekend. How’s your weekend? Most of us have a routine. With me, it’s very kid-centric, so we always wound up speaking about my kids' routines which, you know, the first time is interesting, the second time, not as interesting. And by the 10th time, the 10th week that you’re doing these, we already know what’s going to be said, and we’re just kind of going through this routine. And again, it feels good to be able to understand everything and reply in Hindi…with that topic… but…
Chigusa: Yeah, you’re not really improving. So, here is where you’d start adding new talking points with your teacher.
Peter Precisely. And by adding… I mean, our team made these 1-minute conversation cheat sheets… which I used.
Chigusa: Okay, so you cheated!
Peter: In a way, yes. I didn’t have much time this past month to prepare… so the cheat sheets saved me here, Chigusa.
Chigusa: Well, I guess it counts since you hit your goal. But how do these cheat sheets work?
Peter: To think about it, more than cheat sheets, it’s kind of topics to talk about. What these cheat sheets do is… you get a quick sample dialog - just 2 or 3 lines, and you get words that you can plug in into the lines... So you can create your own answer. For example, we talked about the weekend, so I used the weekend cheat sheet. So, you have phrases for weekend activities like… I cleaned, or I went out to eat. Then, I used the very same line on my teacher and asked her what she did over the weekend.
Chigusa: Okay, that’s clever. You can use it to talk about your weekend and ask about theirs… and double up the speaking time.
Peter: Asking questions is such an important part of extending how long you’re speaking. And you know, being a good listener is not only applicable to language learning but your own native language. Most people really can probably use some brushing up on their listening skills. So, thanks to these cheat sheets, I added a bit more time. There’s also the cheat sheet on the places you've been to…. Which naturally came up after talking about the weekend. And the cheat sheet talked about countries you’ve visited, and you can add many different things to extend the conversation because a lot of time, the patterns work not just with if we’re talking about countries but also places inside a country you’ve been to, so locations. So, these cheat sheets can really help extend the amount of time you’re speaking in a target language.
Chigusa: I see. Here’s a question, how quickly do you hit a limit with these new topics? Until you run out of things to say?
Peter: I think it depends on your creativity. They can add up to a minute of conversation time if it’s back and forth. But it also depends. If a topic that you know or if you’re going off of the cheat sheet, then you can really extend it quite a bit. You can take places you’ve been in the world, countries, and then apply it to cities inside of a country. Then to towns. And if you get good at listening, sometimes, your teacher can wind up speaking for quite a bit of time.
Chigusa: That’s true. So, the cheat sheets just point you in a direction and help you get started with a new topic… and speak a bit more.
Peter: Exactly. They’re like a primer for a new topic. And sometimes, even with the people, you meet every day, you’re going to need new topics to talk about. And that’s what I needed to reach the goals. But to get back to what I said earlier, if you want to extend your speaking time, you could… One: Learn to talk about new topics or…
Chigusa: Two: learn to talk more in-depth about what you already know.
Peter: And the 2nd thing is the one that gives you real, meaningful progress, and it’s something I’m actively working on with the HindiPod101 lessons and in-person lessons. But that progress takes time… which this month was a little tough. So, it’s easier to use lines off of a cheat sheet… when you’re kind of a little pressed for time.
Chigusa: Right, but it takes time to get used to new grammar rules and use them in conversations… without a cheat sheet. So, what about our listeners? What can they take away from this?
Peter: Let’s jump into part 2:
Chigusa: Part 2: How to Apply This Learning Tactic
Peter: Listeners, aside from running out of things to say…
Chigusa: One other common issue or ceiling you’ll hit is… you’ll get good at talking about one thing… such as maybe introducing yourself…
Peter: …or why you’re learning the language.
Chigusa: …because you’ve had that conversation so many times…
Peter: But, you’ll struggle if a new topic comes your way.
Chigusa: So, what can you do?
Peter: Well, there are 2 ways of extending your speaking time.
Chigusa: One: Learn to talk about new topics.
Peter: Or Two: learn to talk more in-depth about what you already know.
Peter: And the first one is something you can easily do to branch out into new talking points, speak a bit more… So, that’s where our 1-minute conversation cheat sheets come in.
Chigusa: These cheat sheets serve as a primer for new topics and conversations. You’ll get brief dialogues for topics like… the weather, the weekend, your wellbeing...
Chigusa: You’ll find the links to these 1-minute cheat sheets on the Inner Circle page.
Peter: The second way you can build up your list of talking points is to simply write out topics you like… like your hobbies, sports, or music…
Chigusa: And then search for lessons around these topics inside the Lesson Library.
Peter: You’ll learn conversations that you can then use in real life with native speakers.
Chigusa: You can also check out our Can-Do lessons in the Lesson Library
Peter: And these cover specific topics like introducing yourself, talking about yourself, your family, and more.
Chigusa: But unlike the cheat sheets, with the lessons, you’ll get to hear the native pronunciation, learn how to talk about these topics more in-depth, and practice speaking.
Peter: Again, the goal here is to expose you to new talking points and topics, new conversations…
Chigusa: So that you can use them in real life…
Peter: …so that you’re just not good at talking about one thing in your target language…
Chigusa: …and so you can boost your speaking time by a bit. So, Peter, let’s get back to goals. You’re at 8 minutes now. What’s your goal for August?
Peter: August will be 8 minutes.
Chigusa: Keep the 8 minutes?
Peter: Keep the 8 minutes, and that's because I’m going to another country and I’ll try to speak some Hindi in that country, but it's actually not the language of that country. So I have to pause and pivot to learning a language that I studied in the past… which is Hebrew.
Chigusa: Oh, deadline?
Peter: So, August 31st. We’ll see if I can maintain the 8 minutes while traveling to another country.
Chigusa: Sounds good. And listeners, let us know what your small, measurable monthly goal is… email us at inner dot circle at innovative language dot com, and stay tuned for the next Inner Circle.


Chigusa: Well, that’s going to do it for this special Inner Circle lesson for this month!
Peter: Bye, everyone!
Chigusa: Thank you for listening, and we’ll see you next time.