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Cassandra
Conversation Topics
Let's discuss ideas of what to do for iTalki lessons and to practice speaking and learning languages.

Until now, I've mostly been relaxed and just conversing without a goal topic or area. I am not immersed in the target language (Finnish) so I think I should start focusing on interactions that would occur if I were immersed. Here is a list I started of conversation ideas which include exercises from Finnish for Foreigners 1. I'm also interested in matching grammar practice with conversation topics. I'm focusing on beginner because I'm advanced Beginner (A2?) striving for a solid Intermediate (B1).


Ways to approach
  • Role play a script from a textbook 
  • Role play using facts from a textbook situation or story
  • Brainstorm things you would say; Have native speaker brainstorm what they would say (to get more native phrases or topics).
  • Find movie scenes that do these things and imitate those


Beginner Level Speaking missions
  1. Conversation in a restaurant about the food (minkälaista) OR conversation at a home cooked meal about the food (Grammar: Partitive; Vocab: Food Adjectives, Food)
  2. Conversation in a restaurant about the environment, service, and prices (Grammar: Partitive; Vocab: Adjectives)
  3. What is a typical day like for you? What do you do, eat, etc.? Could alternatively describe a holiday. (Grammar: verb conjugation, direct objects; Vocab: Verbs, Expressions of time)
  4. Talk about your hometown or favorite or least favorite city and what it is like, such as weather or things to do. (Grammar: Partitive, Inessive; Vocab: Places and things, Thing Adjectives, Weather)
  5. Talk about yourself including personality and how you are the same or different from your family. (Grammar: Comparative, Elative; Vocab: Personality Adjectives)
  6. Welcoming guests to your home and complimenting/thanking the host at a dinner party or other event
  7. Telling someone how to help clean up or set up for or after dinner
  8. Describing what you did during a vacation/weekend, what the weather was like, and ask what someone else did. (Grammar: verb conjugation, direct objects; Vocab: Weather, Verbs, Expressions of time)
  9. Discuss items on a menu to order (Grammar: Partitive, Comparative, question forms; Vocab: Preferences, Food Adjectives, Food)
  10. Order at a sandwich or deli counter and respond to terms like mitä muuta? Ja sitten? Saako olla muuta? (Grammar: partitive, question forms; Vocab: requests, food, numbers, measurements)
  11. Talk to a vendor in a farmer's market. Use adjectives like fresh, old, big, small. The vendor should: praise the merchandise, comment on the weather, say there is good fish in the market but no meat and suggest a different market for meat. Use words like saanko, haluan, haluaisin, otan, antakaa minulle... (Grammar: partitive, question forms; Vocab: food + price adjectives, requests, food, quantities)
  12. Trade recipes. Tell someone how to cook something. Learn how to cook something new. (Grammar: imperative, partitive; Vocab: cooking, utensils, quantities)


Interesting references
500 Grammar Based Conversation Questions By Larry Pitts has discussion ideas focused on particular grammar points.


May 4, 2020 12:48 AM
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Comments · 1
I forgot to mention that it would also be cool to get ideas for things that are great practice and also fun and interesting. Looking for any suggestions to make some of these more structured conversations fun. For example, trading recipes is kind of fun but not usual. Describing what it's like in a city interesting and is something tutors and students usually discuss when starting out. Roleplaying discussion of food at a restaurant could be less fun unless the tutor and student enjoy improv.
May 4, 2020
Cassandra
Language Skills
English, Finnish, Spanish
Learning Language
Finnish, Spanish