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Small Talk

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Corridor conversation
Ein Schwätzchen auf dem Gang

How small talk functions

English-speaking people, whether they're from the UK or the USA, generally don't like to stand together in silence. It is quite common to strike up a conversation with a person you don't know especially if that person works in your company! The rule of thumb, just as with any form of small talk, is to keep it light, but that doesn't mean superficial.

It can be personal, as long as the other person doesn't feel that his/her privacy is being invaded. If someone gives off the signal that they really don't want to talk, then it's probably better just to leave it alone! Here are some examples with useful vocabulary to ease your way through what can otherwise seem like a long wait ...

Dialogue 1: at the photocopier

Georgina: Hi Kyle, I won't be much longer now. It's just finishing off the last few copies ... How was your weekend?

Kyle: Oh, great thanks! Some friends came over and we had a barbecue. There's nothing like eating outdoors to work up your appetite, right?

G: Oh yes, absolutely. It just all tastes ... fresher somehow. And the outdoors makes everything taste better, I think.

K: And what did you do at the weekend?

G: We had a really relaxing time. My husband John was off on a training seminar so I had the kids and on Sunday, my parents came over in the afternoon. Yes, we had a barbecue too.

K: So your parents live nearby? That's nice.

G: Yes, they're a big help and they always love seeing our two.

K: You're so lucky. Mine live miles away! But to be honest, they're more interested in enjoying their retirement these days than looking after their grandchildren!

G: Oh, I didn't know you had kids. How old are they?

K: Six and three, a boy and a girl. And yours?

G: Almost the same - five and three. And a boy and a girl too.

K: Well, what a coincidence indeed!

Tip!
Don't be surprised if English speakers ask you outright whether you're married or how many kids you have. The separation between work and private life is not as strict for colleagues in the UK or the US as it usually is in Germany.

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translation "Corridor conversation" (Ausgabe 06/2010)
small talk - useful phrases

Erstellt am: 08.06.2010 11:18, Letzte Änderung: 19.06.2020 12:41

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