Question: What’s your blood type?
If you’re from Japan, there’s a very good chance you know the answer to that question. You’ve probably even asked people what their blood type is.
I still have no idea what mine is.
If you’re Japanese, blood type is a pretty normal chit-chat topic. There’s a whole culture connected to blood type.
If you’re Type A you’re calm, introverted and overcautious. If you’re Type B, you’re creative, passionate and irresponsible. Type ABs are organised and empathic, but Type Os are as outgoing as they are ruthless.
Now, watch this video:
The point is…
For a conversation like this to go well, you need to be aware of these differences in culture and background knowledge. Just chatting to a Brit about blood type like you would a Japanese person won’t work. They have totally different background knowledge.
You need three things to speak a language well. You need the language itself, background knowledge, and knowledge of culture. And this is no different to small talk and casual chit-chat.
Want to master the big art of small talk? Well, on the 27th of this month, I’ll be doing Small Talk Superhero. We’ll dive deep into the topic of small-talk, what it is, why it’s so important (and tricky as a second language speaker) and how to do it yourself in English so that your conversations are fun and playful, not boring, awkward and potentially creepy like my friend.
The Language Punk
P.S. At the time of writing, there are 9 places left for STS – claim yours here.
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