Friday, January 21, 2011

Disjointed Conversation

The first class I walked into this year was to observe another teacher. The students had been given a writing assignment for homework the class before and one of the major things they were to work on was cohesion.

The reasoning: When you're talking to an American the conversation is fairly linear; You go from one subject to the next to the next. That's not the case when you're talking to Czechs. You'll be talking about one thing and then another and then you're suddenly talking about something that was mentioned 30 minutes ago again. It's all over the place, the teacher explained to me.

Now and then I'll think about this again. It seems like an eternity since that day which was only two weeks ago, but that's not the point.

The point is, I don't think that I have linear conversations. I'm pretty good at cohesive writing — though sometimes it is a bit chaotic — but when it comes to talking, my friends and I can have conversations about four different things at one time and everyone is still on the same page. We're conversation multi-taskers.

If you think about it, this happens a lot when you're chatting with people online. I type really fast. Like ridiculously fast. My family has joked that it sounds as though I'm just moving my fingers across the keyboard the way actors did in movies in the '80s and '90s. I guess I type like I talk. I also used to get teased that my lips would catch on fire with as fast as I talk. (And yet I'm a foreign language teacher, go figure.)

But because I type so quickly, I often get ahead of people quite a lot. I'll ask questions and answer questions and suddenly we're talking about three or four different things. At least on the computer you can scroll back and read your conversation to figure out what the hell is going on. In reality, you have to either keep up or shut up.

So my question is this: Do you (most often) have linear conversations or would you say you're a more of a conversational multi-tasker?


  1. definitely a conversational multi-tasker. especially since my friends and i all tend to be more of the interrupting type, which leads to more subtopics!

    and i fully agree with the typing thing! it also happens a lot with text convos... you always have to go back and reread to figure out what question they're answering. haha.

  2. I think "conversational multi-tasker" is a nice way to put the way I talk. At least on paper, or on the computer screen, I can be linear. Which is good, I tell a lot of stories on my blog. But in real life, I feel that I start half the story in my head and finish the rest out loud. And easily jump all around from one thing to the next. I like to think that it because I am just so über intelligent. Yeah, I'll just stick with that, haha

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I don't think we have linear conversations either. We always come back to something or someone remembers something. I wouldn't say that it's typically American to have linear conversations either. (What about all the people with ADD? =P)

  5. I'm glad I'm not the only one on this. Maybe it's just our generation?


Have any thoughts on this post? Let me hear it!