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Useful Language around Discussions!

March 1, 2013

In case it’s useful!

Language for Discussions, by michelle (2011)

Who facilitates? – ¿Quién modera? – A facilitator is the person who by a low-profile intervention eases the path for the discussion to reach a good end. A facilitator can: give speaking turns, present the discussion, re-word opinions to clarify points or reduce tension, summarize what has been said to clarify points and/or help the discussion move on…
Do you need a time-keeper? – Necesitáis que alguien controle los tiempos?

  • A heated debate – The other day there was a heated debate in class. Really interesting!
  • A controversial topic – I would like to address this controversial topic because…
  • A biased opinion (prejudiced) – I believe that’s a biased opinion. The generalization is based just on one case!
  • An opinionated person (dogmatic, intolerant, narrow-minded… ?)
  • To try to agree on some point / measure – OK, then, but we’re running out of time and we should try to agree on something now. What should we do, then? Ask people to bring a euro each or try to fundraise in some other way?
  • To reach an agreement – They haven’t been able to reach an agreement yet.
  • To reach a dead end – OK, we’ve reached a dead end. Why don’t we take a break and meet again in half an hour?
  • To reach a consensus – We need to reach a consensus in this, so — you do not share P’s analysis but would you be OK with his/her answer to the problem provided we kept in mind what you say?
  • To exchange views – I love discussions. You learn a lot when you listen to people exchanging views!
  • A position / A stand point – So what’s your point? / standpoint / position?
  • To make a point – I would like to make a point.
  • To hold a discussion – Why don’t we hold a discussion on the pros and cons of social networks?
  • To end a discussion
  • To take a break
  • To move on to the next/following point
  • To go back to a point: Going back to the reasons why we use the Internet, I’d like to mention…
  • To do a recap(itulation)

A Language Function which is common in this kind of event (towards the end) is:

Making a proposal/suggestion…

  • to move on in terms of analysis: OK. Can we move on now (to the next point in our agenda)?
  • to move on in terms of time: We’re running out of time. Could we tackle the issue of who to invite?
  • to ease tensions: OK, there, people. Why don’t we take a break now? We could go out for a nice cup of coffee!
  • to solve the problem discussed: To avoid reaching a standstill, why don’t we try to find small things each of us could do to solve the problem?

Find others. (Review the Communicative Strategies 1 – 3 episodes on the TP Podcast)

More Useful Language (read them aloud! repeat them as many times as you can!)

  • I’ve got mixed feelings about this topic. On the one hand, I feel that… On the other, I can’t understand why…
  • Shall I start? / Go ahead, please. / I’d like to start by saying that …
  • My stand in this topic is: I’m for/against /… What’s your point?
  • That’s interesting. / What interesting insight.
  • I forgot what I was going to say. / Where was I?
  • OK, sorry, I didn’t mean it that way. What I wanted to say was/is…
  • Let me explain this. / Allow me to explain further. / I don’t know how to explain this. Let me think… / Let me try again. It’s complicated. / That’s a tricky question.
  • I’m confused. /I think that is confusing. / I don’t quite understand your point. / I don’t get your point. Can you give an example? / Can you expand further? / Can you develop that?
  • Allow me to clarify. What I actually wanted to say / what I meant was…
  • Hold on (a minute). / Wait a sec(ond). / Please, let me finish / Hold on — Let me say something / Let me reply to that./ Allow me to reply to that, if you will.
  • Can we find some common ground? / Can we agree on that? / We’re running out of time.
  • I cannot possibly agree with that. I’m sorry. / Well, I wish we could. Why don’t we take a break? / How about coming back to this later on?
  • Why is that (so)? / Can you explain that?
  • Please, don’t get upset. It’s just my view. I can’t help it! 😉
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