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When You Can’t Remember a Word During a Conversation in a New Language

You have reached a point in your language studies where you feel like you can hold a conversation, so you venture out to find a native speaker? You find the perfect language partner and start conversing. Your conversation is going great, and then you experience that dreaded moment in language learning when you can’t remember a work through the silence, check out these tips.

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In today’s world, finding the word you want to use can be as easy as looking it in up an online dictionary. You could also use a translator such as Google Translate. However, a dictionary is a better option. Looking up one word in the translator will likely not present you with the word you are looking for which will complicate your current situation even further by adding confusion to the awkward silence that is engulfing you and your language partner. Single word entries do not give translators the context they need to translate correctly. A language dictionary will be your best bet to quickly find an elusive word. 

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Talk around it

Maybe your internet is not working, or you are in a foreign country without phone service during the moment that you need to know a fleeting word. You are faced with a more difficult task. You will now have to continue the conversation without an instant answer to your word problem. You will need to use what is called circumlocution. When you use circumlocution to communicate, you will talk around the word you are trying to describe. You will be kind of giving a definition of the word you want to use, and hopefully your language partner will either get what you are trying to say or will give you the word you are looking for.

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Use visuals

You know that game charades? Where people guess what you are trying to say while you are acting it out? When trying to express an unknown word or phrase, you can do the same thing. Act it out. Draw a picture. Use hand gestures. Point at the object. This will be a bit harder with more ethereal concepts but will work when describing more concrete ideas. Likely you will only be discussing everyday type things as a beginner anyway, so this method will work wonders for your language gaps.

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