Saturday, October 27, 2007

"Small Talks" and ESL Learners

One of the most common errors I hear my adult ESL students make is referring to small talk as "small talks," with an "s". Small talk never takes an "s" at the end. It's already a plural (compound) noun.

This is probably the easiest thing that I can offer my ESL students about small talk. I can also offer some basic topics for small talk (weather, traffic, food, sports, etc.). For more advanced ESL learners, the topic can get a little more complicated.

After English language learners master the simple small talk topics, they often want to go beyond the basics. I feel that this is often where cultural differences and even political correctness can come into play.

Thanks to my previous lengthy work and life experiences, helping students to maneuver the topic of small talk through these more complex pathways is one of the things that I feel I'm able to offer my students.


1 comment:

A Knutson said...

Hi Debra,
I just found your blog and I really like it. I'm currently getting my MA in English / TESL and was browsing the internet for information. Just one small thing: I would argue that "small talk" is a non-count compound noun, not a plural compound noun. This is interesting because the noun "talk" can be plural or singular. Ah, the wonders of English grammar.
I hope you keep up the good work!