Universal Language Skills!


It couldn’t be as simple as 5 skills, could it? Are these 5 skills all we need in any language to communicate? I know you are saying we communicate in more than 5 ways and with different emotions. 

But I’m talking about language skills or sentence forms that cover all languages across the planet with any emotion you want to add to it.  Following are the skills I can list. Do you have any to add? 

  1. Affirmative Statements
  2. Negative Statements
  3. Questions
  4. Answers
  5. Imperatives

I suspect that the first one is the one most used in the ESL/EFL classroom and in most textbooks that are overflowing with descriptions of people places and things. If your students going with this flow and putting all their effort into making affirmations, then they may be out of balance with the other skills. 

All the skills have a specific word order and they must all be practiced with the correct word order. It is up to the teacher to put matters back into balance by practicing all the skills like juggling 5 different balls.  

Give your students the following quiz and let them choose one of the characters:


  •  TEACHER–PHILOSOPHER: You are good at explaining, describing and asserting your opinions.
  •  DETECTIVE OR NEWS WRITER: You ask lots of questions to get the whole picture.
  •  RESPONSIVE AND COOPERATIVE: you are a precise question answerer, and provide accurate feedback.
  •  DEBATER OR POLITICIAN: You love to take the opposite viewpoint or play the Devil’s advocate so you always contradict others.
  •  EMPEROR OR BIG BOSS: You prefer to sit back and tell everyone else what to do.

Which one are you?

I am the: ____________________________________

No matter what they answered, they need to practice all of these skills sooner or later, and for them sooner is better than later! In fact, they need to practice them until they can use them correctly upside-down and backwards in the dark!

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