Source: 52 activities for improving cross-cultural communication / Donna M. Stringer and Patricia A. Cassidy. Intercultural Press; 2009.

A very simple yet powerful exercise for native speakers to understand the struggles of second language learners.

“Tell about the town you grew up in. Start. OH WAIT!!! As you share this information, insert a COLOR every seventh word, using a different color each time. Go!”

It’ll be something like:

“I was born in Edmonton, a YELLOW city known for its huge green BLUE parks and cool arts. It’s where RED city life and nature walk hand PURPLE in hand. Also, it’s famous for ORANGE its vibrant festivals all year round WHITE.”

Try it yourself. Really try 😎 You’ll have to count the words and remember the colors you’ve already used. You can record yourself and then listen to the “captivating” story about your hometown 😉 .

That’s how we (non-native speakers) feel every time we speak!

Think about this the next time a non-native speaker awkwardly tries to find a word they want to communicate!