Have you ever faked a phone call to escape an awkward or unpleasant situation? I have at least once in my life and as rude as it is, this strange technique has its place in language learning. If you remember our Imaginary Friend Technique from WAYYYY back then, then you’ll enjoy this technique as it combines similar features while introducing some cool new ones you can use in your journey.
The Fake Phone Call
So, the first part of this technique involves a cell phone. Yes, you need an actual phone. Not a blackboard eraser, or a wallet, or anything else that resembles a phone, a phone. The reason you need a phone is so that you blend into the background more easily.
Think about it, almost everybody uses a phone out in the open and nobody thinks anything of it. If you pulled out your cell phone in the middle of a busy subway or while walking down the street you’ll be just like every other average Joe. But here’s the thing, we WANT to be an average Joe.
What About My Language Learning?
Don’t worry I was getting to that part. So once you acquire an actual cellphone, your next job will be to receive a call, but not just any call. This call, in particular, is going to be from your imaginary friend on an imaginary line about an imaginary topic. For added effect set an alarm on your phone for certain times to further emphasize the ringing effect. You can always just leave it on silent or vibrate, but that’s no fun.
Yeah, in fact, go ahead and set alarms. A lot of them, maybe even space them out every 2 hours or you can be like me who is extremely bored and lonely and set them up like this:
I’m lonely… 😢
Alright so you’re on the line with your imaginary friend, act NORMAL. I repeat act NORMAL. You’ve built up all the momentum for this one moment in time, the last thing you want to do is kill the vibe by being socially awkward. Just say what you would say during a normal phone call.
“Hey, What’s Up”
“Hello. Who do I have the pleasure of speaking with?”
“Hey, Where are you?”
There are a ton of these opening phrases you can come up with. There might even be special slang in your target language for phone calls you can use. Experiment and play around with these taglines until you find the one that doesn’t make it seem like you’re faking a call.
The Actual Conversation
This is where you need to be careful, one slip up and you can end up seeming like you’ve got a few loose screws. You’ve already faked an alarm on your phone to talk to someone who isn’t even real, the last thing you want is for someone to pick up on your plan and expose you for the phony you are.
So what do I do?
You fake it till ya make it. Think of the first thing that comes to mind. Imagine you left your imaginary friend home all day and you know nothing is in the house to eat, just what do you think he/she/it is calling you about? This is your chance to practice your money, food, and time vocabulary words. Tell your friend how you’ll be home at 6:00 pm and how you’ll go together to that famous Italian Restaurant that just opened up on your block. Tell them how you’ll treat them to al dente pasta, gelato, and garlic bread.
Of course, none of it is true, but other people around you won’t know that because you’re on your phone. Not only that, but you are talking about a relatively simple topic that won’t draw too many eyes your way. This is just one topic you can muster up in your head, there are countless other scenarios the phone call could follow. Just think back on all the times your parents called you. Or maybe you left your child in the schoolyard after dark and gave them a phone to call you in case of emergencies (by the way don’t do that, bad parenting…seriously).
Each time one of your alarms goes off run a different scenario with your imaginary friend over the phone. The main difference between this technique and The Imaginary Friend Technique is the use of the phone to mitigate the feeling of insanity. So, if you want to practice in public without being mocked, just pick up the phone when it “rings”, and engage in a healthy, imaginary conversation.
The Advantages Of This Language Learning Technique
If you must know why this technique is so great I’ll tell you, but it’s fairly simple. The advantages of this technique lie within its immense potential to spontaneously practice your target language. At a restaurant? At a train? In a business seminar (maybe not this one)? Just do it, pull out your phone and get blabbering. Speaking of blabbering, be sure to check out our Blabbering Technique article as it closely relates to the method behind this technique.
- Practice your speaking on the fly
- Get accustomed to speaking in public
- Keep in touch with your imaginary friend
- Easy to practice multiple topics in your target language
Let’s Go Over This Again
Alright! Now that you’ve learned this cool new language learning technique it’s time to do a little recap.
What You Need:
What You Need To Do:
Set alarms on your phone and fake a conversation
Do talk about a wide variety of topics
Do act natural
Do pretend as if you’re talking to a real life person
Don’t stutter or hesitate to say words
Don’t sound like something not of this earth.
All of that seems simple enough, right? GOOD! Now get your phones out, walk outside and remember act NORMAL. Find more information and strategies about this technique in our worksheet below!