Traditionally, it has been assumed that four special skills are necessary for the communication: listening and reading comprehension as well as written and oral expression. But today, people realize more and more that there is a fifth skill which plays a role. It has transpired that the comprehension and the expression do not happen separated from each other, but they form together a combination, when we are communicating or rather interacting. As for the comprehension, for example, it is in many cases just important to understand a certain number of elements of a statement, whereas in a conversation, all that has to run much more quickly. We have to think more quickly about what has been said and what will still be said, and then we have to react.
So you need a lot of skills, which, as indicated above, are connected with the skills of the comprehension and of the expression. As far as the oral interaction is concerned, everything runs even much more quickly than in the written interaction because the aspect of the „immediacy“ strengthens the situation in the face-to-face conversation. As far as the written interaction is concerned, – for example in an online chat – these factors play also a role, but in another way; the situation is „more relaxed“ because, in contrast to the oral interaction, the steps of conversation are not always respected. Conversation with the help of the new media is more linear and an overlap of the messages is not possible. You cannot all talk at once.
As far as the Spanish language and especially the oral conversation is concerned, it is important to know a number of elements which are not verbal and which can appear during conversation. Fundamental are cultural characteristics like gestures, the right way to deal with the silence, the physical distance as well as the shares of the conversation. Also in the written conversation do these cultural elements appear. In every culture, there are characteristic written formulas and expressions, for example in correspondence. Even in the formal language register of the same language, there can appear differences in greetings and farewells. This concerns especially Spain and Latin-America and their courtesy formulas. The Latin-Americans often use expressions which seem „too formal“ to the Spaniard.
We say that the main objective of language acquisition is the use of the foreign language in concrete situations and we mean with that in many cases the use of the interaction. The latter is important, if you want to order something in a restaurant, to buy something in a shop as well as to give and ask for information. That are example situations in which you need this skill. If the pupil observes all the aspects mentioned, he should be able to have more effective conversations in Spanish. – So that the conversation between you, me, us and others still works better!