Most adults have a vocabulary of around 60,000 words, meaning that children must learn 10 to 20 words a day between the ages of eight months and 18 years. And yet the most frequent 100 words account for 60% of all conversations. The most common 4000 words account for 98% of conversation.
Conversation should be like juggling; up go the balls and plates, up and over, in and out, good solid objects that glitter in the footlights and fall with a bang if you miss them.
It was the kind of conversation you could only hold in whispers.
How often have I noticed or, indeed, listened to him? We talk, but do I actually listen, or is our conversation mainly a question of my waiting for him to stop and for it to be my turn to say something? For how many of us is that what conversation means – the setting up of our lines?
Whenever I saw her, I felt like I had been living in another country, doing moderately well in another language, and then she showed up speaking English and suddenly I could speak with all the complexity and nuance that I hadn’t realized was gone. With Lucy I was a native speaker.
Friendship is an obstetric art; it draws out our richest and deepest resources; it unfolds the wings of our dreams and hidden indeterminate thoughts; it serves as a check on our judgements, tries out our new ideas, keeps up our ardor, and inflames our enthusiasm.
We don’t talk, we hold forth. We don’t converse, we expound.
The cheapest route to a new opportunity is conversation.
The head of Goldwater’s California operation “what was so uncomfortable around people that he worked up a routine to deal with employees with whom he was forced to share an elevator: “Taken your vacation yet?” he would ask when they entered; answer took just long enough to deliver him to his fourth-floor office.
Brock sighed. “Alright then, Spunky. I was thinking about life, I guess.