Being a goodcomunicator in a second language

This morning i was immersed (via Skype) in a conversation (in English) with a friend from Qatar.He asked my opinion about how large his vocabulary should be in order to become a good communicator in English. My answer was that I truly believe that you can not become a good communicator by just being a better speaker of the language. I told him that if he were not a good communicator in his native language there would be a very few chances for him to be a good communicator in a second language. Being a good communicator requires more skills than just either being a good orator or having a large vocabulary.

Well, it is just my opinion. He totally disagreed with my point of view.

I would like to hear more opinions about this.


I agree with you Humberto, many things go into being a good communicator, not the least of which is being a good listener. A big vocabulary is very important , and having a good vocabulary in your own language is often a precondition for acquiring a good vocabulary in another language. So on both counts it is hard to do in a new language what you cannot do in your own language.

I would agree with you Humberto. A large vocabulary might be great when you are reading texts but it doesn’t necessarily mean you can communicate well with another person or a group.

I think Steve is right, being a good listener is even more important when you are listening to a second language, I find. If I listen closely, and there is a word I do not know, it is easier for me to understand it from the context or pick up that I don’t understand it and ask about it.

Just spouting off words, or even using “clever” or obscure vocabulary words in a second language doesn’t necessarily mean you are communicating well.