Home Dialogical warm-up Dialogic attitude Preparatory orientation
Dialogical moment Creating an overall view

Method 5: Catching hot words (Recognising key utterances)

(Recognising key utterances, Creating a dialogical moment III, dialogue scene 37, in English 21.)

The goal of this method is to learn to recognise key utterances, or so-called hot words in another person's speech. The objective is to understand how recognising key utterances helps you to discover various new approaches to the dialogue.

Remember to consciously observe whether your actions and behaviour follow the principles of philanthropy and reciprocity!


  • the participants are introduced to the method and the example below is used to demonstrate how key utterances are recognised
  • the participants pair up; however, they should not work with the same partners they worked with during the previous tasks
  • each pair is given a dialogue theme that is important from the perspective of the learning goal (in this context, for example, “how could we achieve a better understanding of each other's thinking?”)
  • the participants talk about the theme, taking short turns and staying on each other's speech
  • each participant tries to recognise the key utterances, or hot words or phrases, in their partner's speech
  • the way we understand or interpret what the other person says and our knowledge of the theme they are talking about influences our recognition of key utterances or hot words
  • each participant tells their partner which key utterances or hot words they found in their speech
  • a key utterance is crucial for understanding another person's thinking and for the development of that thinking
  • the pairs talk about the key utterances; why certain expressions were interpreted as key utterances
  • the dialogue lasts for about 7 minutes

Reflection in the learning community: The whole group jointly reflects upon their experiences of the method and thinking that it caused. One useful question for this reflection is ”What did you become aware of during this task?” Another, more demanding question is ”What did you learn from this task?” A third question could be “What surprised you about this task?” A fourth question could be “What did you understand through this task?” The purpose of the reflection is that several participants, not only some, share their thinking and experiences. When the reflection part is completed, every participant has gained an understanding of how to recognise key utterances which enables them to continue practising in real life situations.

Example / starting situation for practising the method

The theme of the dialogue is “How could we achieve a better understanding of each other's thinking?”

Participant 1: The first thing that comes to mind is caring, that is, being genuinely interested in other people.

Participant 2: Being genuinely interested is, I think, the gist of what you said. We ought to be interested in others, not just in ourselves and what we think.

Participant 1: You said that “we ought to be interested in others, not just ourselves”. Sometimes it really is worth it to try to, so to speak, set ourselves aside for a moment.

Participant 2: The expression “to set oneself aside” includes many issues that we need to talk about. Otherwise we won't know what we mean.

Participant 1: You mentioned “many issues” that are sometimes part of setting ourselves aside. One of those issues is, for example, that we are patient enough to concentrate on listening to others. Another such issue is staying for a moment in what the other person said.

Participant 2: ”Concentrating on listening” is new – for me, at least. Often when I'm supposed to be listening, I keep thinking and doing other things.

The dialogue continues in this manner.