Full Curriculum Advanced Conversation Skills Disguised Thoughts (Using Nonliteral Language)

Disguised Thoughts (Using Nonliteral Language)

Non-literal language involves figures of speech, such as idioms, similes, and metaphors. We call these Disguised Thoughts and teach students to look for the hidden or disguised meaning. Learners gain a new level of comfort decoding non-literal language given ample practice and exposure to common figures of speech.

Sample Video:

Disguised Thoughts

SOCIAL SKILLS IN ACTION (SSIA) – Disguised Thoughts teaches students how to uncover the figurative or non-literal language they hear in everyday conversations. This lesson models how to find the true meaning, whether they hear sarcasm, figures of speech, or indirect language.

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Transcript:

Narrator: When we have a conversation, we should pay attention to the other person’s message. If the words they use don’t match their message or don’t seem to make sense, they may be using a disguised thought. Disguised thoughts are when someone’s words have more than one meaning. They might be using humor, sarcasm, or a figure of speech. 

 

The skills we need to uncover the disguised thoughts and reveal their true meaning are: (1) Compare the words to the situation. Who is talking? What is the topic? Where are you? (2) Check for humor or sarcasm. Is anyone laughing? Does the speaker have a smile on their face? Is their tone of voice different? (3) Check for hidden intentions or a hidden message. Does the speaker want something from you? Are they using a phrase that you never heard before? Could their words have more than one meaning? 

 

Let’s see what it looks like when Serena doesn’t uncover the disguised thoughts.

 

Serena: So, what do you have going on this weekend?

 

Leah: I’m so excited because my cousins are coming to spend the weekend with us.

 

Serena: Oh, that’s cool. Where are they coming from?

 

Leah: New York. And it’s my birthday on Saturday, so we’re all going to the city to go to my favorite restaurant. I have so much to look forward to. I’m on cloud nine!

 

Serena: Where is cloud nine?

 

Leah: Oh, it just means that I’m really happy.

 

Serena: Oh… Okay. 

 

Narrator: What happened there? Serena didn’t realize that Leah was using disguised thoughts. Let’s see how this made everyone feel.

 

Serena: (internal thought) I didn’t really get what Leah was saying. We were talking about her cousins coming from New York and… then she said she was on cloud nine. I still don’t really understand what she meant.

 

Leah: (internal thought) Serena didn’t seem to get what I was saying. That was awkward. 

 

Narrator: Leah was using disguised thoughts when she said, “I’m on cloud nine,” but Serena didn’t stop to figure out what she meant. This made Leah feel awkward because the conversation broke down. Serena should have stopped to think about Leah’s words, the situation, and the hidden message. Let’s see what happens when Serena figures out the disguised thoughts.

 

Serena: So, what do you have going on this weekend?

 

Leah: I’m so excited because my cousins are coming to spend the weekend with us.

 

Serena: Oh, that’s cool. Where are they coming from?

 

Leah: New York. And it’s my birthday on Saturday, so we’re all going to the city to go to my favorite restaurant. I have so much to look forward to. I’m on cloud nine!

 

Serena: (inner thought) Hmm… I’m not sure what Leah means. Maybe she’s using a disguised thought. I don’t know what cloud nine is, but she also said she had a lot to look forward to. So, it probably means she’s happy.

 

Serena: (out loud) That sounds really fun! I hope you have a great birthday weekend!

 

Leah: Thanks!

 

Narrator: Let’s break down what Leah was saying and how Serena figured out what she really meant. Leah said, “It’s also my birthday on Saturday. We’re all going into the city to my favorite restaurant. I have so much to look forward to. I’m on cloud nine!” Serena didn’t understand what cloud nine meant. This is the disguised thought.

 

She listened to the other words that Leah was saying. Leah said, “I have so much to look forward to.” This is a clue that Serena used to understand her message. Serena also thought about the situation and how someone would feel. Most people are excited about their birthday.

 

Serena also looked at Leah’s facial expression and listened to her tone of voice. Leah looked and sounded really happy. When she put all of these clues together, she was able to reveal Leah’s true message and figure out what the disguised thoughts meant. 

 

So, what did we learn? When a message doesn’t match the words someone is saying and we get confused, we need to uncover the disguised thoughts. The skills we use to do this are: (1) Compare the words to the situation. Who is talking? What is the topic? Where are you? (2) Check for humor or sarcasm. Is anyone laughing? Does the speaker have a smile on their face? Is their tone of voice different? (3) Check for hidden intentions or a hidden message. Does the speaker want something from you? Are they using a phrase or saying something that you’ve never heard before? 

 

When you’re talking to people, make sure to listen for disguised thoughts!

 

Companion Worksheet:

Every video comes with a companion worksheet for students to review what they just learned. This helps assess comprehension and promote generalization by reinforcing the concepts covered in the video.

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