Probably two of the first words you will learn in your new second language are the equivalents of “yes” and “no”. These are essential words for communicating in any tongue and among those which you will use most often. However, after a while you will realise that you need to know more words than this in order to answer questions.
Expressing Degrees of Doubt
If English is your first language then the subtle differences between the likes of “probably”, “possibly” and “maybe” will come to you naturally. When you are learning a foreign tongue it could be a lot more difficult to pin down the exact meanings, especially considering that native speakers probably understand the differences on the same intuitive level that you do in English. It is important that you spend some time working out the different words which express a degree of doubt or uncertainty and understand the differences. Once you do this you will feel a lot more confident giving out answers and you will also have a lot more variety in your vocabulary. The good news is that this shouldn’t be too long a list of new words to learn.
Asking for More Information
When you first learn a new language it can be hard to get more information in order to give an informed answer. The first step is to understand how you would ask for more information instead of giving a direct answer. This should be pretty simple to do with most languages. After this, things get a bit more complicated, as you will need to be able to understand a range of possible answers. This means increasingly your vocabulary to a good degree. Maybe you could start off by looking at the most typical ways of answering questions and then build up your knowledge from there.
Explaining Your Answer
One of the strange things about learning a new language is that you will probably sounds quite brusque to native speakers at first. If you just answer with the equivalent of “yes” and “no” all the time then this could make you sound rather blunt. To counter this issue you should look to learn ways of explaining and lengthening your answer. This will make you feel a lot better when you answer questions and can explain why you are saying one thing or the other. This is all about learning new words and learning to put together different sentences but it is definitely something you should try as soon as possible.
If you want to be able to answer questions in a fluent and smart way then it is time to get practising and learning. You will be delighted to see how you progress as you learn to say more than just “yes” and “no”.