#18 Language learning – Season 1 Episode 3 – Helpful language partners and where to find them

In this episode we will talk about language partners.

“So, you decided to take on this new language challenge? Well, good for you! In this episode you will learn everything about “language partners”.

No matter if you are trying to climb the mount Everest, participate in the 24h of Le Mans or do a project at work. Alone, the challenge is pretty hard, but in a team, you will face the difficulties with confidence, because together you are strong!

“Why should you have a language partner?”

You should have a languag partner/ partners, because of the following reasons:

  • They are native speakers
  • They will teach you the real language, not the one from the books
  • They can provide you with cultural norms and standards
  • They will tell you what you are doing wrong
  • They will motivate you to keep on going
  • You will help them, they will help you! The feeling of helping someone is quite nice!
  • You can ask questions
  • You can discuss a lot of different topics
  • You can chat, speak, skype with them
  • You learn to get used to think in the language
  • A team is always better than being alone
  • You will lose the being afraid part of speaking to someone in this new language
  • and so on

“Where do I find a language partner?”

You will find them online. There are a lot of different websites. I personally use conversation exchange. It is very similar to old social media style platforms, where you create your account, tick the languages you want to learn and the ones you already speak, write something about yourself, your interests and so on and that is it.

https://www.conversationexchange.com/

“But how do I find the right language partner for me?”

Well, that is a tricky one! Having an experience of over three years with this kind of interaction I can tell you the following. No matter how good you think someone suits you or not, time will tell the truth. You cannot just know if someone fits you or not. In my experience, the more different those people are to your lifestyle, the better.

“And how is it working? How often do I need to interact with them?”

This depends on you guys! With some people, you can chat daily via apps like WhatsApp, with others you just write here and there a little bit. With some, you can have a conversation at the phone quite often, with others not really. Oh, and of course you will experience the same phenomena, that gym’s are living for. Some people are really motivated at the beginning, but then, they lose motivation in the third or fourth week and you will never ever hear from the again.

“How are you doing this?”

I have a hand full of people, with which I regularly interact. With some, it is just writing, with others it is a combination of writing and speaking. For me personally, there is so much more than just a language exchange. You will have a regular contact to people from all over the world. This will open up your mind and gives you a whole new perspective on this small planet.

“Lessons learned – The do’s and don’ts.

  1. Schedule your next conversation! One of the biggest problems is the lack of time. Therefore, you should make a regular meeting, let’s say once a week. Or schedule the next conversation on the phone, while speaking to the other person. Either way, this will help you both to keep on doing this.
  2. Don’t expect too much! This is a language exchange on a voluntary basis. Therefore, nobody can expect anything. Nobody needs to work for you! This is a give and take situation, not more and not less.
  3. The language level needs to fit! If you are a bloody beginner in your language and the other already a pro in the other one, you are natively speaking, this will not end up in a fifty fifty kind of balance. You will tend to speak your native language, because it is just easier in the conversation and in the end, it doesn’t give you anything and only the other person is improving. The result: you lose motivation! If the other person is a beginner like you, the communication will be difficult. You will not understand a lot. The result is: You lose motivation! Therefore, you should look for people from different levels. Find one on your level for working together on the actual act of learning, find others from higher levels for doing the fine adjustments.
  4. Don’t forget to have fun!!! This is supposed to be fun! I repeat! THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN!!! So please, enjoy it! Make some friends while learning a new language!
  5. If your partner doesn’t want to speak the language they are learning, you should support them and encourage them to speak it. In the end, you both need to like the situation for having a future with this learning method.
  6. The most important ones! Mistakes are allowed! And will not be judged, made fun of, or whatever! If you are working in an environment, where doing mistakes is accepted, you will be able to learn efficiently through going over your limit. Please! Be careful to not hurt the other person with comments on their mistakes, even though you didn’t do it on purpose!

“When is the best time to start this? Should I already have the basics or not?”

Well, that is a tricky one again. On the one hand, you can just start at zero. This will work. But on the other side, you can do the basics on your own as well. If you feel more confident, with already going into those conversations with a few month of training, than do this, for all the others, just jump into the cold water!

I hope this will help you to take the next step today!

See you next time!

On the next episode:

Season 1 Episode 4 – Perspective is everything, the right mindset for acquiring a language.

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