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Language Exchanges

By: Joanne Walker BA (hons) - Updated: 6 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Language Exchanges Partner Speak Words

Language exchanges help your foreign language to improve at a faster rate. They are especially useful if you do not have much chance to travel to the place where the language you are learning is spoken and if you do not have anyone with whom to converse on a regular basis. Language exchanges have been made easier, simpler, quicker and cheaper by the advent of the Internet. Before, a language exchange partner was little more than a pen pal. But now, with Internet and email, you can pop to your language exchange to find answers to questions you have, such as word order, vocabulary or grammar.

The Internet

The Internet is a wonderful place for language learners and in no way is this more true than through language exchanges. There are multitudes of websites now set up where you can register for a language exchange. Once you have registered and set up in the language that you are learning, you will be matched with someone else with whom to chat. This can take the form of emails, instant messenger or even Skype Internet calls if you have the facility. While pen pals will just write back and forth, often in one language, with a language exchange, you write in the language you are learning and your partner in your language. Then you can correct the other’s mistakes before seeing your own mistakes and learning how to correct them.

Some Internet based language exchanges take the form of chatrooms, and in some cases, you may speak English half of the time and the language you are learning half of the time. Whichever way you choose to conduct your language exchanges, you can be sure that it will help your skills infinitely better than a textbook would.

More In Depth Language Exchanges

More in depth language exchanges take the form of actual exchanges – much like those schoolchildren go on. You visit the home and workplace of your partner and become completely immersed in their language. Then, months later you return the favour and they come to stay with you. This way, not only will you both gain a greater understating of the language but a greater understanding of the culture and the way the language works in practice.

Many organised language exchanges use prescribed methods to teach rather than just letting their members go it alone. This can be useful in order to make sure both members of the exchange are picking up the right skills and that mistakes are not going uncorrected.

Language exchanges are an excellent way of learning a language. They are more effective than sitting in your class and listening to a teacher because you have the chance to have real conversation with a native speaker. But it is less scary than flying off to the country where the language is spoken and living there – and less extreme. Not only that, but because both partners are there to learn, the mistakes will be corrected – whereas in the country where people are going about their daily lives you may not be understood or corrected.

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