Language Exchange: From Beginner to Confident Speaker
A language exchange is a surefire way to go from a beginner to more of a multilingual speaker in a matter of weeks, but is often overlooked.
Why start a language exchange?
Nowadays, learning languages is becoming extremely popular – the world is more globalized each passing day and so many are looking to break free from the shackles of monolingualism. What people don’t know is that being multilingual is a great way of increasing your employability for free. Knowing another language can give you the edge on your competition, which is especially important when more and more companies are choosing to open offices in other countries to take advantage of new markets.
To do so, they naturally need to employ customer service staff, who speak the native language of that country in order communicate with their clients. The internet has brought us many different methods for language learners to learn a new language of their choice. Although these methods do really help you to improve your linguistic skills, such as learning new vocabulary, grammar rules and so on, they do not give you a true idea of what it is like to speak with a native, as it is not authentic. While often being the best method of becoming more fluent – doing a language exchange is an option often overlooked by many.
Consistency and motivation
Learning languages through online tools such as Apps, like Mondly for example, can give you a great base in your quest to master your target language. In language learning, consistency and passion are the two key ingredients - if it is not practiced regularly enough then it is impossible to truly master it. A language exchange, whether this be face to face or online, can give you the added motivation on a consistent basis to really go that extra mile.
Practice makes perfect
Conversing with a native speaker on a regular basis helps form a better knowledge of accents, as well as slang, which are things that simply can’t be taught from a textbook. It is scientifically proven that saying things out loud can help you to better remember things, so speaking your target language on a regular basis can only come as a help.
It’s free and convenient
For many language learners, they simply don’t have a lot of money to spare on buying textbooks, paying for language lessons and downloading apps. It is also a timely process, and between work and the thousands of other things to do in life, language learning is not so easy. Therefore, finding a language exchange partner is a free and convenient method.
Find a good partner
There may be times when your motivation is lacking – you’re only human! This is why choosing a like-minded, dedicated language exchange partner is key. Maybe this means holding auditions (not literally of course) but you can meet with several partners and decide which one you have the most chemistry.
Both people are aiming for the same objective, to be fluent in their target language. A good one can also give you great tips to find resources, correct your grammar, and even improve your accent, especially if they are a native speaker. Who knows – you might become bffs.
Remember: make sure you have similar levels of your target languages; if not, one will inevitably dominate the other and someone will end up not learning much.
Another problem for some is that language learning can often be a long, boring process. For many, including myself, learning a language in a classroom is an incredibly boring and ineffective process. It is neither natural nor fun. This can especially be the case if you are limited by the progress of your fellow students.
It is therefore often difficult to maintain motivation and you don’t take in as much as you should. Conversing with another wannabe multilingual can be a much more exciting, less-stressful process, where you can really let-loose more so than you can in a group setting. For some, speaking their target language is difficult especially if they are shy and do not want to make mistakes. Having a good partner can improve your confidence as neither of you speak both languages perfectly, and so can take risks and experiment with different words and phrases.
Another plus is that you can talk about the things that generally interest you, such as sports, movies, stamp collecting – whatever you please.
So, how to find one…
One of the best ways to find a language exchange in your local area is through Facebook Groups, which are full of like-minded language learners. You can also google search for ‘language exchange’ and add your city if you prefer to learn face-to-face. Finally, there’s a great deal of apps on the App Store, such as Tandem and HelloTalk where you can find a partner without having to leave your house.
Participating in a language exchange can be a great experience, and your best chance to really improve your language speaking skills in particular. So, why not find your partner now? You can see blogs on how to test your language skills here.
Jan 11, 2018 by Dan
Language are the best thing in the world. It conect us with others and new cultures
posted 7 months ago by Diana
Very helpful blog!
posted 2 years ago by Evelina
posted 2 years ago by Bill
Very clever idea!
posted 2 years ago by JULIAN
Practicing, practicing, practicing...! There is no better way to learn a foreign language.
posted 2 years ago by Krzysztof
Great article, very useful, especially now that im trying to learn Dutch.
posted 2 years ago by Ana
Nice blog, very informative. A language exchange is key in language learning!
posted 2 years ago by Saifullobek
Interesting article that offers good tips to improve our oral production. Multilingualism and Intercultural communication are the key to a more open, tolerant and modern society. Thank you.
posted 2 years ago by Mario
posted 2 years ago by Maksym
Languages need to be used constantly and help also to understand the different cultures and mentalities, which is an important part to be successful in business.
posted 2 years ago by Angela
There is an increasing amount of pressure on individuals and countries to learn English as a second language. But who does it the best?