Sunday, December 10, 2006

How to Do A Language Exchange

Yesterday, I posted about my first Mixxer language exchange.

Omniglot recently mentioned another language exchange site, which has an interesting page on how to do a language exchange. The site also has lesson plans, which include good ideas for things to talk about.

Do you have experience with Skype language exchanges? I would be interested to get tips and pointers on how to get started. How often do you meet? Do you follow a structured format? How many people do you meet with? What do you talk about?


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Peter said...

Based on your helpful recommendations, Scott, I've just signed up with Mixxer. We'll see how it goes, but I'm not too optimistic because there aren't many Thais offering exchange.

While you are taking the conversational approach, I am using the word drill approach. So far that is working very well, 776 words and short phrases in my vocabulary database, and testing a consistent 95+% listening comprehension.

The problem with an exchange in this approach, is it takes a lot of drill. And if there is anything Thai people don't enjoy it is monotonous drill. For them, conversation would be a lot more fun.

So, I think better off to find another Westerner who wants to exchange vocabulary drill. Not easy to find, though.

-- Peter
-- Bankgok

Scott Imig said...

Hi, Peter,

Sounds like the approach is working for you! I'll look forward to hearing more about your progress in the future.

I don't treat conversation as a way to improve my skill in Thai. For that, I rely almost entirely on listening. But conversation is a really fun way to build confidence and check progress.

Victor said...


I just thought I'd suggest another language exchange site. It's still very rough, but you can find partners on there.

Most of the users are Chinese right now, but it's starting to get a few other languages.

I've done language exchanges in person. I've found that it's really hard if your level is really beginner. Once you're at an intermediate level, that's when I think language exchange is the most useful. At that point you can actually process the extra words you haven't heard before.

When you're a beginner, I think the major benefit is really just getting your ears tuned to the sounds and the general style of speaking. I'd say the biggest factor behind a successful language exchange at that point is really the patience of your partner!


Scott Imig said...

Thanks, Victor! I joined Italki.

I agree. It's best to have at least an intermediate level to do a voice language exchange.

Anonymous said...

I just joined as well. Noticed that most of the people are Chinese but there are more and more folks from other countries joining as well.

Anonymous said...

Dear,I would rather recommend you another penpals site,,it is 100%free

Anonymous said...

I just registered on language exchange site. I’m trying to learn Chinese, so I found tons of Chinese language exchange partners quickly on it. You can also find students if you’re looking to be a tutor. There’s a lot of features on the site, makes it easy to search, also got a classifieds section for expats. It's pretty easy to start chatting and get people's contact info. Right now it's mainly Chinese speakers on the site, seems like everybody in China wants to learn English!!