Getting The Most From Your Language Exchange

exchangeAre you using online language exchanges to practice speaking in your target language? If so, are you taking full advantage of this amazing learning tool? In this post, I’ve got some advice for getting the most out of your online language exchange. I’ll also compare and contrast a language exchange with an online tutoring session to help you decide which is right for you.
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I Have All the Language Toys! – Now What?

     If you’re like me, you are probably super excited about learning a language. You probably also enjoy what I call “The resource round-up”. What is the “resource round-up”? It’s that exciting stage right BEFORE you dive into learning a new language when you scrounge for resources to help propel your learning to new heights. I’ll talk about how to do a proper round-up in a future post.

     For now, let’s assume you are all “resourced up” and ready to explode! I’ll paint the picture. You’ve got a dozen free language websites in your favorites with all the vocabulary lists, grammar points, common phrases, native audio, and encouragement you could ever possibly want. You’ve gone on an Amazon.com shopping spree and now you have 6 or 8 or 20 new books including multiple courses, vocabulary books, dictionaries, verb guides, and who knows what else because you really haven’t looked them over that well yet. Maybe you’ve downloaded some podcasts, audio courses, or even some simple audiobooks. Maybe your bookshelf looks something like one of mine:

my shelf     Maybe it looks like a less (or even more) extreme version of mine.  Basically, we are assuming that you are 100% totally geared and psyched up to drive your shelf into Language World and kick some major butt.  You’ve got the firepower.  You’ve got the attitude and the confidence.  You’ve got the desire.  What’s stopping you?

     Oh yeah…  What do I do now?  I always run into this too.  Honestly, it doesn’t get much easier the more languages you know.  I’ve never started two languages the exact same way.  No two languages are the same, why should the methods be?

You may be saying “Great advice Sherlock, what am I supposed to do now?”  Well, bear with me for a little while longer and I will have you ready to move on from “Resource Round-up” to “Language Launch” in a matter of minutes. Read More

A Tale of Two Learners – Colloquialisms and Their Place in Language Learning

I have two friends (impressive, right?) who both “speak French”.  Interestingly enough, these two friends struggle mightily to communicate with each other on even a basic level in French.  Obviously one or both of them don’t REALLY speak French, right?  Wrong.  They both are at fairly advanced levels of French and both would be considered “conversationally fluent by my definition (and by most other French speakers).  So, what’s the deal?  How is it that they can barely communicate even basic concepts to each other in French?  Let’s examine each in more detail: Read More

Speaking From Day WHEN? The Eternal Debate.

The Eternal Debate.This is a topic that really gets language learners riled up.  I mean REALLY riled up.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many flamewars I’ve seen on various language forums start up over this exact topic.  Normally the language learning community is a very tolerant and level-headed bunch, but typically that tends to change when this topic is discussed.  Therefore, I shall tread very lightly and preface this all with the following disclosure:

 

“The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author, Bill Price and do not necessarily reflect the views of everyone in the language learning community(hereby referred to as “the Community”.  The information set forth herein has not been proven or disproven by any scientific methods.  The author does not make any representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the information’s applicability to all individuals .  Individual opinions may vary.”

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