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Topics of foreign language

Topics of foreign language

■About language exchange

What is a language exchange?
Why a language exchange?
Does a language exchange cost money?
Where to do a language exchange?
How to find a language exchange partner?
How to do language exchange?
Considering points for language exchange
Language exchange and love

■What is language exchange?

Language exchange is two (or more) people who speak different languages practicing each other's language. For example, an English speaker who is learning Chinese will do a language exchange with a Chinese speaker who is learning English. They help each other to learn / practice languages as partners.
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■Why language exchange?

To learn a foreign language, except reading and writing, your need a lot of time to practice listening and speaking. However, in Australia, in middle schools, high schools, colleges and private language schools, people spend most of their time reading and writing, and dedicate little time to speaking actively.

Moreover, since usually there are many people in a classroom, you cannot practice the foreign language efficiently, and often there is no native speaker other than the teacher (sometimes even the teacher is not a native speaker). In this kind of environment, you have no chance to speak, you will not learn to understand real conversation, or to keep up with real exchanges in daily life.

On the other hand, you can speak and listen a lot in a language exchange because it is basically face-to-face. Your partner will be the best person to help you practice language, because he/she is a native speaker ( or near native).

You can learn some informal expressions and slang from your partner which you cannot learn from textbooks. You can also learn a lot about your exchange partner's culture, customs, and the way of speaking, sense of humor, values, etc. So, in a language exchange, you can speak with a native speaker ( or near native) in relaxed way, and learn much more than in a classroom.

Language exchange is really the best way to learn a living language including slang, informal expressions, modern coinages and current usage, it will bring you from the bookish learning of the classroom into a real conversational world.
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■Does language exchange cost money?

The answer is "no". Just like its name, people will exchange languages with one another and help one another to lean / practice, so it will be a win-win relationship and it shouldn't cost anything. Of course if you do language exchange at a cafe shop or other restaurants it could cost a little. It might be a good idea to treat your partner to a cup of coffee, to show your gratitude.
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■Where to do language exchange?

Generally, in Australia, people use cafes, fast food restaurants or international exchange centers to do language exchange. Some people do visit their partner's house or apartment to learn and teach languages after they know one another very well, but you are better off using a cafe or other public places in the beginning.
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■How to find a language exchange partner?

Some people do meet foreigners in cafes, shops or on the street, and ask them to become language exchange partners when they are familiar with each other, but most people are using the internet or free magazines to find exchange partners.

If you really want to find a partner, you should post your own message and introduce yourself actively, rather than just responding to other people's messages. Maybe some of you are shy or scared about submitting a message, but, actually there is no need to submit your real name or personal infomation. If you really want to improve your language skill, why not give it a try and submit a message? Maybe, an excellent partner is looking for you too.
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■How to do language exchange?

When you find a partner, you can just start the language exchange quickly without thinking about it much. The only thing you should remember is "fare and equal", divide the time 50/50, so both you and your partner can practice. (e.g. : 1 hour speaking English, another 1 hour speaking Chinese). You could just have free conversation or use textbooks according to your purpose.
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■Points to consider for language exchange

●consider your language skill
For example, if you are just a newbie at Chinese, it would be better if your partner's English is above intermediate.

●consider your partner's language skill
If your partner's Chinese is just at the level of beginning、it will be very hard to teach him/her.

●the ideal language exchange partner ship
The ideal partner ship is, when both partners are of a farely advanced level, and want to improve their fluency. If this is the case, there is no doubt that both of you will enjoy your conversation.

●don't stick to "Native Speakers"
In Australia, too many people try to find "native speakers" as a language exchange partner, but there are not so many native speakers in Australia. Actually, you can also learn a lot from "non-native speakers". For example, some Europeans can speak multiple languages and maybe better teachers than native speakers, and you can become familiar with various accents. For example, if you get used to an Indian English accent, your English will certainly benefit. Of course, if you want to know the culture of a specific country, a native speaker of that country will be best.
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■language exchange and love

In Australia, people often say "the best way to learn a language is making a boy or girl friend who is a native speaker of that language". Noone doubts that this is effective. Often language exchange partners fall in love.

We often hear "At first, we were just language exchange partners, but the longer we continued the exchange, the more we came to love one another...」. It's understandable considering about the language exchange itself:

1. The partners meet regularly.

2. Because they practice language based on conversation, they talk a lot about one another, so they come to know one another very well → and to understand each other profoundly → like each other

3. They often go out together → become good friends  → fall into love・・・

When they exchange in one anothers hone, it's usually just 2 people, so it's easy to be intimate. Isn't it a wonderful and romantic story to become a couple from exchange partners?

If you don't want to attract unwanted attention, you should do it in the opposite fashion.

1. meet your language partner regularly, but do not exceed a predetermined limit.

2. avoid personal topics (e.g. about love)

3. do nothing rather than learn and teach languages.

4. avoid meeting in places without other people around → use cafes or international exchange centers for language exchange.

Please be careful when you look for a exchange partner via the internet. When you meet your language partner for the 1st time, choose a timne during the day and a place with a lot of people. Please be aware that not only people who want to learn Chinese will contact you when you put your profile on the net.(Especially for females!)

Some men may say that they are looking for a language exchange partner, but are really looking for a girl friend. So you should be especially careful the first time your meet your new partner!

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