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Need a language partner?
A language partner is someone who speaks the language that you want to practice and helps you improve by practising with you.
Why do I need a language partner?
You can’t learn all you need from books. With language, you need real-life speaking and listening practice.
A language partner is also the best book/dictionary/listening CD that you will ever find.
They can tell you what words mean, they can explain things, and when they speakyou must listen.
Step 1: finding a language partner
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Well, if you are online why don’t you try websites like
REMEMBER: language partners on the internet normally are learning your language, so you must be able to explain a little bit of your culture too.
In your country, it might be a little bit more difficult to find a language partner
But here we have 2 options
1 – seeing someone in the street
2 – finding places where English speakers might go
Ok so let’s chat about the first one.
When you see someone in the street, the first thing you need to do is start a conversation. This is difficult because many people naturally think this is a trick or that you are trying to steal something or sell them something.
The best way to do this is:
- Pretend that you are lost and that you are asking for directions.
- Be careful, if you don’t talk for a long time about the directions, they will know that you don’t really what directions.
- Only at the end, ask them if you can buy them a coffee sometime (not now) to thank them, and then you give them your contact details (email, mobile number, etc.)
- Also you can add that you would love to practise your English, but you must offer them something too, maybe say that you help them with translations into English, or tell them which food is the best, or something that they can learn about your city.
Remember that you need to learn not to be desperate for a language partner. It is difficult. But there are a few things you can do:
- You must be the person to say sorry because you understand that this is strange.
- Don’t ask for their contact details.
- You must be the person to say “Please excuse me, I need to go. Have a nice day”.
Ok, the second option is finding places where English people go. Please be careful. I’m not talking about bars and clubs. The people here are not always interested in a language exchange. If you know what I mean.
I’m talking about places like gyms, coffee shops, social evenings, conferences and other day meeting places. There are websites that might have group meetings too.
Try www.meetup.com and see if there is a language group in your area. Or perhaps try any groups that are connected to your hobbies (sports, culture, theatre, anything is good)
- Now you have to do the same thing like you did in the street, start a conversation.
- This is easier, they will not feel like you are trying to steal or anything like that.
- Just ask them a question. Anything is ok but maybe something that makes them feel special is a good idea. For example (in a coffee shop) “Excuse me, I was here yesterday and I had a capuchino. I didn’t enjoy it much. Is there anything that you recommend here?”
Something like that is enough.
Now I have a language partner. Now what? They aren’t a teacher.
Language partners are great, if you know how to work with them. Most of them are not teachers so don’t ask them to explain things. Ask them for examples, ask them to check your examples, and also ask them the three filters (click here to read the article).
Language partners can feel silly and dumb when they can’t answer grammar questions.
you must be the person to control the questions.
You must do this with pronunciation too.
You cannot ask them to correct you anytime you say something wrong. They will not do it, they don’t want to be rude. You must listen to yourself and ask them if it is correct or not.
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Here are some questions you can ask:
- Is it common to say this or more uncommon?
- What is the most normal way to say?
- Did I say that correctly?
- Ok, I don’t understand that. Can I use that expression in this type of situation?
- Did I use that word/ expression correctly?
Here are some questions you shouldn’t ask:
- Did I say everything correct? (too general)
- Did I have any mistakes? (too general)
- Ok, I don’t understand that. Can you explain? (They are not teachers, they are practice partners)
If you don’t understand something, don’t ask them to explain. Write it down, go look for it on google, ask a friend, ask a teacher, ask anybody else. Don’t ask them to explain. Just write it down and go to the next topic/ continue the conversation.
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p.s. here are a few great websites