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Language exchange and "Langroops"

What is a Language Exchange?

A traditional language exchange is a planned interaction between two native speakers who are learning each other's languages. The interaction can be conducted via several mediums including text messaging, audio messaging, video meetings, and face to face meetings. During a typical meeting, the time will be divided evenly and during each portion, the conversation will be conducted strictly in one of the two languages being learned by the participants. This lets each of the participants practice their target language half the time and help the other person for the other half. A language exchange requires motivation and responsibility as the burden of preparation usually lies on the learner. The participants are not each other's teachers and the exchange works best if used as an opportunity to practice what has been learned through other methods. A successful language exchange is usually part of a language partnership.


What is a language partnership?

A language partnership is a friendship between two language learners who are learning each other's language and facilitate each other's learning process. They will typically ask questions and consult with each other while occasionally meeting virtually or in person. A language partnership often grows out of one or more successful language exchange experiences.


What are the advantages of language exchange?

1) Speaking practice: Out of the four pillars of language (Reading, Writing, Listening, and speaking), Speaking is the hardest to practice alone. One can try speaking to oneself in the mirror, but the results are shaky at best. That is because, except for the technical aspects such as pronunciation and grammar, speaking to people requires confidence and communication skills. And the way to build those skills is by speaking to real people.

2) Learning from a native: Many language speakers do not have access to native-speaking teachers and lack a certain authenticity in their learning. Natives are not necessarily the best teachers, but they provide valuable input on how to sound natural in terms of pronunciation and vocabulary choice. Making friends with natives also exposes you more to the culture behind the language, which is key to successful communication.

3) It's free: As opposed to other methods such as private teachers, courses, and many of the higher quality online resources, language exchange is free. For those who are shorter on money then they are on time, this may be the only viable way to get top-notch assistance with their learning.


What are the challenges in a language exchange?

1) Finding a person to exchange with: There are many websites and services that help language learners find each other. The problem is finding a partner that is right for you. People join language partner services with a variety of motives (not all language learning related). Even those who truly want to learn may not be a match. Differences in goals, personalities, and time schedules can all be dealbreakers in the search for "the one".

2) Keeping it up: Even after finding someone who is willing to meet, most exchanges fizzle away before becoming a full-fledged language partnership. Like in any relationship, commitment and loyalty are critical and hard to maintain.

3) One on one is not for everyone: Some people don't feel comfortable in a one and one setting, and the concept of meeting a stranger via video or in-person can be stressful. This is exacerbated by the potential miscommunication due to language barriers and cultural differences which are at the heart of language exchange. This fear stops many people from getting out there and finding the person with whom they will together raise their language skills to the next level.


The solution: Langroops - Bilingual language learning communities.

Think language exchange, but in a group. Instead of having to search for the perfect partner, you can meet native speakers of your target language as well as other learners in a fun and informative setting either online or in person.

Being part of a community makes it easier to connect with natives because you're not dependent on one person. The stress of holding a conversation with one person disappears and the variety of learner levels helps compensate for language gaps and prevents miscommunication. In addition, interaction with other learners of the same language is a huge advantage. Learners can share tips and experiences, engaging in peer learning, and explaining things in a way natives often cannot.

Also outside of meetings, the community is still there to support each other via posts and chat in the communities "Groop". So what are you waiting for? Join a Langroop now!

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