Sentence Sharing method in language exchanges

As an introvert and someone with aspbergers that’s also a language learner I have the greatest level of appreciation for those who share the struggle of interpersonal communication with others for the purpose of learning (or augmenting) their linguistic ability. I recently came across this method I am choosing to dub “sentence sharing” and I on the whole rather like it.

The methodology is to find someone who is keen of learning (augmenting) their skills in a language you speak fluently/native level and for you to desire the same.

As the title goes you are literally sharing sentences you know to be correct with a translation into the other language, bonus points for sharing voice recordings to aid in pronunciation skills. All you need is a good resource book and a bit of desire to find out some phrases you’d likely use and your good to go.

As with all methodologies there will likely be pros and cons but I think the pros will outweigh the cons for most introverted types.

Pros

Varied usage of the languages Any sentence you have proficiency in both languages in can be used. This is going to give you a greater outlook then only knowing sentences like “what do you do for a living” and “what’s your favourite colour?

No requirement for real-time interaction or even a conversation. Depending on which method you use you can leave each other voice clips (in both languages) for the other person to practise when they next catch a free minute. It leaves you feeling like you don’t have to stress out over international time zones and can pick up on exchanging with a methodology that’s just a bit more relaxed.

Small talk is unlikely to be found and even if it is found its mostly going to be found in the context of “how to say it” rather than “lets discuss me and you” or the dreaded “tell me about yourself”.

Both languages get equal space If it’s done as its intended to be carried out then both your intended language and theirs get equal screen time and air time (assuming you are voice recording). Many of us have experienced those times where one language dominates the conversation using other methods and even if this swings in your favour it’s not entirely equal.

Cons

This will not be for everyone Some people are inherently social and will be looking for a more social means of conducting person to person language exchanges. This might in some ways lower the numbers of people you will be able to do this with. I’d suggest looking for people who are not overly concerned with being social or those who might be seeking higher level proficiency in your language.

Not everything will be useful to you and other bits won’t be useful straight away. I have given and received some sentences that might turn out to be useful one day but not now. However that’s not a problem as even if you only remember a few words you will be one step closer to understanding the syntax of the sentence. Any level of exposure to a language, particularly when you are practising (with the aid of a native) is a step in the right direction.

I quite like this method and think its a breath of fresh air in comparison to the mainstream way of language exchanging. I love the way you will encounter a greater vocabulary with this method and it even has a non real-time element involved as well which can be very beneficial to many.

If truth be told I didn’t find it, It found me but I’m glad it did.

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

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Dear Introverts, there is middle ground

20160312_180750.jpgAre parties not your thing, along with most socialite type activities. Do you feel like you really don’t want to waste time at that family gathering with uncles you never had anything in common from the get go? Then the answer is…… watch lots of TV and movies and read till your heart’s content, little need for socialization with people who are not your besties. Hmmmmm or is it?

Here is where I belive some of us have been sold down the river by Introvert positive social media pages. In this day and age there is now a lesser spoken of 3rd option that if used to its fullest ability could provide a level of no fuss socialization for those who are open to it as well as trying new activities.

The answer is Meetup and other websites like it. For those looking to get less screen time or looking for some change of scene once a week (although more times are possible) this is the place to be. It will take some level of knowing what it is you like to do activity wise or at least and idea of what you could possibly find yourself enjoying. Being involved in an activity will cut down the levels of small talk, there may still be some element of small talk but this will be a lot less than at a party or other social gathering not centered around an activity.

Here are some reasons as to why you might wish to seek this sort of option.

Outdoorsy or Active introverts most certainly exist and potentially in numbers greater than the social media pages might have us believe. For someone who’s active and introverted the likelihood of staying indoors is unlikely to be their thing as is small talk. This website provides them with activities like walking in the summer and board gaming in the winter.

Social skills mildly improve By partaking in an activity with other people in a “socially safe” manner it keeps our social skills active and we might even learn a new one or two. While many introverts don’t feel they need as many social skills as the socially keen extrovert there are a few key areas of the social world that are useful to all.

 Personal growth Going to activity related meetups provides a way to get out there with the world.TV and even reading is great, but it can be nice to be with the world.

Moving cities or countries Have a plan to move towns, or even live abroad. With these events you will be able to stand a fair chance of making new close contacts (best friends) and having a social sphere in your new city or country. One way to prevent yourself becoming an outsider unnecessarily.

One of your nearest and dearest moves So you had 2-3 best friends that you could share your innermost thoughts with. Then one has to move city or country. Dayum! With such activities you might make some new besties in time and discover a passion for Karaoke while you’re at it. Get In!

Good for weekend pursuits So its Friday and this week you want to try something different then the usual reading or box set. Maybe that pretty cake baking meetup the other side of town is that low-key answer you’ve been looking for.

Not all socializing is the nemesis of the introvert but endless small talk almost unanimously is. This “new dawn” is there for any of us who is willing and curious enough to take it. There is now a halfway house between pretending to be extroverted and staying in all day, it just might take some of the Facebook pages a while to catch on!

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

Alternative Indoor Activities – Board Gaming

Ever wanted a bit more out of life than watching endless amounts of T.V or being glued to Facebook. For those looking to spice up their leisure time with something a little different perhaps board gaming might be a fair alternative.

Practicality If you’re the sort who prepares to “do” even during your free time than board gaming has to be a fair contender. Not everyone is lucky enough to live in a mild or hot climate all year round but its a fantastic option for when the weather is bad.

Meet new people Going to board games meetings as a brilliant way of meeting new people. Many new people turn up to these events periodically and there is always two or three regulars on hand to explain the rules of the games being played.

Get to try many new games and concepts I have so far attended only three meetups but the diversity of games played is something I wouldn’t have imagined. Concepts as simple as card games where you have to play cooperatively to place all the colours in number order to complete board games themed on time travel and competitive play, It does not take too long for you to get exposed to a number of concepts. Three of my favorites are

Dead Men Tell no Tales which is a co-operative game where you are required to take treasures off a burning pirate ship while fighting fires and eliminating deck hands

String Railway, Where you have to grow your railway empire using coloured string and cards. Points are gained and lost over a number of factor of what’s on the card and how the string “tracks” are laid. Competitive play

Forbidden Island, A co-operative play game where the team is required to stop areas of an island sinking before players can attain enough cards to get a treasure. When all treasures are collected all need to be on the helicopter space to leave and win. If the helicopter space is fully submerged (lost) or both the habitats for collecting a treasure then the players lose.

The level of fresh and highly creative ideas is amazing and I’m sure there’s a perfect game out there for everyone. I have barely even started out and I’m sure to see more

Fantastic option for introverts As someone with aspbergers and an introverted personality type* I will always look out for those who struggle socially (for whatever reason) Since there is already and activity present the levels of small talk will be lesser than other settings.

*these are not the same thing

Make friends in the long-term If you are looking for friendships as some of your previous friends have moved out of the area of simply want to have some friends who share in some of your interests it may be possible once you’ve become a regular. By then it’s possible that you’ve bought a copy of your favorite game and the invites might also start coming in at this point for you to get invites to come to theirs to play.

A way to get out even when it’s too cold for the beach Sure it’s far too cold for a picnic in the park or a paddle in the sea, but you can still enjoy all the delights of mother nature while heading to the meetup.

A blast of the past in an unexpected way Many of us played board (and card) games as a child with the family and friends we had at the time. Many of us go through a period of not playing. In due time we find out that many adults enjoy playing board games and not only that but there’s a meetup this week! Sure, the games played are an entirely different animal to the cluedo of days past but the warm feeling of “being round the table” to enjoy a game comes back.

Unplugging Some of us have reasons as to why we would like to limit screen time. If you work in an office for example or have multiple children it might be nice to “get away from all screens” and enjoy something that doesn’t involve them.

For me its only getting started, let the games commence!

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

Music, a great addition to your language journey

20160612_004126Hello Dear Readers

While I initially thought of writing this as something that could complement my Role Plays article I realise this can be of easy benefit to everyone and both introvert and extrovert personality types.

I started learning languages back in October 2014 and have been hooked to some degree ever since. I have gotten quite far in my language journey and listening to music in the languages you are learning is a must for a number of reasons.

The first is it’s a fantastic way to learn and embrace the language outside of materials. The natural way language is presented in music. While I’m not against learner materials (far from it) its nicer to have a way of enjoying the language outside of “grammar drills” and to be able to feel as though “you’re not studying at all”.

I would go so far as to say I personally believe music to somewhat be better than television and movies for learning a language. My rationale is that the melody is enough to keep someone interested even if they don’t understand it all or only understand a small amount.

To listen to music effectively you will need to find a genre you like and find tracks of that genre. The “catchy effect” is good for learning new grammar as since its encapsulated in a song which you love to bits and have probably played on repeat.

The only limitation is the tracks you choose must have vocals and quite a lot of them, it’s also preferable that the vocals are easy to hear. I’d suggest in most cases voices that are electronically synthesised and difficult to interpret are not the best choice.

Singing and dancing to the music you take a liking to is another way to make it a part of you and visit language in a way that “doesn’t feel like learning”. Depending on how much confidence/time/other considerations you have this could make an enjoyable experience even more enjoyable.

With a foreign music you will be able to explore areas of another countries culture, perhaps many countries cultures depending on which langauge it is your learning.

In addition a liking of foreign music could potentially get the listener into taking up a particular dance style or instrument involved with more classical genre’s. If you are a learner who is deeply interested in the cultural aspect as well then this is no doubt something to consider.

While listening to music alone is not a substitute for talking practise, its somewhat possible singing might be at least to some level, since you are producing the language. You can talk to people who speak the language you are learning about your newly found interests in music whether you prefer to sing or not.

You may find new genres that do not exist (or barely exist) in your native language. I have come across at least 3 generes  in Spanish that don’t exist in the English-speaking world (as far as I know). These are Ranchera, Cumbia and Reggaeton and there could even be more? Its fun and refreshing to find something entirely new.

The only time listening to music in a foreign language likely will not help you at all is if you haven’t actually studied the language at all. No amount of listening to ten entire playlists in Italian will help your cause if you have not studied Italian for even an hour. This is something that can only be accessed by those who have done at least some studying.

In conclusion I would suggest music does not fulfil every aspect required to successfully learn a foreign language but it does cover a fair few

I’m grateful as to the music I’ve found and I’m confident that I’ve progressed faster with it then I would have done without it.

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable