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

Role Plays, the Amber Nectar of Introvert Language Exchange

20150717_161412.jpgHave you ever been in a situation where you wanted to learn a foreign language and the language exchanges just don’t cut it for you? Are you exhausted from all the endless small talk and introductions that ultimately lead nowhere? Do you also get the feeling”I would like to be challenged, even taken slightly out of my comfort zone? Do you feel that even though you love the languages you are learning you are simply “not an open channel” or are “naturally resistant” to all the small talk?

If the answer is such a profound yes then I might just have stumbled across a workaround for this, a life hack if you will.

I myself am an Introvert and can profoundly answer yes to all of those questions. The question how do I go about solving this problem has been floating around in my mind one way or another for the best part of six months. I’m pleased it has been as the key to Pandora’s box is…..

Role Plays

These are brilliant because like many people on the introvert spectrum I do not enjoy opening up to people I do not know over the internet or endless amounts of small talk. Introverts usually have a naturally reserved quality about them. A role play comes in well as a substitute as you are effectively playing a character for the purpose of learning a language (both yours and theirs) while not actually having to open up to someone you do not know well enough to open up to or want to open up to.

Bonus points for the fact a Role Play has a creative and amateur dramatic element to it.

I remember a time when I had to do one in an unemployement seminar years ago. I quite liked it.

I have tried it recently in a language exchange and I noticed my “resistance to the experience” disappeared. It was slightly annoying that it was only in English with no Spanish at all but the key point is my usual feeling of “resistance to language exchange” was nowhere to be seen.

I’d suggest that should this sound like something you would like to try or do that you state this abjectly and upfront before the exchange. Should you need to have an all or nothing proposition regarding this subject. While this may initially sound harsh I can assure you its not because I’m in the belief that it’s for the betterment that both people should be relatively compatible and neither should feel obliged to language exchange with someone who they are grossly incompatible with. So honesty truly is the best policy all around in this circumstance.

In return the partner can request that you do things a certain way for them. I remember I was asked to explain the workings of the London Underground Oyster card and the Zonal System. This could have been role played but even without a role play element there’s no inner and profound feeling of “resistance” due to the fact that it’s an external subject and is not “small talk”, introductions nor is it asking me to “open up” when I do not feel ready.

I’d also like to state that even though there’s a “serious” and “stay on task” element involved due to the creative and amateur dramatic nature it can be an enjoyable pursuit with relative ease.

The only reasonable limits are your and your partners linguistic understanding. So there’s no point saying you are “one of the lead designers of the Ariane 5 space station” if either you or your language partner simply isn’t at that level. There is no doubt that so long as neither of you go over the top both of you will receive new vocabulary and grammatical understandings in your respective languages.

One thing I have noticed as well is some other language exchangers wish to form a friendship and start meeting people face to face really early on. Should you feel this is too much for you openly say something along the lines of “For the time being I am not looking for friendship or to meet face to face at this stage but may be open to it at a later stage, the language alone is my focus for now”. This means that should you feel a spark with this person you shall be able to pursue it at a later stage should you so wish.

If any of the concepts mentioned here have proved to be a help to anyone (other than myself) then I see this article as nothing less than an outstounding success.

I am a learner of Spanish, Italian and French and one day shall write articles when the time is right for me to do so.

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable (Queen Reasonable)