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Hey, I just started working for a new Parisian based start up that offers a video chatting service for language learners. It's kind of a language tandem exchange thing! It offers theme cards and topics to facilitate talking with people and a quick and easy way to speak a foreign language fast! It is called SpeakShake ! www.speakshake.com We just launched the site and really excited to see what people think of it.
Since my husband and I volunteer, one of the things we are asked to do is help teach those who are not able to read to do so. This is a challenge since I am teaching a language that is not my native tongue in a culture that is rich in dialectal accents. Do you have any advice for how to teach someone their own written language especially when it is not your native tongue? One of the things I have been doing that seems to help is I am using an audio language guide to give me one set way to say the alphabet. This might sound easy enough but we have found even within the country due to the strong French influence, there are a variety of different ways people here pronounce the abc's. This makes it hard to know which way to teach it. For example, if a Spanish speaking person from Spain were to try and teach a Spanish speaking person from Bolivia, they might teach certain letters a different way. I was told once by a person years ago when I attempted to speak Spanish with them (having learned in Central America), 'I understand you but you speak with a South American accent.' (This has also happened to me recently when attempted to speak French. The group laughed and said, 'You are speaking French but it is like a Malagasy.' So here I am beset with fear that I am going to teach my new student 8 yr old Clara how to read Malagasy like an American! There is no one else who has the patience or time though to do it and I am very happy to take on the task because she is precious and most eager. But if anyone has any good tips I would be forever grateful!