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Linguaholic
Accredited Online TEFL

What do you think of language sharing?


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Hi everyone!

What do you think of language sharing? Have you ever received language lessons from someone, sharing your knowledge about your mother tongue in return?

I believe this is an extremely effective way of learning new languages! Its a clever way to trade something you already know for something you want to learn!

I am aware that some people just aren't comfortable with this way of learning, maybe because of shyness or diffidence.. What do you think?

Edited by Wanda Kaishin
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We tend to call it language tandem, where two parties meet and exchange language. But I guess you could call it language sharing too. But whenever you teach, you also share, so it applies to any kind of language teaching in my opinion.

I have done that several times, and I find it a very fun and smart way to learn language, its less formal than a teacher-student situation, and you can get right to the things you really need or want to learn.

So you can learn more about the things you like, thus building your language skills easier for most people.

I like coffee and beer, so learning about these things and where to get them in a new language is very interesting to me, so I tend to work harder on it.

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In my personal experience, I have always been more inclined to pay a professionally trained person to teach me a new language instead of a person who has no formal training as a language instructor. I much prefer an ordered, well-structured and professional approach. Of course, I am not saying that a person who hasn't received any tutoring training won't be able to teach me, quite the opposite, I am sure there are plenty out there who have a natural affinity with teaching and conveying their mother tongue perfectly to me. It's only that I prefer a more conservative approach.

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@Dora: I personally think that when learning the basics its safer to go with professional tutoring..to avoid learning mistakes that could grow bigger and bigger, and negatively influence further language development. Once this basis has been acquired, I believe that exchanging knowledge with as many people as possible is an extremely versatile and useful tool to go deeper in the study of a language! (or any other subject, as well)

During the last few years, I've been collaborating with an international team with the goal of building a web portal to connect people who want to share&learn any subject, using a time-based economy. This means that (for example) 1 hour of teaching gives you 1 credit to be spent receiving a 1 hour lesson from other users, in any other subject you might want to learn! We are really really close to complete the site: indeed, we are planning to launch in January! It's really exciting.. we have gone through countless challenges to make this dream come true!

Personally, I think that being able to trade knowledge with other people all around the world, for free, will be pretty revolutionary! :)

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I currently have a tutor who is not professional but recently graduated very high in her class from a private school that taught several different languages and only communicated in the nations 2nd language (an international language) so as to help the students become fluent. Since she is also trying to learn my language and has succeeded in being able to express herself very clearly, we have decided to do this 'language tandem' as one post called it. We both ask each other questions for clarity on one anothers language and because our expressions are at a similar level, we can comprehend well the meaning of those hazy expressions we have been having trouble grasping. Like two people on a tandem bike must be in sync with their movement, I think this way of learning works best when both parties are at the same level of language learning so that they can be in sync with the learning experience.

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  • 1 month later...

I think that language sharing is really a great way of not only learning the language faster and most accurately but also meeting new people and possibly making great friends. I have a friend who speaks Swahili and seeing as I am eager and interested to learn the language, we have arranged to go the language sharing route. He will be teaching me Swahili and in return I will teach him Afrikaans. I can;t wait, plus this way of learning is so cost effective.

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  • 1 month later...

I think language sharing or language tandem can definitely work! I mean if the two of you are equally interested in learning the language of the other, then it can definitely proved beneficial to the two of you. The only thing both of you have to be conscious about is achieving a balance. That is, to structure your time such that you each can devote equal time in learning each other's language.

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I tried this a few times in the past and although I met some nice people it just never worked out because of the time difference and busy schedules. With agreements like this, you need someone who has the same amount of dedication and discipline and that's not always easy to find. It's still a very fun experience though and it's definitely worth a shot.

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  • 3 weeks later...

We call it language exchange over here. To be honest I think it's great if both parties are already taking a language course and are just in need of a little help, like for example get their questions (regarding to the grammar of the language they're learning) to get answered by a native.  But not so good if one of he parties are not taking a course and is expecting you to act like a free teacher, that is not cool at all.  I mean, most of us don't have that much spare time...

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think this is the best way to learn language. The reason I think that is because the two parties make themselves peers and not 'teacher and student'. If you have a give and take relationship with your language learning you are humble to correction, open to sharing, and satisfied with the overall outcome of the process. Even if it is not the only technique you use, I think it is a necessary process to add to the language learning experience.

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I've done this in the past, and it was really helpful and fun! Unfortunately, both our schedules changed and we were unable to continue :(

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Very cool idea. I think it depends on the person, really. Some people like to have a proper teacher to motivate them, but others prefer a laid back approach. I'm somewhere in between, so while I do enjoy language exchanges, I wouldn't JUST do them in order to learn a language.

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I'm a bit shy, so starting them has always been a problem for me. ;_;

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  • 4 weeks later...

I think language sharing is great! I've tried it a few times and it's a really fun way to learn another language. I went to this site called 'Interpals' where they ask you what language you want to learn and what you can teach as well. They recommend you people who speak the language that you want to learn and also recommend you people who want to learn the language you can teach. I've met some really nice people there. It's easier for me there because you can just converse naturally and you learn as well. What I did was because I was learning Korean, I would chat up this person in Korean and that person will reply in English. If we have errors, we can correct ourselves. It's quite fun!

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In my personal experience, I have always been more inclined to pay a professionally trained person to teach me a new language instead of a person who has no formal training as a language instructor. I much prefer an ordered, well-structured and professional approach. Of course, I am not saying that a person who hasn't received any tutoring training won't be able to teach me, quite the opposite, I am sure there are plenty out there who have a natural affinity with teaching and conveying their mother tongue perfectly to me. It's only that I prefer a more conservative approach.

I find the point that you make very interesting, @Dora M! I know that Far East countries have a preference for native English speakers to teach their students English. They don't care whether they're professionally trained teachers or not, just long as they are native speakers. I've always found this very curious because there are of course regional dialects and slightly different versions of the language to consider, that may deviate altogether from the "proper" language, break some rules, have a different set of vocabulary etc. Very interesting indeed!

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  • 2 months later...

I think it's a great way to expand your knowledge of a language, but I personally wouldn't rely on it alone. I would definitely take formal classes as well, simply because that's the way I learn best, by having a structured approach and the ability to ask even the most complex questions concerning grammar that most native speakers simply don't know becuase it's natural to them. Of course, there are people who find this approach terrible for them because of how formal it is, and I think language sharing is a great alternative, as well as a great supplement to formal teaching where a student is able to practice in a real world situation what they've learned.

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Well, from that I understand, we already have the buddy system in this site. I actually had posted in that board for my need of a Vietnamese buddy because I am wanting to learn their language. And with the language sharing, this site looks very promising. I just hope that the community will contribute their share.

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Language sharing seems like a very efficient and easy way to get help on a language. Both people involved are generally interested, as they're getting something from the arrangement and giving something as well. It's a very good way of improving your language skills, and although I don't think you can fully learn a language through this, it could be very useful.

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  • 1 month later...

I would definitely be up for this if I had someone willing. I think it would also take away that element of shyness and timidity. But I've never come across such people, because as we all know, a lot of people do speak English. All of my French and Italian friends speak very good English. Maybe I'd have to take to the internet to search for  one.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I think that's a great idea. You are able to help other people learn more about your language, and at the same time, you are benefiting from this language-sharing as well. I haven't tried this one yet since I haven't met someone who is good/fluent in French, and who would also be interested in mastering my native tongue: Filipino.

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I have a couple of "language" friends on Facebook who I've met through different groups. One speaks French, the other two are German and we talk in our native languages to give each other a chance to practise. We're all interested in soccer so that gives us a common ground.

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  • 1 month later...

Language exchange works and I am a firsthand witness to this folks so don’t look down upon it. However the only way it can work is if there is enthusiasm from both parties otherwise the learning curve would be shooting low all the time. I have a nearby friend of mine here who would become my brother in law soon enough. I live in their country and he has been at the forefront of teaching me Luganda while I teach him the Kenyan Swahili. Trust me, we’ve managed to learn from one another in a very quick way and they are astonished that I have come this far and can even venture out and begin a conversation with someone else, this is because I am learning not the language only but the intonation, sentence structure and the “soul” of the people who speak this language. Those are kills with one shot. He too is capturing the same. Wow! If you haven’t tried this, you better give it a chance. You stand to benefit a lot. There are times he just comes around and speaks his language all through and really pushes me into learning it. This is also another way to learn faster.

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