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Pen Pals - A great way to learn a new language!


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I remember when I was trying to learn French, I would seek out pen pal sites and find French pen pals that were looking to correspond via snail mail. Writing back and forth really helped improve my French, and if they were trying to learn to speak English, then it would help improve their English as well. It was a great way to help each other out. Just thought I would suggest it to anyone who was looking for fun ways to learn a new language! (Of course it is important to be safe, though.)

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Maybe we can start a penpal thing here? Since most of us are passionate about learning new languages, I think the members here would be more willing to become penpals.

And if people are uncomfortable with giving out their addresses, maybe we can do an e-mail thing? It'll be fun ^^

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When I was in grade school my parents connected me with a young pen pal in Italy who was learning English.  It was great fun and an experience for me too.  In those days we communicated by post cards.  I enjoyed getting the scenes of Italy and seeing the foreign stamps.  My pen pal lasted years and she thanked me and said she learned and enjoyed the experience.

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I'm open to emails or IMs although I'm not around much. I don't know people who want to learn Tagalog though. To be honest, I think my English vocabulary is much better than my native language just because we speak only the most common words in Tagalog and then use English for the rest. It also doesn't help that most of our medium of instruction here are in English. I honestly can't imagine learning the sciences and mathematics in Tagalog.

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I always wanted a penpal in another country, as I loved writing and receiving letters. I signed up for numerous penpal websites but never really got anywhere. I made contact with a few people via private messages on the sites, but it never went any further than that.

The next language I'd like to learn is German, so it might be pretty cool to have a penpal in Germany to help me.

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When I was taking Spanish in high school we did this. This was a great opportunity to work on sentence structure and build vocabulary. The best part was then I took a trip to Mexico and was able to meet my pen pals. That was a lot of fun. They took us around and showed us Mexico City from the perspective of a local. That was a great experience.

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Maybe we can start a penpal thing here? Since most of us are passionate about learning new languages, I think the members here would be more willing to become penpals.

And if people are uncomfortable with giving out their addresses, maybe we can do an e-mail thing? It'll be fun ^^

That is actually a great idea!

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Long long time ago, I had a pen pal in Singapore unfortunately I am not sure how I got disconnected with that pen pal, it use to be fun to communicate with them by letters. Never had seen my pen pal and till date I did not know who I was communicating with...

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You are learning Basque? You are amazing! I had to look it up to make sure I had my information right!

Do you live in that region of Spain? Or do you have some other interest in that language? Who will you converse with? Very curious about this.

Not one person I know knows what Basque is, of that I'm sure. Just took a poll of the three people in my home---nope. I have heard of it but always thought it was French. Thanks for the information.

I would love to be a pen pal if anyone is interested in a grandma from the midwest?

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I wouldn't be very comfortable giving my home address to any random stranger on the internet. E-mail would be less of a problem, and of course we have a message system on this forum (right?). So if anyone wants to write in Dutch, feel free to send me a message.

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I think exchanging mails with another person is a great way to practice a language, I don't think snail mail is practical at all tho.  Because I've never liked the idea of exchanging my home address with a total stranger, but we're lucky enough to have e-mail now :)  Doing this by e-mail is way more convenient, but it can also be really hard to mantain. You need to be pretty clear with the person since the start, and find an arrangment that benefit both of you.

I'd recommend connecting with other persons who are interested in learning/practicing the same language you are trying to learn.  That way you can keep this going even longer :)

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  • 2 months later...

I think speaking with foreign friends help an individual learn a new language but the effectiveness lies in himself if he really wants to learn fast and develop his language skills. Talking with a foreigner will give one opportunities to learn more expressions used in the language. :)

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I have never had a pen pal for the sake of learning a new language.

This method sounds like a great way to exchange information and boost up a second language and also interact with a different culture.

Also, since Skype is available to the public, being a pen pal can go to a higher dimension.

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Having a pen pal is an excellent endeavor to compliment your language-learning. I like the idea of us in the forum starting our own similar thing. I used to hang on these sites too, but unfortunately a lot of them were used by too many people as a substitute for online dating, and other unnecessary stuff. Also it was my fault that every time I got a pen-pal we'd drift off and just speak in English instead of doing the whole language thing.

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When I was a kid I had several different pen pals. Some of them were simply friends that I knew from school that had moved away and others were people that I had met from exchange programs, youth retreats, etc. that were from other places around the globe.

The thing with all of my pen pals is that they all spoke English, even though I never thought of learning their native tongues.

With the global world that we live in today, I think electronic pen pals (via email) would be a great way to work on our skills with languages that are different from our native tongues.

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Despite all the positive answers on this topic, it's strange to see that this practice has decreased over the years, being much relegated to the days of the lost art of writting letters - one would think that in the new digital age the practice would increase! Penpalling had a certain aura of mystery and anticipation, the way one would wait for a delayed answer on the post, the exitement of opening an envelope, that just isn't the same when everything is but a click away.

As a way of developing your skills in a language, it is highly obsolete. You can probably do better tuning in some random foreign channel on the TV.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I love this idea! I've had Pen Pals before but it wasn't for the sake of learning a new language, so this is an interesting idea.

Of course, like many said before, I don't really feel comfortable giving out my address, but E-mail is totally fine for me.

I guess I could help people with Dutch, so if you feel like it, shoot me a message.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I do agree that having a pen pal is a great way to learn a new language. When I was in high school I had a pen pal from Germany. We both learnt a little from each other but at that time I didn't think of learning the language so what I learnt was minimal.

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I think Pen Pals is a great way to learn a new language as well. There are so many beneficial factors that come with Pen Pals. One of the most noticeable ones is actually having someone help you who is very knowledgeable about the language you are trying to learn. You will also in most cases have yourself a new friend. Someone you can learn from everyday

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I'm not sure that the concept of having a pen pal is one that makes sense in the modern era. I had one when I was young, but that was before I could just open up a browser and talk to somebody from across the planet. It probably makes more sense to just message somebody on Skype or on Facebook that you've met through a mutual acquaintance. I know that I have lots of friends from other countries and it is not that hard to meet them, especially if you go to college.

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