Experts say that immersive experiences are one of the best ways to learn a language. By practicing speaking with other language learners or native speakers, you’ll build confidence having impromptu conversations that don’t follow a script. You may have heard that a language exchange partner can accelerate your learning, but these relationships don’t always turn out as expected. Let’s take a closer look at both the benefits and drawbacks of a language exchange partner.
What is a language exchange?
Language exchange is when two people who speak different languages attempt to teach and help each other learn. Most commonly, it involves partnering with someone who wants to learn your native language in exchange for teaching you their native language. This relationship can be online or through written correspondence, and involve chatting informally or following a schedule of topics.
To be clear, it is not the same as having a study buddy. A language exchange is a partnership of two language learners whose goals are to learn each other’s native tongues and increase social and cultural awareness.
When is a language exchange partner a good idea?
Language exchange is an interesting way to round out your language learning with real conversations, but be careful about finding the right partner. As you look at online platforms that facilitate these interactions, you’ll discover it’s difficult to find someone who is invested and committed to the language learning process. If you do decide to do a language exchange, look for the following qualities in a partner.
Proficiency: A native speaker is preferable, but ultimately, you want someone who speaks the language you’re trying to learn well and vice versa.
Promptness: This can be very difficult to get right at a distance, but it’s crucial that you both make the best of the time that you have.
Commitment: A partner who shares your values and commitment to language learning will keep you focused. It’s okay to start sessions with some chitchat, but then get down to business.
Language exchange partners can help train your ear and keep you motivated, but you’ll need to consider how much benefit you’re getting out of sessions. Since you’ll spend half the time teaching someone else your own language, it’s not as efficient as other immersive learning methods.
Are there more effective ways of immersive learning than language exchange?
There are many ways to have immersive language experiences without having to rely on a partner. Rosetta Stone builds immersion into every step of the language learning journey through the following features.
Our teaching method focuses on connections instead of translations, stimulating your natural ability to learn through immersive learning environments that encourage you to speak up for yourself.
TruAccent™ Speech-Recognition Technology
TruAccent is the patented speech engine embedded in every lesson. It compares your accent to native and non-native speakers of the language, so you can get real-time feedback to improve your pronunciation.
Audio Companion® Lessons
These downloadable audio recaps of your lessons can be helpful not just to review vocabulary and concepts, but also to train your ear.
Part of the benefit of immersive experiences is to begin to understand and mimic the cadence and tone of the language. Rosetta Stone’s Stories feature can supplement your learning with an opportunity to listen and read along with native speakers.
Seek & Speak™ Challenges
Learning from your environment is another fun way to use immersion. Seek & Speak turns objects around you into part of a scavenger hunt challenge in order to jump-start vocabulary and conversation practice. iOS in our post popular languages.
Last but certainly not least, you’ll get enormous benefit from Rosetta Stone Live Tutoring sessions. These 25-minute small group or private tutoring sessions are packed with practice, and real-time feedback from a native-speaking coach. You’ll speak exclusively in the language you’re learning, so you can gain confidence for real-world conversations.
To learn more, you can watch Peter use a Rosetta Stone Live Tutoring session to brush up on his conversational skills before heading off on a trip to Cuba.
As you can see, interactions with an experienced tutor who can help you smooth out any rough edges in your conversational skills is invaluable. It’s not only a more efficient use of your time than a language exchange partner, it should give you the confidence you need to get out there and speak up for yourself.