Some rules for effective language exchange (tandem)

The scope of the language exchange (tandem) is to improve your capability to speak and listen in the target language.

  1. agree in advance the topic(s) to be discussed
  2. start by describing what you have been doing to learn the target language since the last tandem
  3. if your level is low, learn in advance some words and phrases to be used in the tandem
  4. agree in advance how to carry out the exchange. There are different possibilities. For example (imagine  you want to learn German, your companion wants to learn Italian and you both speak English):

 

1. Both of you have a low knowledge of the target language

  • You say the phrase in English
  • your companion says it instantly in
  • you repeat the phrase in German
  • you repeat the phrase in Italian
  • your companion repeats the phrase in Italian

 

2. Your companion has a good knowledge of Italian and you a bad knowledge of German

  • You say the phrase in Italian
  • your companion translate it instantly in German
  • you repeat the phrase in German
  • your companion repeats the phrase in Italian (optional)

 

3. Both of you use google translate and a microphone

  • You say the phrase in Italian
  • then you read the translation in German in google translate [the translation remain available in the chronology and you can copy and study it later]
  • than you companion confirms or says again the phrase in German
  • than your companion repeats the phrase in Italian (optional)

 

4. You have a low-medium knowledge of the target language

  • You try to speak German, using words in English or in German (depending by the level of your companion)
  • Your companion corrects single words or repeat the full phrase

 

5. At least one of you has a good knowledge of the target language

  • Agree in advance how much time to allocate for each of the two languages. It could be half an hour each.
  • Agree in advance what your companion has to correct you: a. only bigger mistakes, b. every single mistake, c. 1 mistake every five, d. the most common mistakes, etc. Best option for learners of intermediate level seems to be a or d.
  • Agree in advance when your companion has to signal you a mistake. This could be a. while you talk (interrupting you by rising an hand), b. at the end of every period, c. at the end of conversation. Best options b or c. Read also here.

 

 

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