Lessons from Other Learners

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to attend a language exchange event or meet up, you might find yourself spending little or no time talking to native speakers. This can feel like a bit of a shame, but it’s an experience shared by anyone in a language course, when the teacher is the only native speaker in the room. What can you gain from practising with other learners?

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  • Teaching is a great way to learn. If you discover gaps between your knowledge and theirs, explaining a small grammar point or new piece of vocabulary helps cement your own knowledge.
  • Listening will often be easier by virtue of them speaking more slowly… and if they sound more British than Valencian you might be able to follow them better (even if you’re not honing your accent).
  • Sympathy is a good thing to find with a fellow learner – with Spanish, I think people have trouble with the speed, and almost everyone rolls their eyes at German grammar. (See also the perfect German word for sympathy: Mitleid, literally with-suffering).
  • Tips and Resources! Everyone can suggest a film, app, podcast, musician or travel destination to help your language journey and cultural experience.

I just returned from one of these experiences, where I ended up chatting in Spanish with a Danish person (like you do), and came back thinking about the benefits of non-fluent chat. You can still make the most of it!