Is anyone else constantly getting emails from people offering to do a language exchange when you haven’t stated your interested in learning the language. I get about 10-15 emails daily with an offer to learn a language I have no interest in, and seems to be from the same two regions over and over again. Being you have to click on someone’s profile before you can message them, and therefore you can see what they are interested in learning, why do they still send emails in near perfect Englsih. Sorry to rant, just wondering if others experience this allot.
Learner SC, absolutely not complaining about small talk. You're correct, most conversation doesn't get to that level. But when I'm small talking with co-workers or friends I'm not trying to develop my English skills. I'm simply communicating.
The question posed was "does small talk help you improve your skills?" The answer is no. I'm not practicing language 24 hours a day. But when I am practicing I have to push the envelope. I tell my teachers to push me and talk about complex subjects.
I still use a Chinese teacher, albeit much less frequently than when I was trying to get a strong grasp of the language, and I tell her to correct every single mistake I make regarding tone, grammar, or simply if I describe something in an awkward way. If I'm using really complex speech, like you would read in a policy paper, I will make many mistakes and she will correct me multiple times. It's frustrating, but this is how I get better.
I don't get better by making small talk in Chinese because I can do that flawlessly with almost no mistake. Yes, I have a US accent, but my pronunciation is absolutely correct and I hardly make any tone errors. So this doesn't help me to repeat this material.
You have to push the envelope to get better. Break the comfort zone, go away from the "fun stuff" and do the real painful grammar patterns, tone correction, accent reduction, and all the boring stuff no one likes. But sorry, that's the only way.
Now let's see how many downvotes I can get. I'm aiming for -10 on this one. Let's see if I can hit it. I'll start by downvoting myself.
It gets to a point after a while where it doesn't help because the conversation is very low level. In both Chinese and in Spanish, if I want to actually practice and push the envelope, we need to talk about more complex topics like science, politics, trade, international markets, or philosophy. In Spanish I'm basically maxed out where my vocabulary exceeds that of native speakers depending on their education level. The only new phrases I would learn would be legal phrases they use in court or complicated medical analysis terminology that doctors use. But again, that's going into specialized areas.
The "Hi! OMG your (language) is so good! How did you learn? When are you coming to visit (country)? Wow. What did you eat today? What time is it over there? Do you have a girlfriend? What do you do for fun?"
That is all just mindless drivel and there is no benefit to me from engaging in that type of conversation over and over and over again.
To add insult to injury, most of these people don't want to learn anyways. I get contacted often as well and the time where I do accept their request and we exchange information, they just want to chit chat with me in their native language and when it comes time to say "Ok, so let's do this English material," they have to go, or don't have time, or we'll do it another day etc.
Days pass and I get more messages, again in their native language, about what I ate for lunch, when I'm going to China/Mexico/Korea, etc etc. Huge waste of time.
I keep getting stricter on who I even reply to and I think I'm just going to not reply to anyone and just keeping paying my teacher to help me and that's it.
1.English, your mother tongue language is the most popular language that people want to learn, so there are lots of learners and few native speakers that don't mind to speak to them
2.there are many languages that people are not interested to learn, so the native speakers of those languages can't offer any help to you in learning the language you want and they are left with no partners for exchange languages...
Personally, I try to practice English with other learners with different countries, it's not that much good, but anyway, it's better to feel that I annoy somebody(native speaker) when they don't want to learn my language.
It's called "language partner", not teacher/student... when people send me messages that they want to learn my language(from basic level), I tell them, I am not a teacher but ask me any question that you have, I'll answer them as far as I know.