Richard-Business Eng
Professional Teacher
Dec 2, 2015 4:44 PM
Comments · 97

My thumbs-up seems to have brought it back up to zero.


I have had some lovely exchanges with people who messaged me, but I chose not to pursue further exchanges with them (or they with me) because of one thing obstacle that I run across occasionally, the difference in age. I do not want to give people the impression that I think that one ought to only speak with people their own age, but I will say that I avoid having exchanges with people that are obviously very young.


For instance, I once had a wonderful exchange with a girl who messaged me who lived in Nicaragua. I hesitated because she looked young but she assured me that we would have much to talk about. She was a wonderful, sweet, smart girl who had a parrot on her shoulder, very amusing. But when she asked me where I lived, I said that I lived in Springfield like The Simpsons, she said that her parents do not let her watch The Simpsons, D'oh! I then found out that she was even younger than I had thought - fifteen years old. As a father of a daughter myself, I would be extremely disturbed if I found out that my daughter was talking with a middle-aged guy online, even if it was just to practice language. After that, I try to politely tell people that I prefer to only talk with people above a certain age.

December 2, 2015

I don't know why all the thumbs down either. Anyone who's done a language exchange has experienced almost all of this.


Another obstacle I want to add is the difference in language abilities. It's one of the reasons why some exchanges are 90% in one language. I once had an exchange with a girl who said she needed to practice English, but the truth was her English was already so good. My Russian was ridiculously low and it felt like a burden on her if I kept talking, so we just stopped and had the rest of the conversation in English.

December 2, 2015

Thanks Camilo

Actually, I was tempted to be a little harsher, especially in a couple of the 6 reasons, but I bit my tongue, stayed reserved, tried to be diplomatic, and did the best I could.

I hope these reasons may help some italki members to understand the problems and hopefully, they won't become discouraged.

NOW... you've been a good active member and I'm sure you must know a few other reasons, so why not share your thoughts.

Anyhow, thank you very much for your kind words... mantenerse bien mi amigo.

December 2, 2015

I experienced most of these issues, but my main problems in this case are:

- 5 Dogs, mutts and trolls:
Most of women/girls have this kind of problem, and it's annoying cause I can't distinguish between people that want to study the language seriously or are looking for dates, and I receive 3 or 4 messages daily that I don't know what to do with them.
I just found 2 girls that wanted to learn the language and I am still connected to them.

- 2 Language Exchange Partners: the first two items that you mentioned
- 6 Being Serious: when your partner is not serious in learning language or go away after several sessions, you feel that, all energy that you put for it, wasted. and it is all for nothing.
- 1 Learning a language is hard work: I didn't find anyone that wanted to study from a book or a reference... most of the people prefer to talk randomly. it's still a kind of practicing, but I think studying from a good reference help us much faster and better.

December 2, 2015

Alan... I think your comments are REAL REAL good... no, no,no... realy realy good :)

Guess which discussion I've recently read. Man, I laughed when I read your correction in that discussion. That was terrific...

Thank you for sharing your experience, as well as your sage comments and advice.


1  In a perfect world, everyone would have $7,000 to pay for a teacher/tutor.

   But there are many good people who simply could not afford that cost.


2  So, what's next best?

    Finding a native speaker language partner.

    Well, your right, the numbers don't match up, e.g., there are 40 Chinese for every 1 Canadian.


3  If a native language partner cannot be found, the next best thing would be a friend who also wanted to practice their second language. True, there will be incorrect grammar, spelling, pronunciation, expressions, etc etc BUT they will both be thinking and writing and speaking their second language. They may not learn from each other, but they will be practicing while overcoming the fear of speaking or making a mistake... and that leads to improvement.


So I agree with your smart comments and advice.

Thank you for contributing to this discussion.

December 3, 2015
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