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Miriam
Language exchange at beginner level I'd like to know some of your experiences with doing language exchange at total beginner level. Let's say a native Arabic speaker and a native English speaker who have both close to no knowledge of the partner's language and don't have a third language to communicate with each other, want to do a language exchange. They're both not professional language teachers and both don't have prior foreign language learning experience. How can they make an exchange work?
Apr 6, 2019 6:53 AM
Comments · 28
Students should have some basic background of grammar, and vocabulary before they speak with someone with no teaching experience. Just a basic background can get you a long way.
April 6, 2019
It might be a lot of fun which won't last long because both sides just lie to themselves. People don't want to accept the truth that without knowing at least basics they won't go far.
April 6, 2019
i think that a language exchange as a total beginner would be more beneficial as pen pals at the beginning.  you could write in your target language and they write in their target language and then you correct each others work. Then after a week you could do a video call for about 5 minutes each in the target languages.  doing the "hello, how are you, my name is, my hovercraft is full of eels...." type of things.  as the weeks progress it could force you to learn words to talk about your prior week and give you reasons to learn quicker so that you could communicate with your person. 



April 8, 2019

I think in scenario you describe, the exchange is doomed to be a total failure. For it to be an exchange (not a teaching class) each party has to express something in its target language, which the other party commands, so that this party can help him/her addressing any shortcomings or making improvements. I wouldn't recommend working with a bridge language as a base case. Even though it may be used to solve some difficult issues.  

Another point about a good exchange is that both parties have to have a good grammar and orthography level in its native language, or at least be able to find out about them when required - This is not always the case. 

April 8, 2019
It's a bit off topic but I wonder, how teachers who write in their profiles that they teach beginners actually do this? I mean how is it possible to teach someone a foreign language if there is no a third language as a bridge between a teacher and a learner, and a teacher only knows his/her native language which he/she teaches? 
April 8, 2019
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Miriam
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), French, German
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin)