Ultimate Cheat Sheet To Have Conversations In Any Language

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet To Have Conversations In Any Language


  • Find a Language Partner

  • Plan An Activity, Set A Time, Create a Cheat Sheet

  • Be Confident, Practice & Repeat

So let’s just say you decided that you want to jump in and learn a language ‘au naturel’. You’ve taken several languages courses before, but forgot a lot of what you learned and this time you just want to dive in like those famous polyglots that learn by absorbing from their surroundings. 

So here are a few tips to get you started with your first conversation in another language:

Find a Language Partner

Yes! I cannot say enough how useful a conversation partner is in learning a language. Research shows that students that participate in language exchanges learn a language up to 10 times faster. In fact getting to basic conversational proficiency can be achieved in much less time, just several weeks according to experts, particularly if you can speak regularly. James North, associate director for instruction at the Foreign Service Institute, said students are encouraged to get to know native speakers. Not to mention that this step used to be difficult, but luckily now there is an app for everything. The Vivalanga app comes to the rescue because all you have to do is get on the app and match with a native that speaks your target language.

Plan An Activity

So this truly is the fun part. If you find a language partner on the Vivalanga app you can read their interests on their profile and plan an activity together. This is a great way to break the ice and a great way to teach and learn from your partner about important vocabulary. You can point to objects while pronouncing them and learn & teach using your surroundings. After all, this is the living breathing way to learn a language! If you are just getting ready to have your first language exchange conversation check out Top 3 Tips For Your Very First Language Exchange Meeting.

Set A Time Frame

Learning a language in full immersion mode can be tiring. This is why setting a time frame is important so that you do not get discouraged and you can keep things light and fun. This of course depends on your level but you must also consider your partner’s level. This is why I suggest no longer than a 1 hour activity. This way there is 30 min in your language and 30 min in your target language. Remember it will be an intense half hour, and knowing you have a set frame helps give you the right mindset to get the most of your time.

Keep A Cheat Sheet

Because you planned an activity, you now can get busy finding those words around that specific activity. For example, if you planned to show your partner how to prepare your favorite dish from your home country, write down all the ingredients (tomatoes, potatoes, etc), the verbs (stir, fry, grind), and phrases (ex.”We are cooking up a storm”). Also a fun extra tip is to watch a TV show in your target language. So in this example you can youtube “French cooking Show”.
Memorize ‘Safe’ Phrases:
It’s nice to meet you.
I’m from
How are you?
My name
My profession
I live
My interests
Why I’m learning [target language]
How to ask about the other person their name, profession, nationality and interests
This is my first conversation in …. [language].
From these phrases alone you can have about 5-10 minutes of material to talk about!

Start Speaking

Start speaking to your partner in your target language right from the start. It’s common that the language two people first speak upon arriving is the language that sticks! This is important because if you want to progress in your target language you must speak it right off. This means that if you are a beginner and are not confident, you may delay speaking your target language and just get comfortable speaking your native language. Try to avoid this by setting time frames to speak 30 min in your language and 30 min in theirs, however uncomfortable it may be!

Practice Between Meetups

I recommend bringing a notebook dedicated to language learning with you and writing down any difficulties you have without distracting the initial conversation. In fact, you can compliment the conversation by asking your partner how to spell the word at the same time. Then for your next language exchange you can review your notes and even practice a bit to get ready for the next meeting.

Find Support

I would recommend practicing with language partners two times a week. It is clear that you cannot always have time to meet. So it is very important you surround yourself with people going through the same thing and encourage you along the way . Join online language facebook support groups and forums to ask for tips and advice from another members!
Find your language Partner today and get started. Download Vivalanga Today !

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