Increasing your vocabulary and memorizing important grammar patterns will go a long way towards helping you speak confidently. But, especially if your language partner is a native speaker, he or she may not be aware of what you need to learn!
Check out the topics below and make a list of what you would like to learn from your language partner. He or she would probably like to learn these things from you, too!
For example: counting objects, telling time, telling the date, adding and subtracting, telling age, and some games all use numbers
How can you describe objects using color and size?
You and your partner could describe objects to each other and guess what they are!
What do you want to do? When do you want to do it? What are others doing? You can talk about your hobbies or daily schedule with your language partner all while practicing verbs, verb tenses, and conjugations.
Learning just a few adverbs and how to use them can help you sound much more natural!
Make a list of words or sentences with words that rhyme or sound similar in your language. Ask your partner for some words that sound the same in his or her own language. Try to pronounce the words or sentences correctly and ask your partner if he or she can hear the difference!
Often, just reading the definition of a word is not enough to tell you how native speakers naturally use the word. Make a word list of vocabulary that you would like to use and ask your partner to help you make sentences that correctly use the words.
Language exchange is really fun when you have something to talk about! Here are suggestions for topics that you and your language partner can help each other practice.
Introducing yourself! Ask about family, friends, and hobbies. This is the first anyone will ask about you, so practicing a good self-introduction now will really impress people later! You and your language partner can practice introducing yourselves, friends and family members, or even each other!
You and your language partner probably live in different places. What is it like? What do you usually do? What are the social customs, holidays, eating and drinking habits, educational systems, living situations, and landscapes like where you each live? What things are the same, and what is different? You can learn a lot about your language partner's culture, and remember, many things about your culture might be surprising to your language partner! But, be careful though not to ask your partner to discuss anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. Be culturally sensitive and understand that some topics may not be polite to discuss openly unless you already know your language partner very well.
Knowing how to express your opinion on something and being able to understand others' opinions is a great motivation for learning! To keep your exchange fun and interesting without making anyone uncomfortable, try to avoid topics like religion or politics and focus on less sensitive topics instead. You can trade opinions about your favorite foods, music, sports, arts and entertainment, etc.
If you’re not sure how to begin, try “What’s your favorite ….?” and then ask, “Why?”
Even in your native language, talking is more fun when you’re talking about a topic you really like! Make a list of topics you enjoy talking about and ask your partner what he or she likes to discuss. Find your common interests and help each other learn to talk about these things. If there is a good website about this topic, you can share the link and talk about things on the website together. For example, if you both like music, you and your language partner could discuss the lyrics of your favorite songs. Talking about something fun will keep your sessions interesting and help you learn more quickly!
Remember to help and encourage your language partner when he or she is struggling, and be prepared to try answering when it is your turn to be asked. You may feel nervous at first, but this is common and as you continue asking and answering questions and helping yourself and your partner improve, you will feel more confident. Together, you and your language partner can have a lot of fun AND help each other reach your language goals more quickly!