Language: An Exchange of Ideas
Step 2: Prepare
To have an effective language exchange, you'll need to prepare something to talk about. In step 2, you'll prepare a dialog.
Ask your mentor to prepare a dialog, that is, a short conversation about an ordinary topic, like buying veggies. Start modestly by
making the conversation between two people: you and, say, a carrot vendor.
As your skills increase, you can increase the number of parties involved, making sure you are always one of them. Describe what you
want to say so your mentor can prepare the dialog. He should include anticipated responses.
The dialog: start simple
If you are taking your first plunge into the language, try a simple monologue like this:
"Hi, my name is Leslie.
I am learning your language.
I hope you will help me.
This is all I can say so far.
He may write it down, so as not to forget, but you should try to avoid reading from it directly at first. You read with an English-speaking
bias, which can easily lead to improper pronunciation. Rather, ask your mentor to read it to you (see Step 3: Practice).
During your sessions with your mentors, try to use the target language as much as you can and rely on English only when necessary.
See if you can get your idea across with what you know. Use gestures to fill in the gaps. This will get easier. Honest.
The dialog should not be a direct translation of what you would say and do in English. It should be culturally correct. To make sure,
ask your mentor to translate it back to English. It may sound awkward, and not the way you would say it in English. This could be an
opportunity to talk about correct protocol for the situation in your dialog.
For step by step instructions to create your practice dialog, download the Walkabout Language Learning Guide.
It asks you focused questions to help you figure out your most needed language skills. If you can't settle on a dialog, it provides you with several samples to get you started.
Continued - Step 3: Language Practice
Return from Language Exchange to the Daily Learning Cycle
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