Speaking partners are very important when learning a language – even if you have memory techniques on your side.
Now, there are apps these days that can help you find tandem partners, but to help practice the language you are learning here’s one I still really like:
This website has been a tremendous resource for me.
Using this site, I have met many interesting people to speak with by email and in real time over Skype in the target foreign languages I am learning.
Tips For Learning From Foreign Language Speakers
First, let me congratulate you: Bilingualism is great for your brain.
When you learn a new language, you are literally part of making the world a better place because you’ll have a healthier brain.
Now, when it comes to working with a language learning partner, there are (at least) two ways to maximize the experience.
The first is to write each message 50% in your own language and 50% in the target language. That way, each of you receives equal exposure.
Of course, the equality of this exchange depends on the amount that each of you write. If you only write two sentences, you’re not going to benefit much.
The second option is to trade weeks:
One week in your mother tongue and one week in your target language.
The strength of this approach is that you won’t be switching back and forth or feel that you’re competing for time.
Now, sometimes my Magnetic Memory coaching clients and students in my memory courses worry that they won’t be able to come up with enough topics to speak about with their tandem partners.
I don’t blame them.
After all, talk about work and the weather can dry up pretty quickly.
That’s why I’ve created a list of very interesting themes (which are more effective than topics) for my coaching clients to use.
There are 88 themes in total and they’re all now included in the Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass. They’re in the second PDF at the bottom of the FAQ section.
How to Record Your Language Learning Sessions
Here’s another tip for you:
No matter how you meet your language learning partners, record the sessions.
You can easily learn languages online and then review those lessons as often as you wish. In fact, the best language learning software is the kind that lets you record your meetings for easy review and what language learning experts call “chorusing.”
Language expert Olly Richards and I go even deeper on the topic with our discussion about online language learning here.
Journal By Hand
As you communicate with new people, I suggest you strengthen your memory by keeping a journal.
Journaling triggers what is called “active recall.” By calling up recently experienced events in memory, you strengthen the neuronal connections.
Because you’ve written the events down, you can review them from the pages of your journal, which strengthens those connections even further.
When it comes to learning a language, make note of:
- New vocabulary
- New phrases
- New grammar points
- New cultural, geographical and historical facts
Aim to revisit the pages of your journal at least 2-3 times a year to help lay down a stronger memory foundation for the language you’re learning.
Learn From Other Language Learners
Although I don’t consider myself a polyglot (just a “normal” language lover), I always make sure to learn as much as I can from people who can speak multiple languages.
Kerstin Hammes has many great ideas too.
Then there are the Magnetic Memory Method success stories.
Check out what Richard Gilzean has accomplished with German phrases, for example.
If all these resources don’t get you addicted to language learning, I don’t know what will!
Speaking Is One Of Five Keys
Above all, it’s important to realize that speaking is one of the most important keys for developing your fluency.
But you’ll need all of these to unlock the door of fluency:
The trick is to get them all flowing each and every day you learn your language – which should be at least 4-5 days a week.
To do that, set goals that are broken down into missions. Share these with your tandem partners. Let them keep you accountable, and when you add this creative, goal-based tension, they’ll keep just as engaged as you need to be.
Learning a language is never something anyone does entirely on their own. In fact, it’s an exercise in maximalism.
By becoming fluent in another language, we maximize the amount of people we can speak with, making entire contents part of our personal “communication club.”
Enjoy the journey!