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LANGUAGE EXCHANGE VIA SKYPE, A REAL CONVERSATION?

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Today we are going to tell you something that may surprise you.

It turns out that I (Alberto), in addition to teaching Spanish to foreigners. I also give english classes onlineand I love doing it!

After almost four years living in England, I managed to pass the official Cambridge exam with a lot of effort. CPE (level C2). When I returned to Spain I did a Master's degree in teaching Spanish and English as foreign languages at the University of Alicante (where I met Alexandra 😉 ). From that moment on, I taught both languages in different countries.

It seems like yesterday, but that was a long time ago...  🙄 

 

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We now live in Spain, and to keep my English freshin addition to reading, listening to podcasts and watching series, I make 3 weekly exchanges by Skype with native speakers from the USA, Scotland and England. 

It is very likely that you also do or have done linguistic exchanges, so I will be very brief in commenting on the positive aspects. Surely there are more, but I think these are the ones main

  • Real practice with native speakers with different accents and ways of expressing themselves.
  • I learn new vocabulary and expressions, and try to put them into practice in the next session (although I don't always do so). 🙄 ).
  • I resolve some of the doubts that arise.
  • I talk about topics that interest me without pressure or fear of being wrong.
  • I maintain my fluency in speaking. 

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Have you ever thought about the less positive aspects of this type of exchange?

I would like to tell you a little about them from the point of view of listening comprehensionwhich is what we are most interested in here. 

Normally, people who decide to make exchanges want to improve both their speaking and listening comprehension skills.

 

And I totally agree that this is a great way to do it.

 

However, one of our followers (and he was not the first person) told us last week that after making many, many exchanges, continues to have difficulty understanding spontaneous conversations.

 

Isn't it amazing?

 

Not to Alexandra and me.

 

Do you want to know why? 

 

Based on my experience I have come to the conclusion that in Skype conversationswhen I speak Spanish with the other person, usually:

  • I am relaxed, calm and in a quiet roomThis is only because our baby sleeps at that time.  😀 
  • I do NOT speak at a natural speedI adapt it to the level of the other person. And even if their level is high, I still speak to them more slowly than I normally do. 
  • I make a effort in pronouncing so that you understand me. I try not to eat sounds, for example, so my Andalusian accent is conspicuous by its absence.    
  • I do not interrupt the other person wanting to (sometimes I interrupt them because there are problems with the connection, but it's very annoying, so I wait until the connection is stable again 😀 ) and, also, if it's the Spaniard's turn, I usually let them speak more than they normally would in a real conversation so they can practice more their oral expression. 

 

Do you understand now why our follower finds the audios of our spontaneous conversations so difficult?

Exactly, in Skype conversations. (nor in some podcast, nor in the audios of the manuals…) are not given some of the characteristics of spontaneous conversations.

 

We remind you of them, just in case 😉. 

 

IN A REAL AND SPONTANEOUS CONVERSATION, NORMALLY:

  1. Speak more than 2 persons.
  2. It is used colloquial vocabulary.
  3. They are used crutches.
  4. There is doubts and pauses.
  5. The pronunciation is natural (and therefore imperfectthat is to say, we eat a lot of sounds).
  6. No standard accents or attempts to look alike.
  7. The following are produced interruptions constantly (and, remember, you have to fiercely fighting for the right to speak).
  8. The speed is at the speed of light natural.
  9. Sometimes, there are background noise.

Summarizing: the objective is not that a foreign person should understand them.

 

If you have or have had another experience doing a language exchange, please share it in the comments, we would love to read it.

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And... do you want to start speaking fluently, reduce your foreign accent or understand conversations?   

Download our free guide and get started now!

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