How To Use A Language Exchange Partner Before You Can Talk

You don’t need to wait until you can talk to get a language exchange partner. They don’t need to be able to speak to you (or you to them) in order to be “useful” in terms of learning (getting used to) a language.

Before you can actually talk to each other, your language exchange partner can still be your media pusher.  One very important thing you can talk about with a language exchange partner while you still suck is: L2 music recommendations.

Ask him to tell you his favorite bands and songs and stuff. But you say: “I can just search YouTube”. Yeah, good luck with that. You can’t just say “Japanese music” on YouTube and really get the good stuff. That’s not how it works. That kind of vague search won’t bring you Rip Slyme in the middle of the night; it might work for movies (and even then, only the gay 1 arthouse ones that become popular overseas; you know what I mean). You need band names.

Language exchange partners can be like parents in that you can use them to shape your early L2 tastes and exposure. So a language exchange partner is more than just a well-trained mouth. He’s also a cultural conduit of sorts. That being the case, a good idea might be to choose language exchange partner not based on gender, age or even personality, but on musical taste. And you want someone who enjoys the music actively (seeks it out, knows who makes it, etc.) not someone who merely doesn’t mind that style of music.

Anyway, yeah…that’s it…just an idea.

Notes:

  1. I can use this word because I’m only ironically homophobic online. In real life I actually commit hate crimes, but you don’t know that.

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  6 comments for “How To Use A Language Exchange Partner Before You Can Talk

  1. February 11, 2013 at 12:43

    It’s a good idea, especially for anyone learning the language who knows what he loves in his own.

    For example, it’s a small step from loving The Black Keys (ザ・ブラック・キーズ) to asking if there’s anyone like that in Japan. And it’s easy to spread out from there, as you just need one band, one show, or one book that you really love to get the snowball going.

    Once you’re in an orbit of people who share the same interests or have the same taste as you, it’s almost impossible to not pick up more and more music and shows that you’ll like. But even aside from that, with Japan, if you find one movie that you love, chances are high that there’s a manga for that. One win almost guarantees two.

  2. Ricardo
    February 11, 2013 at 20:56

    I’ve made some friends through last.fm. I scrobble all my music there and find users with my tastes in Japanese music. Then I just leave them a shout asking for recommendations.

  3. Agent J
    February 12, 2013 at 09:59

    Now to find a Japanese Hiphop language partner.

  4. Aubergine
    February 18, 2013 at 16:15

    Definitely agree. In my case it wasn’t music, but anime. I’m lucky enough to have a 17 year old semi-otaku Japanese boy as a friend that has been able to introduce me to the kinds of anime, games, etc that Japanese kids are actually playing now. Having that resource allows me to find the things that I’d actually be interested in WITHOUT having to sift through a bunch of crap.

  5. India
    May 2, 2015 at 10:13

    Does anyone have any recommendations on where to find a Japanese language partner?

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