Penpals (Pen Friends) for Foreign Language Practice
There are many reasons to practice a foreign language through an email exchange:
Your Learning Needs
|•||A language exchange through email is complementary to a live language exchange through text or voice chat because it allows you to work on your grammar, vocabulary, spelling, etc. – whereas during live practice the emphasis is on communicating. By practicing through email, you are working on the technical side of the language, so when it’s time to speak you can relax, feeling more confident about your grammar.|
|•||If you need to reinforce your writing skills for school or business, a language exchange via email is an excellent way to do it.|
|•||If you’re more of a beginner, or if your second language skills are rusty, you’ll probably benefit more from starting with an email exchange, where you can take your time reading and writing, looking up words, and asking questions.|
|•||With penpals, you can practice whenever it suits you.|
|•||It may be the only way for you to practice if you’re not equipped for chatting or have an irregular schedule.|
|•||It allows you to cover some topics in greater depth.|
|•||It’s also a nice, slow way to get to know your exchange partners that you will chat with later on.|
How to Practice a Foreign Language with Your Penpal
To start, you need to find a penpal (or penpals) from the sections above – a native speaker of the language you are practicing who also wants to practice through an email exchange.
In your emails, we strongly recommend that you write in both languages. If you only write in your practicing language, the ideas you express may be limited. The exchange will be more interesting if you can express yourself naturally, even if only for some of the time. Other advantages include both parties improving their reading skills. This helps your vocabulary, idioms, natural syntax, etc., and you will also get some practice writing in your practicing language, but not so much that it becomes overwhelming. More reasons to use both languages, especially during live practice.
You should give each other a little feedback on your writing. If you have a particular area that you want to work on, such as verb tenses, gender, sentence structure, expressions, spelling, etc., you can ask your partner to pay closer attention to that area when giving corrections.
You can also translate part of your message, or ask your partner to do it. When you are translating your message, remember that translating means expressing the same idea in a different language. Try to translate the whole sentence rather than individual words. Otherwise, you’ll get a choppy sentence that is not the way a native speaker would express the idea. When your partner translates your message, you can see how a native speaker expresses those ideas. Finally, when you are translating your partner’s message into your native language, don’t be afraid to use an expression or slang. Remember, an advantage of a language exchange is the opportunity to learn and exchange all aspects of a language and culture.
As for content, you can let yourselves be guided by your natural curiosity, but we recommend that you also use the games, activities and conversation questions in the Chat Companion. They are meant to help make your practice more fun and effective. Here again, we aim to help you learn how to learn, and how to help each other learn 🙂 Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Happy practicing!
International Penpals – Email Exchange of Language and Cultures (Pen-pals)
Penpals (pen friends) are a great way to learn about another language or culture. It doesn’t matter what level you are at in your foreign language. Here, you can find international penpals quickly and easily! You can search by many criteria to quickly find a penpal you want. If you are learning Spanish for example, you can find Spanish penpals in the country or city of your choice!