2010年 3月 10日, 星期三 - 格林尼治标准时间13:05

Emmet's Student Diary 伦敦学生博客第22周

Emmet Conlon O'Reilly

Wednesday 10th March 2010 - Language Swap

Every now and again I meet up with a friend of mine for a language swap. I feel it adds another dimension to my Chinese learning. In the first year at university we only have one hour of formal speaking practice per week so I jump at any opportunity to practise. I met my friend 明 through an advertisement in another nearby university, the London School of Economics, and we meet up once a week or once a fortnight.

The idea is straightforward: I want to improve my Mandarin and Ming wants to improve his English. I have a couple of tips I can share with you if you are interested in doing a language swap with someone. First of all, I think it helps if you choose someone outside your immediate group of friends as a language partner. This means you should always have something to talk about when you meet up. It is, of course, important that you share some interests.

Emmet in the student bar at the School of Oriental and African Studies

Emmet often meets his language partner in the student bar

Choose a different topic to discuss every week. Last Sunday we started chatting about our families and then, because my sister Megan is an art student and has just visited Berlin on a class trip, we got on to the subject of art. This led to a discussion about various cities we'd like to visit in Europe. So I managed to gather up lots of different vocabulary in one go.

Ming and I met up in an excellent Chinese restaurant where I tried 凤爪 or chicken feet for the first time. I was pleasantly surprised. They were very bony, as I expected, but they tasted delicious. I think it’s useful to meet somewhere relevant to the language you are learning. I picked up plenty of food vocabulary without having to think about what I wanted to learn. So, if you are trying to learn English, a pub may be ideal.

A pint of beer

Does alcohol help you relax?

Many people say that alcohol also frees up your language abilities. Because you are not so conscious of making mistakes the conversation flows a lot more easily. I've decided to give up alcohol temporarily, so I can't confirm or deny that theory. I haven't touched a drop for a few weeks. The one exception will be a night off for St. Patrick's day which falls this day next week, 17 March. This is Ireland's national day of celebration and I'll tell you all about it next week.

meet up 碰头,见面, language swap 语言交换活动, dimension 层面, tips 小建议,小窍门, language partner 语言伙伴, interests 兴趣爱好, chatting 聊天, gather up 收集, relevant 相关的, frees up 释放, flows 流畅,通顺, theory 理论

If you jump at any opportunity to do something it means you take every chance you have to do it. E.g. "My cousin lives in Australia, so I jump at any opportunity to see her when she visits London." Emmet used the phrase got on to, meaning to move from one topic to another.E.g. "I had to wait until the end of the meeting, when they eventually got on to the topic I was interested in." Emmet said that he learned lots of different vocabulary in one go. The phrase in one go means at the same time or in one attempt. E.g. "My friend ate his chocolate bar in one go – he

Question of the week

Have you ever done a language swap? Did you find it useful? What's your advice for doing a language swap?

Email me and we'll put your messages at the bottom of this page.

Email Emmet at 按键 chinaelt@bbc.co.uk


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