What not to do in Japanese language exchange(My opinion)


When you start studying a new language, there comes a time where you want to actually practice . This is especially so if you’re self studying, because more often than not, you’re on your own; whereas when you’re in a class room you have the teacher and classmates to practice speaking with.

This weeks topic on, What not to do in language exchange, comes from my own experience of what I’ve personally seen work(or not). The idea came to me when I was talking with someone I ‘met’ who was looking for a partner.


This is obviously not a full list, but it’s definitely a subjective one.

1 Don’t be in a rush to find a partner early in the game.

The person I met was starting out to learn a new language, and I didn’t think she was ready to actually practically know enough to speak.  When I first began studying Japanese, I turned towards the online community where I would skype my partner.  The problem was that I was not able to follow along for even a bit . My partner had to translate everything, and really I didn’t remember what they mentioned. They told  me, “It means this” but I realized that I never truly understood until I actually studied the vocabulary usage or grammar pattern. 

If you’re getting in way ahead of yourself, you’ll realize that these exchanges aren’t worth your time. Think about it, how can you practice speaking when you can’t muster up one sentence? This isn’t to say you should absolutely refrain from language exchange(if anything this is a perfect way to gauge your conversation ability). Especially when you know the basics of the language. I’m just warning those new to the language studies. I ended up mostly speaking English because of my inability to speak. To each their own experience.

2 You’re partner really  isn’t your teacher.

Ok disagree with me here if you want, but I really do stand by this one in a way.

I guess this is mostly something you should realize as a self learner. It’s ok to ask your partner questions-why not? Your partners are great help, in that, you can learn more casual modern speaking styles. I just think it’s too much to expect that you’ll learn all your grammar, vocab and phrases from your partners.These are things that you mostly take the time to study(ie class and by self). I believe that your partner just helps you in developing the other aspects of language learning, that you can’t really do on your own. (Reading, writing, Listening and speaking)

Again, I stress that questions aren’t bad. I have had times where I was asked to explain grammar rules, which was tough to explain because I’m not a teacher, however I was able to make sentences to help my partner make sense of it for themselves. Likewise, whenever I asked grammatical questions, it put my partner in a difficult situation as well-because like me, it was difficult to explain.

I’m not sure if this is common, but I found that some native Japanese people didn’t know what grammar rule I was referring to, when I called it by the  way I was taught.Difficult to explain…Have you noticed this?  There may be a difference in the way we understand the same language language.

3 Flirt- (and other online related issues)

It’s so easy to run into one of those people who aren’t really interested in practicing to speak in another language. Be aware that you may run into these kinds of people at times. This is probably one thing that turns people away from language learning. 

This point ties in with being ‘internet safe’. Skype was where I found most of the weirdos. Although I was clearly stating that I wanted a language exchange partner, some people who weren’t remotely connected to this community would send me requests. I used to add people thinking it was related to Japanese-English language exchange but I quickly realized it wasn’t the case.  Sometimes it’s true that they are trying to language exchange, but they also keep hitting on you,or act weird.

 Be ok with denying requests. Be ok with not having to speak with everyone. It’s your choice. 

You don’t have to meet up with people in person too if you’re worried. If you do decide you would like to meet face to face, try to aim fr public spaces. 


Anyway, This is a very short list of the things that came to mind. Language exchange can be a wonderful thing, but just be wary of it’s downside.



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