What is a language tandem?

 

A language tandem is a concept that helps you learn a new foreign language by talking to a native speaker. This way you have the chance to use and expand your existing foreign language skills in lively, real-life conversation situations. Actually, the word “tandem” means a bicycle built for two persons, on which they sit behind each other mutually pedaling. No matter whether one of the two is stronger or weaker, they will both reach the finish line together.

 

The advantages of the language tandem at a glance:

-        Individual learning regarding the time, place and content

-        Personal contact with native speakers of a foreign language

-        Applying your foreign language skills in a relaxed atmosphere

-        Free language learning

How can I learn in a language tandem?

Learning a foreign language in a tandem means relying on each other's help, but it also means having complete independence, as you are the one who gets to decide what and how you want to learn. First of all, you should look for a suitable tandem partner. Please keep in mind that it won’t be that easy to switch the conversation from one language to another if your tandem partner is a complete beginner in your mother tongue and you, for example, speak his/her mother tongue fluently. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you only need to look for tandem partners who speak your mother tongue fluently. Just be prepared to work together with tandem partners with different levels of language competence. It is certainly recommendable to use a reference grammar book or another textbook for your tandem meetings. As long as you are both disciplined and motivated, stick to the agreed schedule and have fun, your tandem work will be crowned with success.

What should you keep in mind before you start meeting your language tandem partner?

 

* The work in a language tandem is very individual, but you should find enough time to meet your language tandem partner, at best twice a week.

* "Individual" does not mean "chaotic". Set up some main learning points together with your language tandem partner.

* Please keep in mind that your meetings should be well-balanced and that if you meet for 60 minutes, each of you should be able to practice for 30 minutes in the respective foreign language.

* Decide mutually on how you are going to improve each other's mistakes. For example, you can repeat the correct version of the falsely used word in a conversation; you can talk about the mistakes at the end of your conversation. No matter how often and in what manner you intend to improve your language tandem partner's mistakes, you should never do it in an offending way!