By Alexis Bradby
When I was a Conversation Partner, and I quickly learned that there are a ton of ways to practice a language that people do not normally utilize. Some of the more common ways we think of practicing a language are to watch movies or television in the language we are learning or just speaking with a native speaker. While these methods are productive, I’m going to suggest a few fun and innovative ways I’ve been helping my conversation partners practice English this semester.
One of my conversation partners has mentioned that she wanted to be able to sound more casual and less formal in how she speaks English. As a film student, I thought one way to help her work on this is from reading aloud dialogue. This allows her to see the sentence structure and practice different tones, such as sarcasm. It’s also a really fun activity for both partners depending on what screenplay you use. For our first time doing this activity, we read parts of Mean Girls.
Formulating analysis for arguments is one of the most difficult aspects of language even for native speakers, so this is a really great way to practice a language. A fun way of approaching this activity is to find common arguments online such as school uniforms. Then have your conversation partner argue in favor of and then in opposition of the prompt. This activity will help in making more complex sentence structures and expressing ideas quicker.
While I’ve yet to get a conversation partner to agree to this, I think understanding humor In a different language is an indicator of a certain level of mastery. Learning puns is a great way for understanding the multiple meanings of words. To understand why something is fun shows a knowledge of sentence structure, word meaning, and a lot of times, cultural awareness.
Featured image by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
Alexis majored in Narrative Studies. She was born and raised in Chicago, and was a transfer student to USC. Alexis loves the beach and at times misses Chicago, but is happy to now live in L.A. next to the ocean instead of a lake! As a learner of Spanish and German herself, she understands the many challenges that come with speaking a foreign language. Alexis has a passion for experiencing and sharing different cultures, and dreams of one day traveling the world. She a Leo loves reading, writing, swimming, and looking at cute pictures of dogs.