International Pen Pals : Free Search, Letter-Writing Tips

International Pen Pals

Free Search, Letter-Writing Tips

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International Pen Pals

Free Search, Letter-Writing Tips

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How to Practice a Foreign Language with Your Pen Pals: Letter-Writing Tips

To start, you need to find a pen pal (or pen pals) from the section 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!

- November 19, 2001