Learning Mongolian II

Seal of Güyük Khan using the classical Mongoli...Image via WikipediaI have found another decent website for meeting language exchange partners My Happy Planet. More than 300 Mongolian speakers await!

If you have never tried a language exchange before, here are some tips:

1. Decide what you want before you start:

  • When and how often do you want to chat? And for how long? I recommend to start with 20 minute sessions. Be strict about set times so no one saps away at each others time and energy– taking from the fun and benefit of the exchange.
  • What kind of people do you want to get to know? In two weeks I had more than 50 invitations to chat, I can’t possibly chat with all of these people. — I know I would prefer to speak with a female, mid 20’s or older because I know I will probably relate to her more. I am clear about this on my profile, so I don’t waste other people’s time.
  • What language skills are you focusing on and how can your chat partner help you? How can you help them meet their goals? I know I wouldn’t be very helpful to someone who wants to work on business English and I know I need someone who speaks a higher level of English, as I am a total beginner in Mongolian and would need someone who can answer my questions and explain things to me.

At the moment, I am helping a Mongolian woman improve her spoken English by chatting 20-30 minutes a day, twice a week. After chatting I tell her what words and phrases I’ve been studying that week on my own and she corrects my pronunciation, explains the finer points of meaning and teaches me a few relevant colloquialisms. It’s great fun— highly recommended!

On my own time I am using the Before You Know It (BYKI) program. It’s a downloadable language program that is based primarily on a flashcard system. There is a free download to try it out and if you like it you can buy the whole program for $50 USD. I’ve just started using it so haven’t explored all of its features, but you can add your own flashcards to it and share flashcards with other BYKI users (neat). My plan is to use this to build vocabulary and useful phrases and then move on to a grammar book.

If you are interested in the other languages spoken in Mongolia, BYKI has Buriat (Buryat), Tuvan and Kazakh downloads as well— a great resource for less commonly taught languages!

Wish me luck!

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