At a Loss for Words? 10 Conversation Topics for Language Exchange
Practicing your language skills with a native speaker is a big must when on the road to fluency. Language exchange is one of the greatest tools available to language learners because all it requires of you is your time and can be mutually beneficial to both you and your partner. By interacting with native speakers, the two of you will be able to pick up on slang you wouldn’t learn in the classroom or add untranslatable phrases to your language repertoire, helping you to become more proficient speakers in the process.
However, LE relationships can also be something of a trial because, let’s face it, communicating in a foreign language is tough. Many times, the challenge doesn’t even come from the language itself but rather because you simply run out of things to talk about. Fear not, this awkward situation can be avoided if you approach each LE discussion well prepared. Don’t let the chirping crickets take over your LE experience, instead check out these ten discussion questions you can use next time you and your language partner run out of things to talk about:
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1. If you could choose anyone in the world to have dinner with, who would it be and why?
For added discussion points, expand the spectrum to include one living person and one person who is no longer alive. Explain why for each.
2. If you had a crystal ball which could tell you anything about your life or your future, what would you like to know?
This one is a great question to help you practice your future tenses and pick up on some new vocabulary!
3. If you could take a trip to anywhere in the world without worrying about the cost, where would it be, what would you do, and why would you choose it?
Not only will you learn something a little more personal about each other, but discussing travel in a foreign language will give your skills a definite boost.
4. If you knew the world was going to end, what are the last 2 things you would do?
You can get some interesting answers asking anyone, not just your LE partner, this question!
5. What is something you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time but haven’t done yet (and why not)?
Get a little more in depth with your LE partner and practice navigating past, present, and future tense at the same time!
6. If you knew when you were going to die, would you change the way you are living now? Why?
These philosophical questions are the most fun because they can serve as fodder for some deep discussion!
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7. What is the best place you’ve visited and why?
Expand this question a bit more by talking about the worst place each of you has visited as well.
8. If you had to be deprived of one of the five senses (sight, smell, touch, taste, or hearing), which one would you hate most to give up and which would be the easiest to give up?
This question will require using widespread everyday vocabulary related to body parts, food, drink, music, and so on!
9. If you could either live near the beach or in the mountains, which would you choose and why?
If you are looking to keep this discussion going, ask your partner whether they would prefer living in the city vs. the country and why.
10. If you could place something in a time-capsule for people 1,000 years from now to see, what would it be and why?
This question can have hilarious and varied results! You can also work on your numbers skills as well as speaking in the future and past tenses.
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As wonderful a pastime as language exchange is for the learning process, using it as the sole tool to help you become fluent is a big no-no. Before you can start running with these great discussion topics, you’ll need to put a firm foundation in place or you won’t have a leg to stand on. Signing up for top-tier language classes is one way to do this, as is taking advantage of learning tools such as online games and free placement tests. Having the ability to tackle the intricacies of the language will leave you more than prepared to tackle some serious LE discussions and fully benefit from all they have to offer!