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Old 04-05-2009, 03:13 PM   #1
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Language Exchange

I googled "Saltillo language study", because I want to continue studying Spanish and Saltillo is a university town close to the US border with reasonably nice summer weather. One of the things that turned up was Language Exchange. I had never heard of this idea. Basically it matches a native speaker of one language who wants to learn another language with a native speaker of that language. It is a completely amateur system. You are supposed to take turns, say 1/2 to 3/4 hours speaking each language.

The fees are essentially matching fees, and are low and levied either monthly, or in some cases one time only for each match.

I found a similar organization right here in Seattle. I registered with them. One registration question is "Do you want a partner of the same gender?"
I know there are native Spanish speakers on this board, and also advanced learners. My recollection from my time in S.A. is that although words, accents etc. are not gender determined, many of the hand gestures, vocal tones etc., were. I don't want to accidentally learn to speak como una mujer, so I checked yes to same gender. What do experienced people on the board think about this issue?

And allow me say "˙ou're welcome" in advance, to those who might appreciate the set-up.

Ha
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Old 04-05-2009, 03:51 PM   #2
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I think you are correct. Even the choice of certain words can be gender influenced, as can intonation. It's very noticeable in French, where many women tend to singsong and men slip into a nasal growl.
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Old 04-05-2009, 03:54 PM   #3
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Sounds like a good way to get conversation practice.

Body language is not so different from what you are used to here – that shouldn’t be an issue, especially among adults. Conversational spanish with someone of the opposite sex is likely to be more formal, so this choice is likely to have a greater impact on vocabulary and formality. Age – or more precisely, age differential - may also have a similar impact. I'd say the choice depends on what type of conversational skills you are looking to sharpen.
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Old 04-07-2009, 01:16 PM   #4
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Thanks to both of you for sharing your ideas.

Ha
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Old 04-07-2009, 03:14 PM   #5
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Ha,

I have done the spanish conversation partner thing once locally and it worked pretty well. My SIL actually found the person through Craigslist. After a little screening to get the creepos out, she found a nice conversationalist to practice with, and I joined them for a 2 hr lunch conversation one day. The lady was a stay at home mom from Honduras and was very helpful. She benefited by getting out of the house and meeting local people (she was already very fluent in English).

I also have practiced informally with my BIL's tile-laying employee (a guy). I can't say that I picked up on much difference in what I got out of the two experiences, other than the female was a bit more chatty. And the guy-guy interaction was more matter of fact. With the female, there was more open discussion of emotions, feelings, etc. Gender probably wouldn't matter much if you are just trying to get proficient with day to day spanish language stuff like directions, shopping, hotel/airplane/taxi/travel, restaurant type stuff. Just my dos pesos.
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:28 PM   #6
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...And the guy-guy interaction was more matter of fact. With the female, there was more open discussion of emotions, feelings, etc...
Ya think?
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:34 PM   #7
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And the guy-guy interaction was more matter of fact. With the female, there was more open discussion of emotions, feelings, etc.
I believe there is a helpful thread elsewhere on this forum that features a machine outlining exactly how this works...
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Old 04-08-2009, 12:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Westernskies View Post
I believe there is a helpful thread elsewhere on this forum that features a machine outlining exactly how this works...
Hey, I know. I feel like I'm playing "state the obvious" sometimes...
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Old 04-20-2009, 01:23 PM   #9
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I heard what Fuego said about his sister and composed a Spanish ad for Craig's List. Within 6 hours I had a prospective practice partner. A young Mexican guy who doesn't live in my neighborhood, but comes here often. We are having our first meeting this afternoon at a local coffee house.

He sounds pleasant. My Spanish is already better just from writing more.

Ha
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Old 04-20-2009, 01:28 PM   #10
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Que bueno! Buena suerte.
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Old 04-20-2009, 02:17 PM   #11
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My recollection from my time in S.A. is that although words, accents etc. are not gender determined, many of the hand gestures, vocal tones etc., were. I don't want to accidentally learn to speak como una mujer, so I checked yes to same gender. What do experienced people on the board think about this issue?

And allow me say "˙ou're welcome" in advance, to those who might appreciate the set-up.

Ha
All things being equal, it's probably best to partner with someone of the same gender, but IMHO it's not an over-riding consideration. Yes, gestures, tones, etc, are somewhat gender-specific, but they are more specific to the culture than to the gender. Native spanish speakers, whether male or female, tend to use many more hand, eye, and face gestures than english speakers. But the difference between female and male spanish speakers is not much different than the difference between female and male english speakers as far as gestures. And a male or female has an innate facility to identify them as gender specific rather than language specific, at least that's my experience and opinion. So bottom line, I'd ask for the same gender of speaker but if I found someone of the opposite gender from which I could learn easier, I would go with that.

By the way, me parece una forma excelente de aprender espańol, lo voy a investigar.
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