Do you have a blog I should be reading? Do you want to be my language buddy?

In which I’m looking for more blogs to read

Can anyone recommend blogs by people learning languages, perhaps who’ve never learned any to fluency (however you want to define it) previously? Maybe they’ve dabbled in languages, even learned some to various levels of proficiency, but they wouldn’t say they’re fluent or call themselves a polyglot. I guess I just want a community of people who are fumbling along as I am. I value the advice from polyglot blogs, but sometimes I just want to talk about all this with people who aren’t completely sure about what they’re doing, not people who seem so confident that they have the answer for whatever stumbling block I’m working on. Lately it feels like every polyglot blog is trying to sell me something: their ebook! Their magic method! Something else they’re convinced I need to pay for in order to succeed! It’s really tiring.

I do talk about language-learning with my friends who are doing it as well, sporadically, but I want to fill my feed reader (I like Feedly, by the way) with the thoughts of other language learners on a more regular basis. Does anyone have any recommendations?

In which I want a language buddy or three; do you?

Another idea I had was finding some language-learning buddies. It’s relatively easy to find tutors or even coaches (for example, Fluentli is now doing language coaching). But what I’m looking for right now, what feels missing to me, is an arrangement with someone where we could both check in daily on how we’re doing on our languages. I do check in on coach.me daily with a brief note on what I’m doing, but most people there that I connect with aren’t studying languages, or perhaps the platform just isn’t built for the kind of more detailed, one-on-one checkins I’d like to have.

Especially with someone else who’s learning a language: someone who’ll understand how frustrating it feels to yet again have a day slide by without so much as opening up Anki, or someone who conversely can be excited for you when you want to gush about the great conversation exchange you just had. Do other people routinely have that kind of interaction?

I know there are tons of language-learning fora online, but to be honest, I haven’t clicked with any of the ones I’ve seen: they seem too impersonal, too large, too competitive or snide or just plain rude. And even if I did find a home forum, per se, it still might feel nice to have a language-learning buddy and get that mutual support and encouragement.

s having a language buddy something people would find useful? Is there an untapped need for this kind of thing? Should I start some kind of language buddy matchmaking service?! I thought of this randomly last night, after reading Chris Winfield‘s thoughts on why it’s worthwhile to come up with ten ideas every day. And lo, suddenly I had this idea! I realize by posting it here, someone more motivated than I may come along and steal it. To be honest, I’d be pretty okay with that, because it’d mean I could get a buddy without having to set up a system to find one!

But I’m serious, if people think that would be something they’d like to do, please comment or get in touch some other way! Because if there’s a bit of interest, maybe I could just do an informal, small kind of matching: get people to fill out a Google Doc and then pair them up manually. What kind of criteria would be useful in pairing people together? I don’t think people need to match on languages that they’re studying, but it’d probably be good to match vaguely on what kind of support or interaction they’re looking for.

For me, I’d like someone to email daily (maybe using a set list of prompts, at least to start with?), to say, hey, this is how my day felt for French, and German, this is what I did, this is what I struggled with, this is what I’m hoping to do tomorrow, and what do you think about all this? And how was your language day? And we could both encourage each other or possibly offer suggestions or blahblahblah. That sounds really comforting and useful and cozy to me.

… of course, I am pretty good at coming up with ideas sometimes and then just letting them… drop. But we’ll see. Do tell me if you think this is something you’d like to try though!

Edit: I should note that I do NOT think that people need to be studying the same language for them to be good language buddies! After all, we’re still doing the same process: trying to learn a language, and the encouragement and listening is more important — at least the way I’m envisioning it — than being able to offer specific tips related to a language. Someone who uses Anki, but for a different language, can still talk to me about ways to get over slacking off with my flashcards, you know?

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30 comments

    1. Hello! Thanks for commenting. πŸ™‚ I didn’t realize that so many people would assume that language buddies needed to be learning the same language — I’ve edited the post to clarify that I don’t think it’s so important; after all, many strategies are applicable across languages (& obviously so is cheerleading!).

      Anyway, hello! Can you tell me something about who you are, what/how you’re studying, what you’re looking for with a language buddy? Are you happy to be a buddy for someone not studying your language?

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  1. This buddy system is an excellent idea. This is where genius and small business are born: generating thoughts like this. It’s very exciting!

    Language-learning is still not back in a top spot on my priority list, and I don’t feel I have the space to step into a (daily) language-buddy system right now, yet I absolutely find it appealing for when I am able to return to Spanish, Italian, ASL, French, or to add a new language experience to my life. I will watch this space for news!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ellen, you’ve got so much on right now, it’s not surprising something has to take a back seat! Hopefully someday when you’re ready you can get back into it. Also gosh, so many languages in your brain, that’s cool! πŸ™‚ (& ha, yes, we can speak French maybe??? Mine has gotten so horribly rusty — easier for me to read Harry Potter than to formulate sentences in actual speech at the moment, I’m afraid… !!!)

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  2. I think this would be a wonderful idea!!! I would be happy to be your language buddy for Japanese, and if anyone is interested, also Chinese and Korean πŸ™‚

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    1. Hi Hannah, that’s super! I should clarify I don’t think language buddies need to be learning the same language (I edited the post to talk a bit about this) — at least for me, I feel like people are going to be using a lot of the same strategies, regardless of language, & can certainly encourage each other! That said, of course if people find others who are learning the same language & want to pair up, that’s cool — I just wouldn’t want anyone to feel like they had to (& this way, also someone who’s learning a language that no one else is could still play along). Would you be willing to buddy up w/someone not learning a language that you are studying?

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    1. πŸ™‚ I hope people come along & give us blog suggestions!

      I didn’t realize (& have edited the post to clarify this) that people would be assuming language buddies should be studying the same language — for me, at least, I don’t think that’s necessary, as we still understand what it’s like to study a language, probably use at least some of the same strategies, & can still cheerlead for each other!

      I wasn’t sure from your comment if you were interested in language buddies at the moment or not — if so, please do let me know if you’d be interested in someone who’s not learning the same language!

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      1. I’m so busy with summer semester and work that I dont think I would be able to email every day. Sorry Dx Tho I wish I could because a language buddy would help with motivation.

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        1. No worries! Though I did just make up a Google Form for people to sign up (linked here: https://compassionatelanguage.wordpress.com/2015/07/05/sign-up-for-language-buddies-and-why-things-are-a-little-hectic-around-here/ ) &, because of your comment, I put a question asking how often people wanted to touch base with their language buddy — it might be that other people might just want to talk to their buddy once a week, or something, you know? So if that sounds feasible for you, I hope you’ll consider signing up. Good luck with summer semester and work!!

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  3. For a while now I’ve been thinking of starting a blog to keep track of my language-learning progress, but I was afraid it might be a very lonely thing to do. Your buddy system could be a very interesting alternative!

    I’d be happy to become your buddy, especially since we have languages in common: I’m a French native speaker learning German (between B1 and B2 if you use the CEFR) with some Japanese and ASL on the side.

    The Google Doc idea should be enough to begin with. Do you use Tumblr? There’s a large language-learning community there and I’m sure your idea would be successful – and might already have been implemented.

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    1. Hi Lueur, thanks for your comment! I agree, sometimes writing a blog can feel a bit like a solo endeavor (though if you do start one please drop the link here!). I don’t think language buddies need to have languages in common (sorry if you already saw my edit in the post saying so — not sure if I edited the post before you read it!) but when it happens it probably helps! πŸ™‚

      I don’t use Tumblr, I’m afraid — the format really doesn’t work for me (I find it really difficult to follow conversations there, especially when multiple people start replying & reblogging — their ‘threading’ is terrible!). I know there are language-learning communities on there & it’d be nice to be able to link up w/them or tap into them, but the platform just doesn’t work for me (I’ve tried, alas — I use a number of other platforms but that one just doesn’t click w/my brain!). If you use Tumblr feel free to mention this over there though, of course. πŸ˜‰

      I wasn’t sure people would be interested in this language buddy idea, now I have to give some more thought to coordinating, eep! πŸ™‚

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  4. Hello,
    I’ve been thinking about having a language buddy for a long time. Because it’s a bit tricky for me to keep motivated and learning alone.
    Your buddy system is interesting. And I’d like to be your language buddy, if you don’t mind.
    I’m Korean native speaker, learning Polish(B1-B2 level) and Portuguese(A2-B1 level). I also know a little bit of French.
    I’m very into learning languages, so I don’t mind having buddies who are learning others.

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  5. This sounds like a really great idea. Even as language bloggers, it can be hard to find people with shared interests to connect with on a day to day basis to motivate one another and check in on progress.

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    1. Thanks Shannon! I agree, sometimes it can be difficult to find people to check in with — maybe partly because there are so many language-learning blogs, forums, etc. that it can be harder, perversely, to find individuals to connect with? (I’ve put up a form for people to sign up linked off this post now — https://compassionatelanguage.wordpress.com/2015/07/05/sign-up-for-language-buddies-and-why-things-are-a-little-hectic-around-here/ — here’s hoping I can get this off the ground πŸ™‚ )

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    1. Hi Rob, that’s really cool! I really like the idea of YouTube videos for progress (except for my inherent embarrassment at having my terrible accent/grammar stuck up there for all to see… that and me trying to stay pseudonymous with this blog…).

      I’ve put a Google Form for people to sign up for language buddies in this post — https://compassionatelanguage.wordpress.com/2015/07/05/sign-up-for-language-buddies-and-why-things-are-a-little-hectic-around-here/ — in case you’re interested!

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  6. I think the buddy system might not only keep me motivated with my studies, but also be helpful when I’m struggling with my self study materials or italki tutors.

    Also, having a language buddy might encourage me to actually keep up a blog. I keep starting one and giving up, because the people following me aren’t language nerds.

    Please keep us posted if you find a way to set this up, or maybe just make a blog circle for us to check in on one another?

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    1. I definitely struggle with assimilating the info I get during italki sessions, sigh… which is doubly annoying because I generally like them!

      I’ve put up a Google Form linked off this post: https://compassionatelanguage.wordpress.com/2015/07/05/sign-up-for-language-buddies-and-why-things-are-a-little-hectic-around-here/ Please do sign up! πŸ™‚

      And could you let me know what you mean by a blog circle? I don’t actually know, but I feel like I should… ???

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      1. Hey, blog circle is probably a really old term that isn’t used anymore. It’s basically a bunch of like minded bloggers linking to each other’s blogs, and keeping in contact through comments and such. It predates Twitter, which might be why it’s not really a thing anymore. Or maybe it has a new, cooler name I haven’t heard of?

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  7. I want a language buddy! It will help me learn different things about the language that are helpful. So if anyone language lover, out there wants, that wants to help me on my journey or vice versa, that would be great!

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  8. That’s a really nice ideia. I do think the same way you do: “[…]they seem too impersonal, too large, too competitive or snide or just plain rude.” and I’ve been trying to find a language buddy system for a time tho. Well, thanks to Twitter and the retweet from DW – Learn German, I’ve found this post! πŸ˜€

    Like

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