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For the Sake of Conversation November 20, 2007

Posted by Edwin in English, Motivation, Speaking.

Keith left me a comment on my previous post, asking why I would join so many language-exchange networks. In fact, I am not quite sure if I know the answer. May be they are free, or perhaps I keep joining new ones simply because none of them has met my expectations.

When I look back at all my attempts to establish a language exchange relationship in the past, I have never talked to the same person more than 3 times. The relationship just does not last long. For example, I have talked with the legendary Ziad Fazah 3 times so far, but we have not been talking since 2 weeks ago. May be Steve was right. Here is the quote again from his recent podcast:

“It is very difficult to have a conversation just for the sake of having a conversation with someone that you aren’t necessarily interested in having a conversation with.”

I have a friend whose English is always poor despite living in Canada for a decade or so. Over the years, I have suggested her to work on her English by watching more TV, reading more books, or less preferably attending boring classes. None of my suggestions interested her. She just did not have the motivation.

Recently, I noticed her English has improved, not drastically but noticeably. I found out that she had joined an MLM network. She was on calls all the times, may be 2 hours every other day. She had to speak to a few native English speakers. They were her trainers. In her case, she did not arrange the conversations just for the sake of having them. She was highly motivated to speak with those people. She had a real purpose behind those conversations.

I hope she will not lose too much on her adventurous business. Even if she does, she might as well consider the money was well spent on improving her English skills.



1. Keith - November 22, 2007

I agree with Steve’s quote. Although, there are people who can carry on a conversation just for the sake of hearing their own voice.

I’m worried about being just like the friend you mention. I know I need to read more and to read a lot. I think I waste away a lot of time on the computer.

2. Edwin - November 23, 2007

What is wrong with her? 🙂

Now, she is improving her English. At the same time, she is enjoying the process. She does not feel being forced.

We should find some activities we like to do, and at the same time we can improve our language skills. This way, we won’t be making up conversation just for the sake of having one.

3. An Innovative Way to Practice Conversations « Tower of Confusion - January 10, 2008

[…] It is purposeful (you don’t carry out a conversation just for the sake of carrying out a conversation) […]

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