https://www.duolingo.com/profile/veyseldoganme

Why is it so hard to find someone to talk in target language?

Well, the topic is pretty clear. Constantly looking for someone who speaks Italian in my case. And I would offer help with their English, as much as I can. In many apps and many websites, I failed to do so. It is so tiring to try to break the ice, reach some point and then stop talking. I've mastered the introduction part of the language, but want to do more.

Normally, I'm not of a boring type so I am sure that although some people didn't like talking to me, I don't think I'm not incapable whatsoever. Back then I was learning English, I was able to find people(my source was interpals) and now we have a friendship of 7 years with some people. But now there are more options, more people but less conversations.

As a man;

Women get too many messages, good portion of which are sexual or irritating in some way, I know. Men, on the other hand, are only interested in women(if they are not gay looking for a partner or close to that) so this language exchange thing seems like evolved(!) to dating. Or at least trials of it.

WhatsApp Groups and derivatives: Nobody speaks after day 2, or the conversations tend to switch into English. And the groups are generally consist of people who "try" to learn the language, not natives so one does not know if the sentences are correct. I personally don't want to learn the wrong way since it is harder to correct something from the mind than learning from scratch.

Anyway, I don't know if it's the right platform and/or the right place to open this topic but I appreciate if you have your unique ways to compete with that fact. Really need some practice but I'm tired of looking for it.

October 16, 2018

34 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/widle

I get the impression that this is the general trouble with penpalling, not even related to languages. Unless you have specific stuff to discuss, conversation dies off. Especially when there's the extra hurdle of language difficulties.

Of course people are different, some are great at small talk (I know I'm not), but it is generally hard to keep conversation going if you don't need to and don't really care about the others because you don't know them yet.

What I would do (what I'm planning to do when I feel ready) is to join a discussion server/platform in my target language, but one with a specific topic, hobby, something I'm interested in. That way there will be something to talk about.

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/veyseldoganme

Thank you for the thoughts. I will try something like that!

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/compsognathus

One of my main hobbies is penpalling. I've been doing it for a long time, and have just recently expanded to international. If you are interested in something like snail mail, check out International Pen Friends. It's reliable (and has been around since the 60s) and although you do have to pay $30, this guarantees that everyone you contact are willing to make friends and learn :)

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Giovanna-Louise

Are they snail mail only or there is an option for email?? I am actually surprised to hear that some people still use "snail" mail.. In today's world of email/text it is so rare.. Also it is not reliable..in Canada where I live there are many postal mail service disruptions that can go on for a while and it does get lost.. Also : have you noticed any difficulties in being able to read other people's handwriting?I am wondering about that..

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/diecidieci

You can also look for penpals on www.postcrossing.com for free. Some people there just want to swap a few postcards but some are looking for longterm penpals.

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/compsognathus

Thank you so much for sharing, that looks awesome!! I'm going to try it out!

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Giovanna-Louise

@diecidieci

!!!I just checked that website postcrossing..I cannot thank you enough for recommending it

..it is simply OUTSTANDING.. so well done..and so many people from all over the world..amazing profiles and stories..and what a big difference with Duolingo..they do allow people to get in touch with each other directly as an option through their secure messaging system..as well as to exchange addresses if people choose to....in addition to forums and such..they have such an amazing concept and so well organised..I will definitely try it out and best thing it is free aside from the mailing costs.. thank you !!

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/diecidieci

@Giovanna-Louise, @compsognathus, @Hubinous, I'm glad you guys like it! :D

I used to be very into postcrossing a few years ago and I only had positive experiences via that website :)

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hubinou

Woaw, that sounds interesting and fun ! Thanks !

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LinnaKaramazov

I used postcrossing in the past and really liked it. I didn't seek penpals on the official postcrossing forum, but I found an independent postcrossing forum/group in my target language - would recommend trying to find such group if you have possibility. Postcrossers tend to be very warmhearted and helpful. :)

October 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Giovanna-Louise

Linna , thank you so much!! I am definitely going to sign up for postcrossing and explore the site.. I noticed that there are many forums on it , as well as there is an option to directly contact the members on their profile page..absolutely marvelous, inspiring and heart warming profiles that I have seen so far, this website seems to attract very special kind of people.. in the age of distrust and superficial communication that I see on so many websites, it is refreshing and absolutely restoring to find such big number of people openly and sincerely making friends with each other and not excluding anyone.. I am very happy to hear that you had such a positive experience on that site..

October 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/widle

When I was looking for penpals (maybe 10 years ago or so) I was also surprised that there are so many snail mail fans. E-mail and typing is faster, editable and everything.

But later when I concentrated on my story writing attempts, I realized how writing by hand is different - yes, slower, but gives you more time to think about it and the results are somehow different. It helped me a few times when I got stuck in a story. I even started to appreciate fountain pens. I suppose it might work similarly for snail mail fans.

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/compsognathus

Personally I really enjoy snail mail because you get to see people's handwriting and writing styles which I find is very interesting if you are communicating with people from other countries! Pretty much all of my pen pals write very legibly, which of course is an important attribute that most people understand and make sure that they do! It gives writing a certain type of character and provides a different story about the person you are communicating with. Also one thing that online pals don't provide is that you can't exchange small things, like stamps, stickers, drawings, postcards, etc. I really enjoy sending and receiving objects from my country or theirs :)

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Giovanna-Louise

this is awesome ,thank you so much indeed..I checked the international pen friends website earlier when you recommended it and found it very interesting..now I have 3 websites to try.. as you maybe saw , the other user (@diecidieci) just recommended postcrossing.com also an outstanding website that allows the kind of exchange of cards, and gifts/letters that you just mentioned ..

Did you make some lasting friendships through pen friends? wishing you all the best!

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/compsognathus

Of course, hope it helped! I did see, I'm going to check that one out too!! It looks really cool and an awesome learning opportunity!

I currently have a pen pal who lives about 12 hours away from I am in the US, and we have been pals for the past 5 years or so! I actually recently just got back into the hobby and have some more across the US and some in Europe with who I hope to stay in touch for as long as possible! ;) It's a lot of fun, and definitely is not as popular as it used to be, but thankfully the internet gives us good access to find others who are also interested in it! :D

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Giovanna-Louise

that is great to hear..and it is amazing that you found such long term friends and even one so close to where you live.. I have to thank you for the encouragement , I hesitated about pen friendship before but i will start on it and will try these websites now for sure.. yes it is interesting that actually thanks to the internet we can find penfriends all over the world..it is all connected.. have a great time and best wishes!

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Giovanna-Louise

just curious, have you ever tried conversationexchange.com? A lot of Duolingo moderators recommend this site.. it is a very good website specifically for penpal purposes in languages..there are very good profiles of people and the website staff at least try to weed out those who might use it for other purposes (i.e. dating) ,those get deleted.. Of course there never are guarantees, and i have not tried it myself yet but just by scanning/speed reading through the profiles I had a good fisrt imprerssion..you can search by languages, countries, cities, age, interests etc.. they do not disclose your email and they have their own chat..

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/veyseldoganme

Never heard, never tried. But will do. I'm using Tandem app, they do the same about dating spamming accounts. Not that bad, but no luck for now. I do care about people's profile and talk accordingly, yet as I said women are too bored of messages and men are not bored about sending those and not answering men. Still, will try it out. Thank you!

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Giovanna-Louise

you are very welcome, good luck, buona fortuna!

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sea-mist

just signed up to there after seeing that mail and did my first letters in German and now hoping to get back replies. It looked like a good site. I even quickly was able to find someone who has all the same interests as me to write too

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Giovanna-Louise

that is great to hear ,I am now considering to make time for this website and to sign up as well start mailing....yes some of the profiles there are very well written and give you a pretty good idea.. good luck to you with your new friends!

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kangarooqueen

Yes this is an exceedingly common problem. When I began with Russian, I tried making friends through apps like HelloTalk, but yeah beyond introductions and really superficial conversation there isn't much to gain from it.

Thus, I reached 2 conclusions: 1. I need to go to a messageboard or something based on a topic/hobby that interests me so I can make friends (or as others have said, so there will always be something to talk about) 2. This language partner must not know/be studying English - in my experience, whenever you become actual friends with someone whose native language is different than yours, you end up 'defaulting' to the language that the one of you is stronger in (generally speaking, that ends up being English).

Thus I went and made a VK account (Russian FaceBook) and joined a bunch of hobby groups and introduced myself and started chatting. It was amazing practice and I ended up making friends, with whom I now play videogames on the regular in voice chat, which inevitably led to lots and lots of talking!

Making a friend generally needs to happen organically; if you expand beyond platforms specifically for language exchange though you'll, ironically, find an abundance of varied conversation to be had

October 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/veyseldoganme

I wanted to reply this one exclusively. Awesome idea! Messageboard and hobby group ideas are worth to try. I will try them as soon as possible!

October 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Songve

I go where the native speakers are. In the US you can find expats from just about any country. You may want to look up "Italian social clubs" in your area and check them out. Keep an eye out for social events. For the language I am studying, I use the language at social events at Vietnamese Pagodas where the public is welcome. Vietnamese restaurants. Nail salons. I even had an interesting and humorous encounter at the drug store with a Vietnamese pharmacist. For people and areas where no one knows me, I'll start out with simply smiling and saying hello. If they say, "Oh, you know Vietnamese." then I know I may not be imposing myself on them and have a little conversation. I have made many acquaintances and friends. Next month I will be traveling with some to Vietnam to spend six months totally immersed in the language and culture. Maybe I will forget how to speak English?

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/veyseldoganme

That's the best thing to do for sure! I don't think there are much Italians here, but will check it out!

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/veyseldoganme

Everybody, thank you for your valuable comments! I considered them all, and I am definitely going to try to see new horizons based on the ideas.

After posting this, I had an idea to solve the problem. As a pilot zone, I used interpals again because it's almost dead(still good but compared to past) nowadays. Anyway, I opened an account AS A GIRL, found a stock photo on google and wrote my bio that I'm only interested in learning Italian. I wrote that I'm from Belgium. The results are... fantastic! In one day, I reached the same profile page view number of my 7 years-ish account IN 1 DAY. That's pure madness! Got too many messages. Had to block some countries and people. But the best thing is people(my own sex, men in particular) always have a desire to speak. They correct me without even asking for it, I don't have to break the iceand do a long introduction because they already have broke the ice.

Blame me if you wish, but I get what I want and they are happy. The only downside is I can't give my number and/or establish a long term friendship but I think the fact that I'm constantly learning something compensates that. So, a tragic and funny way for those who would like to improve their languages!

Beware! There is a fake Belgian girl around you on interpals! :P

October 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YarkoRab

Hello, if you want to join a group of people studying Italian, talking and writing every day, using multiple languages in the process join my club on "discord". Install the app, send me your discord code which looks like that, eg. veyseldogamne#2134, print it here, and tonight we will be talking Italian. We have members from around the world with a couple of helpful Italians. After sending your code, delete your post with it. If you wish, ci vediamo dopo ... Saluti!

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Giovanni0604

You're right, I think, about the messages. I am also male, and although I would never do such a thing, I can imagine it must be hard for some women to find a language learning partner, with all the drama going on nowadays. It's sad that there are some people out there trying to make language-learning sexual.

I am also in agreement about the WhatsApp groups. Often times, you have people that know almost none of the language - and you end up seeing a lot of wrong sentences. There isn't much of a point to practicing unless with a native speaker.

I understand your frustration and wish you luck. Keep learning, friend! :D

October 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AWSMDEWD

My suggestion is to find some people with similar interests. I have a few online friends, and we share at least one common interest; rubik's cubes, gaming, or memes. I don't know what types of things you like to do, but try to find someone who does what you do. You'll be able to find a connection with them and become friends

October 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JohannesGenberg

Maybe you should give the phone app Amikumu a shot :)

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/francois1908

It goes almost same for me. I study and practise some languages but to be frank till now, there is only one Japanese friend keeps doing exchanging language with me, it has been 3 years.

Some other friends talk to me quite much in very first days but later talks reduce and finally, as you say, come into English conversation which we are both familiar and good at.

I am studying Spanish now but my skills are not much improved compared to starting point 10 months ago. I finish my test on Duo each day and that is all, almost no reading no listening in real life. I usually find some movies, kids cartoons on Youtube for listening skill but if i talk direct to someone face to face now, i dont know how far i can go...

October 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cymas86

On here, add the learning English from Italian language course. Now you can see the Italian forum and talk to native speakers learning English. If it's anything like Portuguese, you'll be able to find Discord/other chat links from people looking to practice. Or just post there and ask for an exchange partner.

It helps to list some of your hobbies and interests so you know you'll have some common conversation topics. Soccer is pretty universal outside of the US, if I want to talk to a Brazilian for example I ask them who their team is and there you go, instant conversation lol.

October 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/veyseldoganme

Noted, will be tried!

October 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/astrcncmy

I, personally, began learning German because that's my boyfriend's original language. He assists me with it, and that's my way of penpalling, I guess. Find some Italian groups online! I don't really have much to say, but find someone who can assist your learning.

October 17, 2018
Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.