July 27, 2014 | Persian

A New Language-Exchange Partner finally produced a native Persian speaker for me in New York!

One of my problems as a language learner is that I really like reading books about language and at times have trouble making myself go out in the world.

I am reading some eight different books about Persian right now. I’m not kidding.

My Oldest Book

My Oldest Book

My Newest Book

My Newest Book

They include Basic Persian (Routledge), Persisch für Anfänger (Buske, which is a German publisher), Le Persan (Assimil), Persian Grammar (Cambridge University Press), Corso di lingua persiana (which is in Italian, from Hoepli), and a brand new book from Bahar Books in New York called Essentials of Persian Grammar: Concepts and Exercises.

I should probably finish one.

Anyway, because I’m not talking enough, my speaking progress is negligible. I posted something on months ago, indicating I was looking for a conversation partner here in New York. The offer was my English for their Persian.

Over a couple of months I received about 25-30 messages offering help. Not one of the people actually lived here. Until a few weeks ago, that is, when I finally heard from a charming young student who was in fact here! In the city!

I like talking in person more than electronically, is the thing. I don’t much enjoy Skype.

This Persian Cucumber Was Recently for Sale at My Local Grocery Store. I Bought It and Ate It.

This Persian Cucumber Was Recently for Sale at My Local Grocery Store. I Bought It and Ate It.

Anyway, the student and I exchanged messages and arranged to meet on a Friday. I was waiting for him in a café when he materialized.

Surprise! It wasn’t a he. It was a she!

It is hard to recognize the gender of names in other languages.

Our sessions so far have been extremely helpful. I have a children’s book from Bahar Books, called Our Earth, and we started reading it together.

I read about clouds, and wind, and sun, and light, and no light. It was fantastic.

When I am studying a language very different from my native English, human interaction is extremely helpful. Otherwise I can end up doing crazily wrong things, in terms of pronunciation, or writing, or vocabulary. And there will be no one around to tell me.

Comments (2)

Lindsay Dow • Posted on Tue, July 29, 2014 - 7:26 am EST

I really need to try and find someone in “real-life” for some language exchange. It’s so nice to have some actual screen free contact!

Claire • Posted on Sun, August 10, 2014 - 5:49 pm EST

Yes, sometimes you need to just meet a person face to face. My town has an ‘international club’ where you can go along on a Monday night and do a language speed dating kind of thing. Great way to practice, but hard to find unusual languages at these events.

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