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Tips For Writing To An English Pen Pal

By Yann, published on 28/12/2018 We Love Prof - AU > Languages > ESOL (English) > How To Find An English Pen Pal

Making friends with native speakers of the English language will give you the opportunity to practice your English no matter what level you are. Practice as the saying goes, makes perfect and this is very right when it comes to ESOL speakers of different native languages. There are lots of ways to communicate you can write a letter in English, message people online, go to meet up groups.

The best way to learn a language is to practice it! How do I know this? Well, let’s think about how you acquired your mother tongue. By the age of 3 or 4 years old, you could communicate in your native language. Did you have language lessons to be able to do that? No! You learnt to speak the language organically. Granted it did take years of intense immersion in hearing your native language all around you. For you to pull that off but using a similar practice you could receive very similar results.

The Difference Between Formal And Informal Letters: How To Write A Letter

All letters in English should be polite, clear and concise. Formal letters or professional letters often come in the form of writing a business letter, cover letter, thank you letters, resignation letter, complaint letter and even business email. They all come under business communication and have a set formatted style which includes using set greetings such as sir or madam, dear sir or madam, and to whom it may concern.

With set closing remarks such as sincerely, faithfully, yours sincerely and yours faithfully. All professional letters in business letter format should show your full name, your return address and have great grammar, punctuation and spelling. If the letter is for your professional development, for example, a cover letter or resume, you should make such that you are proofreading each part carefully.

Make a plan in English Time to communicate with native English speakers. Photo Source: Unsplash

Informal letters or personal letters, however, are very different and have much fewer rules and structure compared to formal letters. While you will still add your name and address. You have much more creative control with informal letters. You can start your letter with dear, hi, hello or anything thing else. If you are sending an email you can write in the subject line a clue about the contents of the letter.

While having great grammar and spelling is important even in casual letters when you write a letter to a friend it is up to you how you write. The most important thing is that you are understood.

It is suggested that while ESL students are working to improve their writing skills that they try to write in a semi-formal and structured way. Whichever kind of letter you want to write you should always write by addressing the subject, always sign off at the end of the letter, sign your name and include proofreading.

The Benefit Of Making English Friends

Knowing how to speak the English language is an indispensable skill these days. It helps you to communicate while travelling, to get access to great jobs, progress at work, and to make new friends. English is the universal language which is essential to have some knowledge of especially if you won’t have access to a global world.

Have fun talking with a English friend. Communicating means that you can be understood. Photo Source: Unsplash

Choosing to speak with a native English speaker to correct and improve your English is an excellent way to become more fluent and concrete the language in your mind.

Make Your Goal To Learn The Language

A good reason to choose to have correspondence with a native English person for your language learning. Is to realise that speaking English often with this person will help you to become more confident when speaking the language. Sometimes when you are studying, it can be tedious but having active conversations with friendly people. Makes the process of learning much more interesting.

You can discuss anything, in fact, the more fun you have, the easier it will be for you to learn. Do you want to talk about movies, your favourite foods, tv shows or your favourite music? Bringing hobbies into your conversation definitely makes them more memorable.

Learn The Language As It’s Spoken

Learning English with a native English speaking friend is an opportunity to learn how English people speak. Do be careful however of picking up slang and location dependant English which may not be understood universally. If you write letters often you can use a letter template which will speed up the process.

Although English is just one language, it is spoken in many different ways with many accents all around the world. For example in the united states of America They call ‘pants’ what in the United Kingdom is called ‘Trousers’, the word ‘pants’ in the UK is actually underwear.

So try to be sure that you use awareness when making friends with native English speakers in other countries and that you understand that if you are not understood that it may not be because you are an ESOL speaker or because of your English level but because of your wording.

When you plan to use your English skills in the place that you learn it, then learning English as it is spoken is very powerful.

Discover A Culture

English is spoken as a first language natively in many countries such as the UK, Canada, United States, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland. Also as a second language in many other countries too. No matter where your language exchange comes from in the world, you will have the ability to discover their tastes but also their way of life.

Gastronomy, music, history, you will become an expert on the country of your new friend. Perhaps you can go to their country to visit them and take the opportunity to discover more about their culture country on the spot. An excellent opportunity to enjoy a cultural holiday!

Where To Find A Native English Speaking Pen Pal?

If you hope to start communicating with a native English speaker, you must first focus on finding the ideal person, someone who suits your personality that is serious about working with you to help you in the development of your English language skills. When you are learning English as an ESOL person, you need to make sure that you are clear about what it is that you need help with so that you can select the right English speaker to support your learning.

There are lots of places that you can meet people who would be happy to speak with you in English virtually or in person. There are are also organised groups which can make it easy for you to meet native English teachers or people willing to support your English language learning.

On Social Networks

All social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, are perfect ways to find a person on the other side of the world who will be willing to speak with you in their English mother tongue. Facebook groups are also sometimes formed to help ESOL students or support those learning English.
You can also find a pen pal in a hobby group, this is a great way as you will have something in common with your them.

At School

The school is also a perfect opportunity to find an English friend. Some teachers organise school trips to English-speaking countries.  Native English speakers are then assigned to each of you so that you get to live a week at home with an English family. This is a sort of life exchange, and this can be very powerful to surround yourself with people who are speaking the target language that you hope to learn.

Online Language Apps

Online language apps are very popular, and most of them are free to download and use. Not all language apps but many of them have a social part of the app where native speakers can help to correct your work on the app. There are also groups that you can join, and you can also socialise around this topic.

In this case, native English speakers may be interested in learning a language and offer to support people in their language in exchange for help for themselves. This kind of online language exchange is very popular, and it can also make it very easy to meet people who have the same kind of mindset.

Skype And Other Similar Messenger Or VOIP Apps

In the time of being genuinely technological, you have access to everything and can communicate in almost any way that you can imagine. VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol ) apps which allows you to make phone calls through the internet are great for making a connection you with native English speakers. You can organise appointments on Skype to work on your oral expression and your comprehension. This is a compelling way to use communication etiquette help you to express yourself in English more easily.

Snail Mail: Writing Physical Letters

The more letters or mail you write, the more you will learn to make complex sentences. This is a great way to build up your writing skills and enable you to write more complex texts in English in the future such as essays, dissertations or even a book. This skill will also be helpful to help you gain confidence in making a written application for jobs or opportunities in English.

Be aware however that informal writing is very different to formal writing in English. So you should bear that in mind when writing more formal English text.

How To Progress With A Native English Friendship

Having fun with your English-speaking pen pal is good, but is it really effective? There is no easy answer to that as what works for you as you learn languages really just depends on you and how you personally like to learn and what you find a more natural method to absorb the maximum language information.

How To Get Started?

Everything will depend on you and your motivation for leaning. Of course, the responsiveness of your English friend also weighs in the balance of how you organise your time and learning.

To be effective, you should review your English meetings and ensure that you both set goals and expectations for what will come from the meetings. Each meeting you could agree to learn one new verb tense or learn a new notion. For example, you could choose to focus on adjectives, pronouns and pluperfect for the first month or until you feel confident with it.

How To Structure The Meetings?

It is generally advised, that although the classes are a casual friend like meetings, that you should take it seriously and make extensive notes which you can review at a later time. When you try to reread the notes from a meeting, you will be reminded you of the basic rules.

You can also ask your Native English speaking friend to teach you one or two English expressions each time. They will then follow this plan and will explain it in English which will be very advantageous. If you prefer to have less structure, you can just meet your friend to have a chat and have them correct your verbal (voice chat) and written (text chat) mistakes.

Remember that some expressions from your native language cannot be translated into English but it is delicious to try to be creative and try new ways of saying things so that you can find your authentic expression. Learning a  language does not mean that you get everything right straight away, but it also means discovering a new way of thinking and communicating.

How Often Should You Correspond In English?

There is not necessarily a rule for how often you will communicate with your English friend. Everyone goes at their own pace, and there is no point in putting pressure on yourself or on your friendship. The goal is above all to have fun talking with a friend.

Trips to English-speaking countries Impromptu English lessons are a great opportunity to advance your English. Photo Source: Unsplash

But in saying that, it is evident that a letter or two to the year will not help you to make much progress. It is necessary to have meetings regularly, but it is up to you to discuss it with your Native English speaking friend and make a plan so that you are on the same wavelength.

Today with social networks you do not have to have big long conversations if you don’t want to and you don’t have to wait for the letter to arrive in the mailbox. Your correspondence can turn into real friendship giving you the chance to have a more extended meeting or maybe you will correspond a little each day.

Remember that communicating means that you can be understood, don’t get caught in the trap of wasting time trying to be perfect because within a short time frame perfection is not attainable for the vast majority of people. If you can make your overall goal to be able to communicate with native English speakers, you will reach your goal much faster and have much more fun on the journey. These impromptu English lessons are a great opportunity to advance your English.

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