Does anyone have advice for keeping a conversation going with a language partner. I've been studying German for 6 weeks, twice a week at night school. So my vocabulary is quite small and apart from asking a few basic questions my German runs out quite quickly.

So the types of things I'm looking for are, worksheets that we can discuss, perhaps games etc.

Or any advice on how to get going would be great.

  • 5
    Do you mean "language partner" as in "fellow student of German" or as in "native German speaker studying English, so you can help each other"?
    – elena
    Nov 9, 2012 at 13:45
  • Wie wäre es damit in den passenden Foren Beiträge deutscher Teilnehmer auf Chatebene zu erarbeiten. sorry, in case of off topic ...
    – bummi
    Nov 11, 2012 at 17:53
  • @elena native German speaker studying English
    – Ian Purton
    Nov 12, 2012 at 9:49

3 Answers 3


I had language partner in France (the program was called Tandem there) and I feel the whole purpose of such a program is speaking the foreign language. It's especially well-suited for learning daily life phrases and expressions that you don't find in books or films (I think even movies have their "own" language). That's why we often talked about customs of the respective foreign culture. You should aks your partner how to say this and that in certain situations. And it's always great fun to exchange cliches about the foreign country and their people. Here are some suggestions:

Wie feiert man in Deutschland eigentlich Weihnachten?

Wieviel Trinkgeld gibt man in einem Restaurant?

Wo würdest du typisch deutsche Geschenke für meine Freunde in [your home country] kaufen?

Was sage ich, wenn mir jemand auf den Fuß tritt und sich dafür entschuldigt?

Sind die Deutschen eigentlich wirklich so ordentlich wie alle sagen?

Talking about grammar is more difficult and I would not recommend it in this setting. Most native speakers have difficulties to explain their native language in formal terms because it's just natural for them.

Discussing politics and the news is also interesting but requires an advanced level.

Oh, and when it comes to games, I remember one that I loved to play as a child. It's called "Ich sehe 'was, das du nicht siehst". It's for two players. One player randomly picks an object in the surrounding not telling the other player what it is. She/he only reveals the color of the object:

Ich sehe 'was, das du nicht siehst und das ist blau.

Then the other player has to guess what it is:

Die Handtasche der Frau? - Nein.

Die Zeitschrift auf dem Nachbartisch? - Nein.

Mein T-Shirt? - Ja!

Like this you can learn vocabulary of everyday-life and you don't need anything to play it.

  • Thanks. "Ich sehe 'was, das du nicht siehst" is a great idea I can see that working quite well.
    – Ian Purton
    Nov 13, 2012 at 7:05

You might want to have a look at school books. At some points, they might be too easy but overall you should be fine. Also, watching films in German can be of much help, especially with movies you already know in English – you should try not to die right away, though, because of the synchronisation. Watching them with German subtitles could also improve your reading skills and shows you how the words being said are written.

I made good experience with pen pals when I wanted to improve my English. There are plenty portals on the Internet where you can find other people speaking, in your case, German and English.

  • Reading books or watching movies with a language partner? I don't think this is a good idea if you want to make conversation. Or did you mean reading the book before meeting and than talking about it?
    – Deve
    Nov 11, 2012 at 16:19
  • @Deve He also asked about “any advice to get going”. My main advice was to use school books. But for learning on his own, movies and the other opportunities I recommended might be interesting for him, as well. Nov 11, 2012 at 17:53

How about chatting about the stuff that's currently interesting in your lives? That might be something personal, some sports event, a newspaper article or anything else. If you're looking for a newspaper, try bild.de. It's as bad as German journalism gets, but it's also as basic (or rather primitive) as German language gets.

This kind of conversation is usually the primary thing you'll use whenever you meet a native speaker. So if that's why you're learning the language, this might be a good way to stay engaged.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.