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querido

How I found Chinese speaking friends online

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querido

1. As always, search Chinese-forums.com for ideas and advice.

2. Registered at italki.

3. I had not yet even added any profile information- gender, age, photo, etc.- so all it knew, I think, was "English- native, Mandarin- beginner, eastern U.S. time zone", when I started receiving friend requests.

4. I accepted the first one (putting off any more for now).

5. We began a text exchange in the italki message system. She gave me her MSN (Windows Live Messenger) ID.

6. I installed the Live Messenger client, friend-requested that ID, and got started (text and audio, no video for now by mutual preference). Seems promising so far.

7. I then *also* started getting friend requests (within the Live Messenger client) from the people *on her contact list*. (I clicked on "reply later" to avoid too much complexity for now.)

-> So, I've seen for myself now that there's plenty of opportunity to find someone who will treat me fairly with regard to "language exchange". For now, I'm very excited to get started talking on the Internet, and if I should ever want an online professional tutor I'll be ready to try that again without having a heart attack from the stress. :-)

The Live Messenger client is linked to an email address @live.com that I've never really used. So, if a "friend" turns out to be some kind of trouble they can spam themselves in there, or be filtered cleanly, or whatever.

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abcdefg

Sounds like good progress. Congratulations!

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Lost in Mong Kok

I've found italki very helpful lately. There are a lot of people on there and some (if you're careful) are happy to do a language exchange over skype. It doesn't compare to face to face chatting, but its a good compromise.

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querido

Thank you abcdefg.

So far... hard work (for both of us I'm sure), in either direction, either language.

Windows Live Messenger audio is fine, delay from China to Eastern U.S. no problem.

I did see the video briefly (before she turned it off as we agreed). It was clear.

On my suggestion we did English today. I quickly figured out these things:

1) What is needed from me is slow, simplified speech (like VOA "special English", but slower and simpler). No problem.

2) We will have to exchange some text preparation, as otherwise the lack of vocabulary (both directions, both languages) is a *solid* blockage. O.K.

3) She needs a headset or headphones; she's on a laptop, and she's mis-hearing many consonants.

4) Her Chinese is beautiful and clear, *but I don't think she grasps yet how much I need her to slow down*. I'll send her one of my lesson-audios to demonstrate.

Her English is much better than my Chinese, but her skillset-mix, her weakness, is similar to mine; it appears that her listening/speaking is way behind (I presume) her reading/writing. I'm guessing that this is the most common situation. Working mostly from prepared texts, but then drilling it through the auditory channel, is an exercise that can be done over the internet. And it's free. So, someone who's willing to give-and-take with you fairly is the prized ingredient here. Use trial and error until you find one.

Edit: Yes, Lost in Mong Kok, it's a good compromise.

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Hesham119

Besides what you said you can register a qq account

QQ is the official messenger that all Chinese people use

You can also search for people by region so you can make Chinese friends in your area and hang out with them, I have known so many real Chinese friends and internet friends through QQ

You can register at this link : http://en.emailreg.q...tep1?regtype=1#

and you can download the English qq messenger from here : http://download.tech...ft/17/21/71548/

The Audio and video call quality is quite good

Wish it could be helpful for you :)

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querido
You can also search for people by region

I decided that if the app would pass Windows Security Essentials without a warning, I would try it.

Boom, 10 hits online in my small town/area. I don't have time to make more friends right now, but I thank you for the suggestion. Thanks Hesham119.

Huge day for me. Wow.

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querido

Today we studied Chinese.

I read the lesson-text that I had uploaded (so she knows my level now), and then she drilled me with questions and we spoke back and forth in Chinese over the material.

She reciprocated fully the focus and patience that I gave her yesterday; I wish you such good fortune.

About Windows Live Messenger:

The Windows Live Messenger app (on my computer), and the Windows Live online suite (Hotmail, Messenger, Office, Photos, MSN, etc.), present a confusing collection of windows. But here's what I needed to know and I was relieved to see it: One party places the call and it rings the other party. Once the call is "accept"ed a window pops up, and *the texting box is right there beside the video (if any) in the same popup window*. That's it: Except for typing any clarification into the texting box, it's headphones, mic, eyes closed, and the whole thing happens as though "inside my head". Maybe you don't need that; I do. :-)

As I said, I advised her to find some headphones. She did, and there was no trouble today.

About QQ:

You probably know this is very popular in China. When I texted simply "QQ ##########" to my friend, I received *almost instantly* friending requests from my friend and from one of her classmates, and incidentally, from noone else (no flood of offers that I had imagined). ((Spyware? I'm not going to discuss it, but with corps and govs being as they are today, I doubt I have much more to fear from QQ than from MS, FB, G, etc. Adware? I don't see any excess of ads compared to Live Messenger or Skype.))

O.K. Good luck. :-)

Edit: I'm only adding this to encourage anyone still reading this. I'm finding it very rewarding. Simplifying my own English usage- liberating. *Wanting to communicate in Chinese*, as opposed to a learning experience that has been a disembodied dehumanized exercise (as though it were chess or math)- motivating. Most of you don't need to hear this odd encouragement, as you *want to talk to human beings* automatically. Some of you do need it; I know that for a fact.

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Hesham119

You won't get friend requests unless you give your qq mail to somebody to add you, or some one who was searching randomly then got your QQ

So the best thing You do is search for other people yourself

QQ itself has a search function, you could define the country, age, gender and Language then add some friends

You will find the search button at the bottom

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querido

Thanks again Hesham119.

It turns out that QQ has performed more solidly than Windows Live (in this specific case). Too bad, as I had just gotten used to the interface which is pretty nice (there's a facebook-like environment in there). Two days in a row WL would not connect an audio call, but QQ did, perfectly solidly.

Edit 19MAY11: The audio connection (in our specific case) has been "good enough", not solid. The audio *quality* is good when connected.

I *think* the QQ system also offers integration with this kind of environment (mail, blog, etc), but I'm going to exhaust my capacity to adapt to new software pretty soon.

It's worth it; this language-exchange thing is Solid Gold so far.

Edit, 18MAY11:

Fully "in harness", working as hard as I'm able. My friend wore me out tonight. :-) "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." :-)

Edit, 19MAY11:

If you didn't know this... The texting interface SAVES THE TEXTING SESSION. You can go back and study it, make flashcards, etc. (In our case, even during an audio session we make many clarifications by text.)

Also, in the QQ interface (don't know about the others), making a SCREENSHOT OF A REGION and posting that into the text is very easy; the buttons to click are BUILT-IN, in the texting window! (Recording and adding video appears to be easy also but I didn't try it.)

Video hasn't worked well, either interface. Near zero, actually, so we just do audio.

Edit 21MAY11:

The QQ messenger window will autohide at the top of the screen. Neat.

As others have pointed out, communications- in particular with colleges- have been irregular lately. I've seen that too.

I don't have time to learn the QQ空间 (QQSpaces, fb-equivalent) site. Wish I knew how to delete my posts there though, if it's possible.

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Hesham119

Yes it Has QQ 空间 ( qq space), QQ邮件 ( qq mail), and also has something like twitter called QQ 微博

when you sign up for qq mail you can subscribe to QQ 阅读 which will send you some interesting articles everyday and they will help you increase your vocabulary

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querido

Progress report:

My initial few friends graduated from college, moved, and got jobs. They're busy with other things now.

It's too painful, making and losing friends. They're *only* "internet friends" and I shouldn't take it so seriously? Sorry, I find it sorta devastatingly depressing. A real friend, in person, would be nice. But you know, you can't buy one of those.

If both parties have a daytime schedule, and both "have a life", the 12 hour time difference (from the eastern U.S.) is a problem. Either both ends should maybe commit to a schedule, or you need to have a bigger collection of friends so that someone is probably always there. I'm not comfortable with trying to be fair to multiple friends, with treating them as interchangeable. Just log on and take the first one who rings me? ...regardless of ongoing threads of socialization? ...delicate as they are?

It was a grand experience. Eh, it was unfortunate that they were graduating. I'll probably try again.

Chineseteachers.com too.

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Meng Lelan

"Friends" on the Internet are very very temporary. For a few months they'll really really be into language exchange. This tends to be the case in the summer or during the new year holidays when they can be online all the time. Then they get really really busy with something in the Real Life in the Real World (gf, bf, grad school, job etc). That's the problem with finding Chinese friends online - that is, keeping them.

Chineseteachers.com is a very very good resource by the way.

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darumdarum

also thought about trying QQ to chat, I heard it comes with quite a lot of "other" programs that are installed without asking first and are not good for your operating system...Hesham119, you seem to be quite an expert, any information there?

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Hesham119

Sorry man I have just seen your post

I havent been around here for a while

It asks you if you want to install these programs, theres ( qq 音乐 or qq music it is the best one I think you can search for free songs with lyrics either chinese or English ), qq live it is for watching movies, series online and stuff I dont prefer it as it is streaming is so slow, pps stream and pptv are good, speed is quite good as well, there is also QQ电脑管家 its like some pc manager it deletes cookies and fixes registry and checks if any of the software installed on the pc needs update and updates it automatically i have used it for a while but it was slowing my pc a little bit so I removed it

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calibre2001

Have you tried sharedtalk? It's a good place to find Chinese folks learning English. I get requests to add them as friends often. I've many opportunities to use Chinese (spoken and written) so far. But of course I've found many English bandits too. It's give and take I suppose.

There's a voice chat that shows members free for chatting. This is really good. No special software required for this since the website was designed with older computers in mind. The only downside is the lacking audio quality and bad connection whenever there is plenty of people chatting concurrently. This is where getting a persons QQ/skype/msn becomes useful.

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