Learning a language can be hard… and meeting with a stranger can be scary at first!

Johnson Yao

Johnson, a native English speaker, is one of Lexody’s top users, learning Mandarin. So, we asked him some questions about how he is learning Mandarin, and got some tips on how to have a great Lex (Language Exchange)!



What language(s) are you learning, and how long have you been studying those language(s)?

I am learning Chinese and I am studying through talking to Chinese people whose native language is Chinese as well as listening to Chinese music and sometimes watching Chinese shows and reading some things online.


Why are you learning Chinese?

I want to be more in tune with my Chinese culture. I feel like as a Chinese American, I am like half and half. My parents want me to keep my Chinese traditions but I was brought up in an American culture. I wish to embrace more of my Chinese culture, learn more about it and date a Chinese girl because I want to keep in tact with my ancestral roots.


Tell everyone how you typically study. Do you have any good tips, suggestions, apps, etc you think other learners would also like?

I feel like speaking and learning with an actual person is the best way because you are using all these things you have learned. I mean studying from the books is good too but one has to actually implement these ideas and use them to actually succeed. Reading but not implementing is bad. Take action.

Do you have a favorite book and movie, in Chinese?

Yes I do, the movie is called “Our Times”. The movie is about high school years in China and the romance that is involved in those years. It is such a beautiful love story.


Since you have been on a Lex (Language Exchange), do you have any suggestions for Lexody members who have not been on a Lex yet?

Be confident. If not, fake it. I do admit it is scary and so intimidating when meeting someone you barely know. But do know that the feelings you are experiencing, the other party most likely is feeling the same exact thing. Be confident, smile a lot, laugh, get to know the other person and be a good listener. We have only two ears and one mouth for a reason. Try not to cut the other person off a lot like I do in my conversations.

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