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phone pals

foreign language speakers on tap
  (+17, -1)(+17, -1)
(+17, -1)
  [vote for,
against]

Say, you're learning a foreign language and you want to practise talking to a native speaker, but you don't know anyone. Time to dial Phone-pals!

It would be a database of non-english speakers who don't mind being phoned up at home 24 hours a day to talk to a complete stranger speaking their language very badly. Of course, the person being called would receive a cut of the phone call cost, and so would try to be as interesting as possible to maximise the call length. Making a call would put you through to a random person from the stated category, e.g "someone with a strong mid-Catalan accent".

Okay, so initially the database would be small, and so callers may initally be put through to random people in the phonebook who might get quite annoyed, but hey, you have to start somewhere, and you probably wouldn't understand their insults in any case.

slancaster, May 17 2001

skype language buddy http://www.language..._ID=330&FORUM_ID=11
[beanangel, Oct 03 2007]

[link]






       *prostrates himself in awe*
absterge, May 17 2001
  

       This is actually a superb idea, and - call-centre technology being what it is - would be eminently bakeable. However you'd have to beware of malicious (or just surreal) people who would translate 'Would you please direct me to the library' to 'My hovercraft is full of eels' (as baked on Monty Python).
angel, May 17 2001
  

       Perhaps you could incorporate an eBay-style feedback system somehow... When (if) you realize your leg is being pulled, you press the pound button, which is recorded by the database. When someone gets three pound-presses they're booted from Phone-pals. Remember, anyone calling Phone-pals in the first place will have to have a passing knowledge of the language already, and might know the difference between a statement and a question, if not the difference between "library" and "eels."   

       By the way, I think this idea has already been put into use overseas, because I have already gotten strange calls at bizarre hours from people who couldn't speak English...
ejs, May 21 2001
  

       Waves to fellow Unvolunteers.
thumbwax, Jan 14 2002
  

       I've got to say this is a stellar idea. This would not only allow people to learn a language better but also it would probably foster some sort of understanding of other culters who knows it could make the world a better place
Piper7865, Apr 05 2003
  

       un croissant, providing the service is extended to all foreign languages, no need for this to be an anglophonophilic service.
neilp, Aug 14 2003
  

       This happens everytime you call the help desk in India.
LabRat, Aug 15 2003
  

       (puts up hand)... I speak Canadian!
Cedar Park, Aug 15 2003
  

       I speak Cheerleader.   

       Beat that!   

       And goooo team!
rooney, Oct 25 2003
  

       I don't wanna brag but i speak a pretty good Jiberish "Huckto novably zecter rumbanto"...That Jibberish for "I like this Idea"
Mind_Boggle, Oct 25 2003
  

       i love it. and how about if they make extra money for pretending you speak the language real well...
aquamarine, Oct 26 2003
  

       I talk Texan, Swedish, poco español e italiano! Tho not all at once. Hovercrafts is "svävare" in swedish, just in case someone calls and asks.
stringstretcher, Nov 04 2003
  

       Is swedish Svedish in swedish? That would just make my day. I'm giving a croissant, despite my one problem - I'm learning Latin! Then again...people who speak Latin professionally probably aren't all that busy...
inc_b, Nov 05 2003
  

       "A frog? In which bidet?" +
Detly, Nov 05 2003
  

       I speak wondertongue   

       working on my simlish though
beanangel, Oct 15 2007
  
      
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