Hotel talk good idea – in any language

A SCOTTISH hotelier has come up with a novel solution to the problems faced by people struggling to learn a foreign language – cafe conversations.

Jonathan Day, who owns Sopranos St Magnus Court Hotel in Aberdeen city centre, has established a language exchange website aimed at uniting English speakers trying to master a foreign language with members of the city’s diverse international community who want to develop their English.

Participants are then invited to get together over a coffee or a drink in the hotel’s bistro, where they are given conversation plans to help structure the sessions – and an alarm clock to ensure that one language is not allowed to dominate the conversation.

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Day set up the free language exchange service after witnessing an “explosion” in the number of people from other parts of the world flocking to Europe’s oil capital in search of work.

He said: “We have had an explosion in the number of people coming to Aberdeen from eastern Europe, the Baltic countries and elsewhere coming looking for work. It made me realise there was a wonderful opportunity to combine a cultural and language exchange.”

People who would like to learn a language or improve their skills sign up online, and register details of their native language and the language they want to learn and the level of their ability.

They are then matched with suitable conversation partners.