RESEARCH LIBRARY of Tomsk State University


20 January 2022
Speak-dating: new format of language events in TSU Research Library

The first Speak-dating session was held in the International Resource Center (IRC) of the Research Library (RL) of Tomsk State University (TSU) at the end of December. The new format allows the participants to practice four foreign languages: English, German, French, and Spanish - within one meeting. It has developed from the speaking clubs which have been held in the Research Library for many years and have been very popular among the university community and Tomsk citizens due to the possibility to practice foreign languages.

‘During the meeting, the participants were expected to talk about a given topic for five minutes, then, the partners switched and topics and questions changed, so the participants talked to new partners in one of the languages that both partners knew,’ – Elena Tsukanova, a head of IRC and one of the organizers of the event, said. ‘All the participants had special badges with flags that indicated the languages they could speak. There were the participants that had all four badges which was their apparent advantage.’

There were 10 short language sessions during Speak-dating when the partners switched and topics changed. Over thirty participants discussed their favorite movies, the study of foreign languages, books, ethnic cuisines, favorite places in Tomsk during these short periods of time. All IRC staff members were involved in event organization, they translated all the questions into four languages. The questions were ranked from easy to difficult ones because it was obvious that reference levels of the participants would be different. Kathrin Kazimirek, a DAAD lecturer, was the moderator of the event.

Summarizing the results of the first multilanguage experience, the IRC head emphasized its success, ‘The participants wanted these sessions to be held on a regular basis because such format gave a chance to practice all four foreign languages. There were also suggestions to add Chinese and Italian languages and give more time for a session so that partners could talk to each other longer.’

TSU Research Library, increasing the number of events in foreign languages, contributes to the consolidation of the university multilingual community by way of expanding the participants’ horizons and helping them learn about other cultures and history.

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