ALLEN: Excuse me. Do you study Chinese at the university here?
SUZY: Yes, I do. But my characters are very bad.
ALLEN: It takes a long time to learn Chinese writing.
SUZY: Are you Chinese?
ALLEN: Yes, I am. I am from Taiwan. I came here to study political science.
SUZY: How do you like it?
ALLEN: I like it so far. But my English still needs work.
SUZY: I want to study Mandarin and international relations.
ALLEN: Does the Chinese department here teach regular characters or simplified characters?
SUZY: They teach regular characters.
ALLEN: I see. I'm from Taiwan, so I know regular characters better than simplified.
SUZY: You just said your English needs work, yes?
ALLEN: Yes, that's true. Especially my writing.
I think my papers aren't good enough. I make too many grammatical mistakes.
SUZY: Well, I am very serious about learning Chinese.
But for me the hard part now is pronunciation.
You have the four tones in Chinese. It is very hard.
Maybe, if you have time, maybe we could do a language exchange.
ALLEN: You mean you and I?
SUZY: Yes, why not?
I mean, if you come to this cafe often,
maybe we could meet here and practice Chinese and English.
ALLEN: That sounds like a good idea. How often would you like to do it?
SUZY: Let's see... My schedule right now is quite busy.
But I think I could spend 90 minutes a week in language exchange.
ALLEN: How would we manage it though? How would we spend the 90 minutes?
SUZY: First, we could spend 45 minutes working on your English writing.
If you want, I could help you edit your papers.
Or we could do English conversation. Whatever you want.
And then the next 45 minutes you would help me with my Chinese.
ALLEN: Would I help you with writing?
SUZY: No. For me right now, the important thing is spoken Chinese.
I need practice. So you could tutor me in speaking.
We could use my textbook, and you could ask me questions.
Then you could correct my mistakes.
ALLEN: I think it sounds like a good system. But when is it convenient to meet?
SUZY: Well, today is Monday.
Actually, for me Monday at this time would be the best.
I am free from now until 11:30 every Monday morning.
ALLEN: Me too. In fact, I'm free until 1:20 on Mondays.
SUZY: So if you want to meet at 10:00 here next Monday, we could start.
ALLEN: It sounds good. I will bring the papers I'm working on.
SUZY: And I will bring my textbook and a tape recorder.
I would like to record some things so I can practice on my own.
ALLEN: Let me give you my phone number.
SUZY: Sure. I'll give you mine too. Then we can call if we have to cancel for some reason.