Magazine topic: 
Life around the world
Total votes: 131

What I've learnt about speaking another language

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by : 
AbiBlogger

So I’m coming to the end of my first semester in Italy, and I couldn’t be happier. I have met some incredible people, seen some beautiful places and also learnt how to cook pasta properly (or, better, in a less stereotypically British way). Among all this, I would like to think that my Italian has also improved – at least a little. However, there are definitely some things that I’ve had to remind myself along the way.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
I’m very much a perfectionist. Sometimes, this can be a good thing: but in this case, it makes you too stressed. The more frustrated you become when you don’t pick something up right away, the less you absorb (for me, anyway). Adopt the European way and relax a little; improvement is gradual, and you won’t notice that you’ve improved for a while.

It’s OK to feel overwhelmed at times.
There are definitely moments when I think I can’t keep up – especially if there is more than one conversation happening simultaneously or if someone takes you by surprise. Needless to say, one of the first phrases I picked up here was how to ask someone to repeat themselves. Big thanks to my friends for being unbelievably patient.

Listening to another language all the time makes you tired.
And totally justifies sleeping until 2pm every weekend.

Confidence comes with time.
Such a huge part of learning to speak another language is being confident enough to actually say what you’re thinking out loud. It’s OK to be nervous to say things you aren’t 100% sure about, and after a while you realise that you’ve stopped being nervous at all.

It’s OK to forget all the grammar you’ve ever learnt.
Certainly for me, when I’m having a conversation in Italian, if I think too hard about my grammar I completely lose my train of thought. You’ll find that you know more than you think if you just let yourself speak freely.

People appreciate effort.
Even if you have the most British Italian accent in existence (me), or don’t know a particular word, everyone will appreciate if you just try. Sometimes (but definitely not always), saying an English word with a slightly more Italian accent turns out to be right: in any case, people will understand.

It’s OK to be proud of yourself.
Speaking another language all the time is way more difficult than people give it credit for, and when it finally starts to come more naturally, you totally deserve to feel good about it.

Discussion

Have you ever had an experience of learning a language by talking to native speakers?

Comments

Sergelen's picture
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Sergelen 22 May, 2017 - 09:16

Of course I have ! In fact that being shy will give you bad result if you want to improve foreign language. For me, I just try to speak English no matter how I good at English or not. Indeed, learn to foreign language equals make time for language which you want to learn.

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23 users have voted.
Eingyin's picture
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Eingyin 10 January, 2017 - 18:35

Of course,I have.Talking to the foreigners in the first time,I felt nervous and worried over my slight mistakes,certainly pronunciation.I often mix up my mother-language grammer structure while studying Chinese language .As the article pointed out,I strongly agree with the statement' confidence comes with time'.Certainly for me,I could pump up my self-confident and awareness of my language skill by putting efforts into practising with the spanning of time

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33 users have voted.
baroonmlk's picture
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baroonmlk 6 January, 2017 - 18:17

last summer two of my cousins came to my country and as they had been living in london since they were born , they had a really nice british accent and talking to them helped me to improve my own accent (;
but , i've got to add that at first i really couldn't undrestand what they were saying so i kept asking them to be talking a little bit slower but i got better gradually .... ( though i still appriciate their patience !!!! )

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40 users have voted.
Aliceinthewonderland's picture
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Aliceinthewonderland 4 January, 2017 - 14:18

No,I didn't talk to Spanish native speakers,but I watch TV show about the culture of Spanish instead. By watching the TV show, I am proud of myself that I understood what they have spoken,it builds up my self-confident of learning Spanish.

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43 users have voted.
hadia's picture
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hadia 4 January, 2017 - 13:47

Nops. I haven't ever had a chance to talk to a Native speaker but yeah we talk with our Teachers and management of the institute in English most of the time. So yeah, it's a good way of practising.
By the way, the points you've written above are so true. Especially, this :
"You'll find you know more than you think if you let yourself speak freely."

And one think that I always tell my juniors, "Confidence comes with Time."

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41 users have voted.
Elsa007's picture
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Elsa007 5 January, 2017 - 06:25

Hi hadia!

I like your good words to live by: "Confidence comes with Time", and I'd like to add; "Confidence comes with a number of smiles!"
:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Happy New Year✨
Elsa

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45 users have voted.
Ran's picture
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Ran 3 January, 2017 - 14:08

Yes, I have. Sometimes, I couldn't heard clearly what they said. But I might guessed and step by step, I can listen better. I felt really happy and excited when they understood what I had said. That moment made me feel self-confident and have more interest in learning another language

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49 users have voted.