lushlala

Why do most people find it easier to write than speak a language?

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@rcdpink...It does make sense in a round about sort of way, if you know what I mean. I especially agree with the first part of your statement. I have to say, you sound a bit like me because I too pick up the basics pretty quickly, but then will stall when it comes to speaking because I'm not very confident like that. I think I've previously said on here that people in my country like to laugh at and wind up those who struggle with their language skills. So because this happened to me (and others too) at a younger age, it kind of gave me a complex LOL I know it's silly, but it's a fact!

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Several reasons actually. Paper doesn't give you the look when you make a mistake. It doesn't make you nervous and stage frighten. It doesn't even speak too fast to comprehend , actually it doesn't speak at all. It will never laugh if you mispronounce something or you don't bite your tongue when saying TH combination. It cannot be held responsible for you being drunk and therefore not being able to speak properly even if that was your mother's tongue. It gives you time to think without head nodding and impatient looks. There are more probably.

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@djordje87, I love your analogy! It made me giggle a little, in a good way. It's almost poetic, too. -and of course you're spot on with all the points you made. In short, you can relax and just be yourself, not as self conscious about potential mistakes and those horrible looks you sometimes get from someone, as if to say cmon, you can do it....sometimes done in a patronising manner. 

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For me, when writing, I can see what I'm writing, if the spelling is right, and it's easier to see what mistakes I'm making. It's also easier to fix the mistakes. When I'm speaking, I have to arrange it in my head fast and I'm a visual person so that can be hard for me.

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On 25 November 2015 at 2:35:52 AM, agentzero said:

Is this really true though? Wow, that's so weird, I always thought the opposite was true, but then again, I don't know that many people who often learn to speak a new language. 

I've always found it much more easier to speak a new language than to write it. I have a pretty decent knowledge of English and I still get so wound up with spelling that I literally have to google the word so I can get it right. I don't think I ever have trouble with pronunciation (had to google correct spelling for that one). 

Kudos to you, @agentzero :) It would indeed appear a lot of people seek comfort in writing as there's much less chance of a come back in terms of embarrassment, nerves, mispronunciation, fear of being laughed at, to name but a few. So in my book, you're part of the very lucky few who  prefer speaking over writing, the exact opposite of what some of us go through. I so wish I was in your position LOL Maybe there's a correlation between preferring to speak the language and a high level of confidence/the lack of nerves?

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45 minutes ago, lushlala said:

Kudos to you, @agentzero :) It would indeed appear a lot of people seek comfort in writing as there's much less chance of a come back in terms of embarrassment, nerves, mispronunciation, fear of being laughed at, to name but a few. So in my book, you're part of the very lucky few who  prefer speaking over writing, the exact opposite of what some of us go through. I so wish I was in your position LOL Maybe there's a correlation between preferring to speak the language and a high level of confidence/the lack of nerves?

Ha! I wish that was true. Every time I speak a language that isn't mine I feel like a different person, I'm sure a lot of people have experienced that. English especially. I don't feel like myself when I speak, in a good way, if that makes any sense. Also, any time I try to learn a new language, the first thing I do is try to get the alphabet right and learn how to correctly pronounce letters in words and sentences, maybe that's why I have easier time starting to speak?

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I like your modesty @agentzero....nothing is as off putting as OTT arrogance :) 

I guess the alphabet thing makes sense, because it's one of the building blocks of any language and in my opinion, it's one of those things that you just can't divorce from the language. I find laying the foundation by learning all the basics, including the alphabet, makes it easier to then build onto that when you go on to learn the 'more complex' aspects of the language.

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I always thought it was because of the feedback that you receive. When you write, if it's incorrect, the other person can always make a guess of what you intended to write; and often the guess is accurate. However, when you speak, you have to think about what to say (similar to what to write) then add on to that, think about how to say/pronounce the words. That's more work for your brain, and the feedback you receive is instant. If the other person didn't catch what you said, there would be no guesses. What you often hear is "Can you repeat that?". For me, it's a little nerve wrecking hearing that.

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@shadejb....Gosh, that's like my worst nightmare; "Can you repeat that?" I could die right there LOL -and the worst thing is when you repeat yourself, only to get the same reaction, and the once again LOL It's like, can you give me a break here and just pretend you understand hehe. No but seriously, I know it makes even me a little uncomfortable, but it's always nice to get some constructive criticism because then you know where you are going wrong, and maybe how to go about correcting that. -yes even if it does make you break out in a sweat!

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Yes, and usually when they do that my voice just get quieter and quieter, so it didn't help at all lol. I know it's good to have feedback, but I still prefer a written feedback though. It seems more objective than spoken one, even though I am aware that both forms are very helpful for learning a new language. 

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On 09 August 2015 at 12:49:46 AM, CorieHens said:

Based on my logic, writing is just like reading because all you need to memorize are the characters that are actually the letters. In speaking, there are unique ways of pronunciation for each language and dialect. Like the word MA in Chinese, I think there are 10 meanings depending on how you pronounce it.

OMG ten different meanings, dependent on how you pronounce a tiny little word....that's crazy LOL I think that would make me feel extra paranoid. For foreign speakers, it must be a nightmare to try to distinguish between all those. -and I thought Setswana was crazy for having some words spelt the same, differentiated mainly via intonation to distinguish between the different meanings LOL This is something a lot of foreigners have pointed out as being hard to get a grasp of when they're trying to learn Setswana, too. The difficulty comes when they feel the difference in intonation is barely there, very subtle and I can see where they're coming from!

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I used to find speaking hard, added to the fact that I have Autism, meaning that verbal communication is much harder for me than for the vast majority of the world.
But I actually got used to it, making speaking a much easier task for me now.

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I'm not a great speaker myself (even in my native tongue!). I find writing easier as it's easier for me to express what I want to say. Obviously for some it's the opposite. As for foreign languages, it depends on what kind of language it is. For example, I probably wouldn't be able to write Arabic as well as I speak if I were to learn it for the first time. If the alphabet is similar to English (like French or Spanish), then it will be a bit easier to write than to talk (from personal experience).

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23 hours ago, Blaveloper said:

I used to find speaking hard, added to the fact that I have Autism, meaning that verbal communication is much harder for me than for the vast majority of the world.
But I actually got used to it, making speaking a much easier task for me now.

But now with your new confidence in speaking, which do you find easier, speaking or writing? Has it made any difference or would you say it's stayed more or less the same?

 

21 hours ago, leahcim132 said:

I'm not a great speaker myself (even in my native tongue!). I find writing easier as it's easier for me to express what I want to say. Obviously for some it's the opposite. As for foreign languages, it depends on what kind of language it is. For example, I probably wouldn't be able to write Arabic as well as I speak if I were to learn it for the first time. If the alphabet is similar to English (like French or Spanish), then it will be a bit easier to write than to talk (from personal experience).

I'm talkative, yet I become tongue tied when i try to speak in a foreign language I'm learning LOL That's nerves for you, I guess. I really envy people who prefer to speak over writing, and actually have the courage to go right ahead and practice their language skills, whether or not it's good. I've seen some people have so  much courage that they'll even laugh at themselves and just have fun with it. I wish that were me!

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To be honest @lushlala, I actually find this a really good question.
I've never considered it before.

But I think it depends on the language.
Obviously, speaking Chinese is easier than writing it, but I noticed the same thing with Spanish.
But languages like Japanese or German are easier to write than to speak for me.

This is because while Chinese has lots of characters to memorise, the amount of possible sounds is rather limited.
Spanish has many accents to consider while writing, something you notice less while speaking.

Japanese and German on the other hand are quite speedy languages and reading is what I can do on my own speed.

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Writing/typing is a process that requires only your own side, meaning you are not being judged by anyone else, but you. If you type in some program/software, then your typing even can get easily corrected, or else you can easily see your mistakes.

However, when it comes to talking, speaking out loud, in a foreign language, there are multiple things to be considered. First and foremost is the way you actually pronounce words. Second, it is your smoothness, your ability to speak a language with a flow, without many pauses, or some sounds that do not belong in a thought you are trying to convey.

Third, yes you can talk out loud to your own self, in the mirror, or just sitting in the room, and practice it, but you will also be judged, but this time by your own self, and some people are too self-judgmental, which may result in creating some fear connected to speaking, so at some point because of this fear, people tend not to use the spoken language in the manner they should, being afraid of their own shortcomings.

Fourth, if you speak in public, or in a group of people, or just with one friend, again, you might be judged, this time by them.

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2 hours ago, pesic87 said:

Writing/typing is a process that requires only your own side, meaning you are not being judged by anyone else, but you. If you type in some program/software, then your typing even can get easily corrected, or else you can easily see your mistakes.

It's not entirely true.
Yes, your computer may be able to correct your spelling, but it still won't be able to correct your grammar.
And a computer would neither help you prevent from going out of context.

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7 hours ago, Blaveloper said:

To be honest @lushlala, I actually find this a really good question.
I've never considered it before.

But I think it depends on the language.
Obviously, speaking Chinese is easier than writing it, but I noticed the same thing with Spanish.
But languages like Japanese or German are easier to write than to speak for me.

This is because while Chinese has lots of characters to memorise, the amount of possible sounds is rather limited.
Spanish has many accents to consider while writing, something you notice less while speaking.

Japanese and German on the other hand are quite speedy languages and reading is what I can do on my own speed.

@Blaveloper......you've raised a very good point, one I never considered either. On that basis....I agree some of the best responses to this question would depend very much on different languages, and I do believe you're one of the best placed people in that regard, as you have a catalogue of languages under your belt! Thank you very much for your input. I can see what you mean about languages with a lot of characters like Chinese and Japanese. This actually makes me feel inadequate, because I shy away  from speaking my French and Italian and they're nowhere as difficult as some languages out there like Chinese.

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On 12/18/2015, 2:03:12, Blaveloper said:

It's not entirely true.
Yes, your computer may be able to correct your spelling, but it still won't be able to correct your grammar.
And a computer would neither help you prevent from going out of context.

Yes, you are correct . I simply meant you are not going to be judged by a computer. Being judged reflects on many different spheres of your personality and it can affect the way you will use the language in the future.

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2 hours ago, pesic87 said:

Yes, you are correct . I simply meant you are not going to be judged by a computer. Being judged reflects on many different spheres of your personality and it can affect the way you will use the language in the future.

Which is actually too bad it won't.
Because feedback is really crucial when it comes to learning anything new, if you won't get any feedback (other than an automated one), you can imagine yourself repeating the same mistakes over and over again, until those mistakes will permanently stick in your brain.

I honestly can't imagine myself learning a language without anyone correcting my mistakes.

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16 hours ago, Blaveloper said:

Which is actually too bad it won't.
Because feedback is really crucial when it comes to learning anything new, if you won't get any feedback (other than an automated one), you can imagine yourself repeating the same mistakes over and over again, until those mistakes will permanently stick in your brain.

I honestly can't imagine myself learning a language without anyone correcting my mistakes.

Me neither, but one thing is to have someone correct your mistakes to help you learn, so for your own sake, and it is a totally different thing to have someone judge you and create his or her opinion of you just because you are not good enough in their eyes, keep on correcting your mistakes out of vanity.

I have had a lot of people in my class during my studies, who, due to their I guess vulnerable personality or just being prone to other people's opinions, experienced a lot of problems when their mistakes were corrected in such a way I explained, resulting in their fear of opening their mouth to say anything in a foreign language.

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I think the reason that mostly people find it easier to write languages than read languages is that pencils have erasers and mouths don't.  When you write something, a letter, for example, you can erase and re-write before you send it.  With speech, once it's out there, it's out there.

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On 21 December 2015 at 11:35:33 AM, pesic87 said:

Me neither, but one thing is to have someone correct your mistakes to help you learn, so for your own sake, and it is a totally different thing to have someone judge you and create his or her opinion of you just because you are not good enough in their eyes, keep on correcting your mistakes out of vanity.

I have had a lot of people in my class during my studies, who, due to their I guess vulnerable personality or just being prone to other people's opinions, experienced a lot of problems when their mistakes were corrected in such a way I explained, resulting in their fear of opening their mouth to say anything in a foreign language.

Oh, and i know exactly the types you mean! They just have to be seen to be the ones in the know. I have a cousin who actually likes to laugh at or make fun of people's English as well as their accent. These types of people really are unaware of the amount of damage they can cause. Because let's face it, if you're timid and lack in confidence to start with, being subjected to this sort of immature behaviour can and will knock your confidence and worsen the situation. Not cool at all.

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@pesic87 and also @lushlala, I get your points.
This is also why I quit school 3 years ago: immature people laughing at you because your qualities are lower than theirs.
And this is why I enjoy Skype sessions through Italki so much, because you get to speak with only 1 person (preferably a professional teacher) who gives you feedback in a professional way.

If you're on low budget, informal teachers do their jobs well too for people of up to B1 level.
However, I had 1 informal teacher who has been in a very loud environment himself and 1 informal teacher with a really poor microphone.
Professional teachers rarely have problems like these.

I don't want to recommend teachers here, because each learner fits better with a different teacher.
But keep in mind that not all professional teachers aren't arseholes.
I didn't have any prior problems with this category of teachers, but I have read a story somewhere from someone who wanted to learn Russian.
She contacted a handful of teachers, many of which openly said they get annoyed with beginners very easily.
Russians are very open minded when it comes to this, but if you want to learn languages like Chinese, Cantonese, Korean or Japanese, they won't tell you it but they may still be annoyed.

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Wow, teachers who get annoyed at their students LOL What I find worrying is that they are even willing to openly utter such words! Those are definitely not the types of teacher I'd get involved with. I take it this is a question of being inpatient with slow learners, and/or not wanting to have to lay the foundation for the learning process? It sounds to me as if they'd rather deal with students who've been fully 'prepped' by someone else, which makes their life a lot easier. I'm a teacher by profession, and back when i did used to teach,  in as much as teaching can be extremely hard work, I always found it very rewarding knowing I had played an instrumental role in any student's learning process. Knowing that I'd contributed to taking them to a seemingly hopeless situation to a better place was always a big part of what I found fulfilling about teaching. Very interesting!

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