Nihlus

Difficulty speaking

7 posts in this topic

Hello everyone!

This is a post to share some experiences.

I am a masters student in Sweden, currently on my second year. I had studied Swedish for merely 3 months before my arrival here in my home country, where I covered the absolute basics. Then I had a university course for a semester, mostly revisiting what I already knew and of course learning new things also.

After that, I haven't had any tutoring on the language, although I kept practicing reading, listening and writing in Swedish on a daily basis. I would say I have reached an intermediate level by now, Meaning, I understand (simple to normal) texts, simple conversations (not just the really typical small-talk lines, but a simple everyday conversation in general) and since I text some friends in Swedish sometimes, I rarely have to switch to English to express myself. If you are familiar with the european framework, I'd say I'm B1+ or something, just to give you a little understanding of my level (that is also based on several assessment tests).  

I almost always understand what people are saying to me but (here it comes) I just don't seem to be able to talk. It's very frustrating and it gets me down. I feel I sound like a retarded. I have Swedish friends who are happy to help, talk to me in Swedish (slowly and clearly also) but I just turn mute on or reply in English.

I was wondering if you had similar experiences that you could share in this thread. I would be more than glad to read through them. Thank you very much for your time  :)

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Is it that you forget the words or is it similar to the same problem people have with French?  Many people just can't get the pronunciation of the words down.  When I was studying French in school, a lot of students had trouble with the "r" sounds and the general nasal pronunciation of the words.

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Hi Nihlus

First of all: Welcome to linguaholic.com!

As you see in profile, I am studying Chinese. I have a lot of Chinese friends here in Switzerland and we often talk in Chinese. However, I also feel like my Chinese is still rather limited in terms of speaking and I feel like I am using the same words and expressions over and over again. Especially when I am tired I will just start speaking in German or in English. I guess it is just really really important that you try forcing yourself to keep on speaking the foreign language in question, even when being tired or feeling ashamed. Good friends will definitely not make fun of you and will help you to improve your speaking. Many people are not going to correct your mistakes, unless you ask them to do so. I always tell my friends: "Please correct me if I am making a grammar mistake or pronounce something wrong". Like this you can learn a lot.

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When learning a new language I struggle with speaking aloud, I find it to be the most challenging component of learning. I believe that practice practice practice makes it easier though. I have the similar struggle with French are the way they pronounce certain letters in comparison to English. Best of luck with you work! 

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To me, speaking is the most fun part of the whole language learning process.
But I know how people feel when they have difficult times speaking, I have also been there.
You'll need to make yourself comfortable speaking, try it with professional teachers on Italki for example, they normally don't mind you have difficulties speaking and help you out of your comfort zone.

Better don't use informal or community teachers at first, chances are they will not be willing to help you with this or in the worst cases, stop arranging sessions with you.
On the other hand, these 2 categories of teachers are quite good when you need to check your current language skills, because professional teachers may make your life easier by concentrating on what you're trying to say.

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I know what you mean. My issue is that I experience it the   way around. I can speak the language but to listen to it takes great concentration. But it only goes to show that we are human beings. Some people learn faster than others, but the point is that we must spend adequate time around the language to learn it.

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Oh yes I have the same problem with Swedish. It is even harder in Sweden because they say for me something I answer and then they always start speaking English! It is frustrating and not an easy task. But my teacher suggested just to keep talking even if they start speaking English. I quite often sound strange but I try to at least speak in Swedish in the train stations, shops etc. in all these places there I do not know people so that would become more comfortable just expressing myself.

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