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Linguaholic

Too shy for speaking in another language?


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Hello! I'm new on this forum! :)

I was wondering if someone else has struggled with this situation, I'm really really shy and it's hard for me to talk with people that I don't know, and it's harder for me to talk to them in another language! A few weeks ago I went to English lessons and it was really hard for me to talk there... Any advices for those situations?

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You're definitely not alone, I can assure you of that. When I was in school where we had to take French lessons, I was always very embarrassed to do oral assignments, because I was afraid of messing up and being laughed at. I've always been very shy & timid, so getting past those fears was hard for me; in the end, I learned little to nothing of the language that I was able to keep with me beyond elementary school years. Unfortunate, because it really is a language I'd like to learn.

One thing that has helped me with learning German, though, is to have my boyfriend who is a native German speaker help me out. I don't feel as embarrassed around him as I would with a group of strangers, and it puts me at ease.

So one piece of advice I would give is to see if a friend or someone you already know who speaks the language can help you out with your learning. You're not as likely to feel shy around them, after all.

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I think it is normal for some people to be shy when speaking a foreign language. But being shy like that is a big disadvantage because you learn faster when you use the language. As my husband would tell me with my English, the only way to be good at it is to speak it. You see, when we are in a foreign country, my husband likes to speak only in English but then I would always reply in Filipino which really peeves him at times.

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I hear you - my fear comes from sounding stupid or like I don't know what I'm doing.

I'm one of those people that likes being good at something straight away. Sadly with learning a language it doesn't happen overnight and I have to keep reminding myself that. Mistakes and everything are natural, I figure that if I use the language incorrectly hopefully someone will be nice enough to correct me and then I'll learn from it.

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Every person who is learning a foreign language will be afraid to speak it because of the fear of making a mistake, but that's normal.  When I was in elementary school, I was required to study Arabic.  I was afraid to speak the language for fear that I might make a mistake.  Nowadays, I no longer fear speaking in a different language, as is the case with Japanese.  Of course, I still make mistakes from time to time, but that's okay since we are starting with the basics.

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When I first started learning languages, I felt incredibly uncomfortable. I felt like I would make so many mistakes, or I would sound silly or do something horribly wrong which would be humiliating. However, after a little while, you get used to it. You may be feeling shy because you're worried that you'll make a mistake - I think most people feel that way.  Just keep trying, and soon you'll feel confident speaking.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is a huge problem for me when I'm learning a new language. Because I'm wary of making mistakes and having people laugh at me, I shy away from practicing my oral skills. Of course, nobody really laughs at people making an effort, but I have it in my head I'll get laughed at LOL It's silly, really.

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  • 1 month later...

Hello! I'm new on this forum! :)

I was wondering if someone else has struggled with this situation, I'm really really shy and it's hard for me to talk with people that I don't know, and it's harder for me to talk to them in another language! A few weeks ago I went to English lessons and it was really hard for me to talk there... Any advices for those situations?

I really think it is just normal to feel shy and a little bit uncomfortable in speaking another language since you are not still fluent in it. I think the key for you to overcome this is to just take everything lightly; have fun while learning. Don't try to pressure yourself, learning another language would just come naturally as long as you don't force it. Do language drills as well and practice speaking in another language so you'll gain confidence.

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I have the same problem. I am comfortable writing in the new language, and listening to it, but speaking makes me SO nervous!  :speechless: I get more nervous around people with whom I generally speak English with. I'm trying to get over it, however, but actively taking opportunities to speak, such as in class or at work.

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I guess this is generally true for people who are trying to learn a new language because they are very afraid to be ridiculed or corrected for their mistakes so they usually fend off when speaking in public and would rather write than speak up. Trying to speak up I guess would be healthy in trying to learn a language because you will be corrected on the right way of using the new words or phrases you learn from real time speakers. This is the best way to learn and we should not shy away in doing so.

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I get that. I'm like that pretty much all the time. When I try to talk to other people in English it's almost as if like I'm someone who's new to English. It's actually quite embarrassing, especially if me and the person have spoken before via the Internet (text). Because I rarely have much problem typing in English (aside from the occasional grammar dilemmas), but then I opened my mouth and I just sound like it was my first time learning English.

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The thing is, it is the improvement way: the more you speak it, the better you will be, the less shy you would feel.

So it is part of your work, in language learning, to fight against that, because what matters most is that, the end person you really want to talk to in English for practical reasons, like for travel, when you need help, you don't want her/him to not understand clearly what you said because you didn't trained yourself enough. One is worst than another.

Take it another way, after all. You're in a class, everyone learns the language so everyone is in the same boat. When doing it with people you don't know, you get the main benefit: you don't know them, so why would you care about what they think? The most important is that you tried to have a talk and to open yourself to new horizons. Sometimes, you just have to push yourself stronger than you are doing now.

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Just try and relax and try to adjust yourself to talking another language then what you are used to. I know it can be hard sometimes to switch from one language to the other, but after a while, it will come naturally.

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I would not be shy about speaking in a new language that I am still learning. Matter of fact I am proud of it because I am slowly taking little steps to achieve my goals. Most native speakers appreciate it when they find out that you are trying to learn to speak their language so I do not see the reason to be shy. Everyone started at some point and you will get there eventually.

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I take it you're taking a class with like minded people who are in also probably around the same level of proficiency as you? You'll find that they're in exactly the same boat as you. So all you can do is try to relax and have fun with it, practice all you can with them, compare notes and bounce ideas off each other. Learning a new language is never easy, but I reckon making it fun makes it easier.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The issue you have is not with English, it's the fact that you are shy. For you to be able to openly speak with people in the language you have learned, you will have to overcome this. I suggest that you find a public speaking group like Toastmasters to help you overcome your shyness. They will help you bulled up your confidences. 

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