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Feeling embarrassed whenever I try to speak French


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I think it stems from high school, where you were forced to have awkward conversations with people and neither of you wanted to look too much like you were willing to "commit" to the course, but I have a deep rooted embarrassment when I try to speak French. I would like to join an evening class at my local college but I know that a level of speaking would be expected, even if not at first, and I blush and suddenly struggle to pronounce things that I know how to pronounce when I'm on my own.

I was wondering if anyone else has any experience of this and how you overcame it?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I am honestly embarrassed when I speak French because I am so bad at it. When I hear native speakers speak French, it's so smooth and nice sounding, but I turn the language into a choppy, incorrect-sounding mess. I still haven't gotten over it, so I just have to push through it and hope that my French teacher's ears don't bleed. It doesn't help that my stutter likes to muck things up all of the time.

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I am also studying french and I also feel the same way trying to practice. I think it's because I feel I look so stupid when I'm trying to pronounce these words with an accent so far from my own and unlike many other languages it's one that sounds very different and wrong without the correct pronunciations and accents. I don't mind though as even when I so feel embarrassed I don't let it get in the way of my learning. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just keep trying. I live in QC and have known lots of people who were trying to learn French and my advice to them was just keep talking it no matter what. You could really see the difference in those who did and those who didn't. 

If people make fun of you that is their problem. You are actually making an effort to learn their language and they should appreciate it! And if people want to laugh at you, you can always make them feel bad by very humbly asking them to show you what you did wrong and making a sincere effort to say it right. ;)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi prettylittleliar, almost 40 years ago I started learning English. I am fluent in it today and that is mainly because I never felt awkward to speak, although I know what you mean when you say you do. The thing is most people don't speak a second (or third, or forth) language. And many don't even speak their own language that well. The French in particular are a people who mainly speak just one language: their own. I just returned from Paris, I know what I am talking about. So, whenever you think you feel awkward, think about this: You already are probably much more able to actually speak a foreign language than the person you are talking to. Each correction from the other person is an advantage you have to get it right in the future. Each time you speak, even though you know it went badly and privately you could do better is an opportunity to gain security. Don't care so much about the right or wrong. It's like most things: with each try you try to make it better than before. And you can only do that when speaking.

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PS: Although the majority of French people doesn't speak foreign languages, they are most appreciative if others try to speak French. A lady in particular repeated what she said about 20 times to me until I finally was able to correctly repeat it back to her. 

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