Language Learning & Gaining Confidence

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It’s not easy learning a language. If it were easy, everybody would be doing it. But learning a language is almost like a means to an end. It is a way to communicate and to understand other cultures. It’s not an easy task. I hate opening my mouth most of the time at the risk of sounding incorrect, making a mistake, sounding stupid or becoming embarrassed. But that’s just it, half the time, my worst fears are realized, and they are not nearly as big or as daunting as they seem. I just need to take a deep breath. At least I’m trying. That is much better than those who have not tried at all.

Like, today for instance, I needed to ask a question about the school, when the school closes, and I also needed directions to the pharmacy and supermarket. The receptionist did not speak a lick of English, so I had to use what Italian I could to communicate with her. She answered, “Io capito” which I know means that she understood me. Bravi on my part. On the other hand, it’s understanding what is said back to me that proves difficult. I did, however, manage to find both the pharmacy and the supermarket and even striked up a conversation with a stranger. Slowly, slowly, I am starting to gain confidence and realize that making mistakes is all part of the learning process.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. adamf2011 says:

    I think it’s harder to understand than to speak. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using nonverbal communication, like drawing a picture or pointing to a map; and as long as the other person keeps speaking (in the other language), you’ll keep getting valuable exposure to the target language.

    1. Meh. I think their both hard. But it is much harder to understand and to think in real time, and keep up when they are speaking a mile a minute. I’m surrounded by it 24/7 because very few people in this area speak English, so when it counts, I have to figure it out.

  2. when I used to live in Belgium, I’d rewind the conversation with the person in my head and I’d feel so embarrassed about the mistakes I made…the person didn’t care obviously, I made my point come across…it’s just that everyone wants to be perfect right from the beginning, but that’s obviously not possible…in a way it’s good since learning a language can really humble you, but at the same time some of us need a lot of confidence…so I agree…we should all just let go…the more mistakes we make, the more we learn

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