If you are one of those who get a knot in your stomach every time you are involved in a situation in which you feel forced to speak in another language, maybe reading this would help you.
First of all, let´s do a little consideration: You have probably more than once been stopped by a foreigner on the streets because they needed your help in order to find out an address or something similar. Would you judge that person because they don´t have an impeccable Spanish? I am sure the answer is no.
So, if you feel stuck every time you have the need to talk in another language, here you are some tips that might help you lose the fear:
- Think that the person you are talking to is never going to laugh at you. They will appreciate the effort you are making to communicate. Stop being ashamed.
- Learn idioms, collocations and phrasal verbs… they are very useful!
- If you don’t remember a specific word, don´t panic! Try to find a synonym or give a definition.
- Try always to practice your speaking with native people, they will kindly correct your mistakes and that will make you improve quite fast.
- Learn from your mistakes in order not to make them again. Don’t worry if you make mistakes while talking. Remember, mistakes are an essential part of the process of learning a foreign language. Think that lots of native people do not speak another language apart from their own one. The fact that you are able to talk in a second language says it all.
- Speak slowly so that they can understand what you are saying and, if you need to, repeat what you want to say. Try to make simple sentences.
- Take it easy. What is the worst thing that can happen? Nothing! You have made a mistake but you will learn from it. Don´t try to have every situation under control constantly, just go with the flow.
- When you feel ready, you can attend to places where people meet to do languages intercambios. You will be able to talk to natives that are in the same situation as you so that you will help them improve their Spanish and they will help you improve their mother language.
- When you read a book, read a whole chapter out loud, sing out loud in front of the mirror, etc.
- SMILE!! The conversation will start way better if you break the ice with a huge smile.
Try it!! You really don´t have anything to lose!!