Gaining the Confidence to Speak to Native Speakers

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If you really want to speak fluently in a foreign language, you’ll have to just bite the bullet, put shyness and embarrassment behind you and give it a go. Throw caution to the wind! It really is the best way!

Grammar and accents can follow, as being 100% accurate isn’t half as important as putting the words together into a structure that makes sense. It doesn’t have to make perfect sense, it just has to get the message across, or the main gist of the message, even if it sounds a little clumsy!

Have a go

If you ‘have a go’ it shows that you’re trying and that is very endearing to your audience. They will love you for it and will do all they can to help you learn their language. After all, you’re meeting them half-way; you’re trying your best and that means an awful lot to a native speaker. The simple fact that you want to learn their language, will make them want to help you as much as they can.

Taking the first step When you’re trying to build your confidence the best option is to keep it simple. Put a simple sentence together, have a quick practice in your head then open your mouth and say it! Whatever you say, however simple or small the phrase may be, you’ll have started communicating with native speakers.

When you’ve had success with a certain phrase, try it again with a different person. Every time you try it, it will be simpler, so that after a few tries, you’ll be able to say it without even thinking.

Don’t worry about mistakes

In every walk of life, making mistakes is how we learn. It’s just part of the process of learning. Speaking with natives will accelerate your grasp of language. They will naturally slow down to your pace and will empathise with you. They will really want you to be successful with their language,

Set simple achievable goals

Every day set yourself simple language goals that are achievable. For example, speak to 3 people each day, learn 5 new words and go to a different venue with a new set of vocabulary.

Practice, practice, practice

The more you practice, the more confident you’ll become. Read something out loud, again and again. Say it in a whisper, then shout out the words to see how that feels!

Listen to the TV and repeat what they say. Even if you don’t catch all the words, you’ll begin to understand the intonation and the speed of native speech.

Remember, the most important thing is to have a go. Nobody is going to make fun, laugh or give you a score out of ten. But if you show them you’re trying, they’ll appreciate your efforts and are sure to smile.

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