https://www.duolingo.com/lenalingo

Language stage fright?

lenalingo
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
  • 3

Please tell me i'm not alone in feeling this way. :P I've learned so much on duolingo and I'm eager to try it in real life. So sometimes I'll meet someone and I find out "Hey! They speak the language I'm learning!" And then...I bet SOO EXCITED I forget everything I've ever learned until the walk away. Or my friend will put me on the spot like "hey! My friend speaks your language! Talk to her!" (Awkward moment) and duolingo has the nerve to tell me how fluent I am (lol). anyone else out there with Language stage fright?

2 years ago

40 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/dina-z

I usually get it when I have to talk with people who I know are way more fluent in English (or it's their native language), because I feel like I will mess it up and they will judge me. When it happens I try to think of all the times someone had tried to speak to me in my native language or in English (and it's obvious they speak in it way less than I do), and I realize I never judged them, so why would anyone do it when I speak?

I now have to speak in English every day at my work and four years ago when I joined the company I felt like dying a bit inside every time I had to make a call or have a project meeting in English, I was so scared and embarrassed every time I mispronounced something, stuttered or had a "um... how do you say it in English" moment. These days I am mostly chill about it, firstly probably because I have had so much practice, but secondly because I've realized it's nothing bad that I don't know a word or I say it wrong, sometimes I make a joke about it, sometimes I just keep talking, sometimes I ask my coworkers "how do you call in English that process when...", and turns out it's not the end of the world. :D

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TheQueenZerelda

"and I realize I never judged them, so why would anyone do it when I speak?"

Important life lesson right there. :D

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EnvyFangirl1

Usally, my friends would say somthing like, hey do you still remember korean? I just be like, yeah a little, barly though :P they would ask me what to say and id say not right now, and turn somewhat red. I dont like being in the spotlight, but i want to be. Know what i mean? I can do it, i want to do it, then i dont because there are eyes looking at me with akward silence. Im turning somewhat red right now just typing this!!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EnvyFangirl1

I could type some korean though, cuz no one is staring at my face -_- i love attetion but i dont just a 50 50 thing <sub>_</sub>

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EnvyFangirl1

나는 한국을 방문 , 그래서 여기 저기 조금 알고있다. Yeah i feel light already

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lenalingo
lenalingo
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
  • 3

Awesome:))

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EnvyFangirl1

Whats your main language your learning? Mines is French and Japanese.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lenalingo
lenalingo
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
  • 3

Portuguese and French are my main focus

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EnvyFangirl1

Thats a great goal. The languages im currently learning are french german dutch spanish chinese japanese and italian. Half of those i dont take on duolingo because i end up teaching them to myself or i take classes. But my only goals are japanese and french.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zubiz
zubiz
  • 22
  • 14
  • 9
  • 8
  • 4

Of course. When I speak in my mind things are just much faster and fluent. But speaking to someone is entirely different, you don't even have enough time to think as you usually have to deal with how you pronounce, care about intonation etc. Even my own voice sounds alien to me sometimes. I feel as if I am completely blocked; correct words never come to me. So frustrating. I don't think there is any remedy but to practice constantly.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lenalingo
lenalingo
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
  • 3

Very true. But then I seem like a crazy person, talking to myself all the time :P lol...

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zubiz
zubiz
  • 22
  • 14
  • 9
  • 8
  • 4

Lol, yes, I suffer the same as I am not alone at home these days. So I can't just do that right now, but soon hopefully.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chirelchirel
chirelchirel
  • 21
  • 21
  • 18
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 9
  • 4

For a long time I thought I had this, but now I realized I just need to process the language in my head for long enough to start thinking in it. After this happens, and it's like switch was turned, I have no trouble speaking and I don't mind the mistakes I make. This makes it hard for me to take language courses, because the emphasis is always on speaking as soon as you know three words that go together in a sentence.

It might sound strange, but then again, kids learn to talk in different ways and at different pace. One tryis out every new sound and word and structure immediately and gets it all wrong for a while, one analyzes everything and tries out new things in a more conscious way and yet anotehr one waits until they have cracked the code and suddenly start speaking in full sentences.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/timnhendricks
timnhendricks
  • 23
  • 21
  • 20
  • 20
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 2
  • 269

I definitely feel you on the switch thing. When I was in Germany on a layover, an older man started talking to me and for a few minutes I had to ask him to repeat everything or say it slower. Then, as if by magic, it just started clicking and we were able to have a normal conversation after that.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chirelchirel
chirelchirel
  • 21
  • 21
  • 18
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 9
  • 4

The weirdest thing that ever happened to me concerning languages was in Germany. I was there for three weeks with a few other students. I and another student had taken German in school, but I could not understand anything. The other girl couldn't speak. So we worked up a system: she'd tell me in Finnish what people told us and I would reply :D I think it took two weeks before I started understanding.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/timnhendricks
timnhendricks
  • 23
  • 21
  • 20
  • 20
  • 8
  • 7
  • 5
  • 2
  • 269

The thing about Germany that really tripped me up was the accent. I spent about a month in Bayern living with a family and going to school with the son. He had such a thick accent that I could barely understand anything he said for the first week and a half. We were supposed to be there to learn German and we were supposed to be 'good' German learners already, so he was rather frustrated for that first couple weeks too.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NtateNarin
NtateNarin
  • 25
  • 25
  • 22
  • 11
  • 7
  • 6

I was exactly like you!

I remember meeting a French couple, and I got so excited that I said the regular French greetings that I knew so well. The only problem? I was so nervous that when they asked, "Comment allez vous," I forgot how to respond, despite the fact that I know how to respond to that like the back of my hand.

Thankfully, I'm much better at it now, which is why I recommend to keep putting yourself in nervous situations and learn from your mistakes!

As for the friend putting you on the spot, I have one as well. She will call me to her, then when I arrive, she will point out the people right next to her saying that they speak French. It's so awkward because it comes out of nowhere and I need a couple of seconds to compose myself before initiating a conversation.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Roman_Huczok
Roman_Huczok
  • 22
  • 20
  • 14
  • 11
  • 11
  • 7
  • 5
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2

I don't think I'm so much scared of getting things wrong or etc, but when I'm writing or reading something I'm fairly solid in Spanish. I can mostly understand everything people say to me too, in fact I can even speak Spanish quite well as long as it's a voice call or something, but the moment I'm speaking Spanish to someone's face, I freeze completely and forget the whole language.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/shukladhaivat17

Hahahaxx.. Yes it happens to me manytimes.. Especially in my country, the accents change their actual form at every 100 kms. And the language itself gets changes on every 500 kms. So you can imagine how much varieties I face... :P

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lenalingo
lenalingo
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
  • 3

Lol

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kaphinga
kaphingaPlus
  • 25
  • 24
  • 23
  • 22
  • 21
  • 19
  • 18
  • 15
  • 14
  • 9
  • 9
  • 4
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1073

Although I love Duolingo, I find that it doesn't do much to help me get over stage fright. Sometimes I find that chattering to myself (or to my dogs -- e.g. -- "Come on, let's go for a walk.") in the target language on a daily basis helps. I also found the Pimsleur introductory series a nice supplement to Duolingo when I was learning Turkish. You won't learn much vocabulary with Pimsleur, but it's really good at helping one to get accustomed to responding to common questions and phrases.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lenalingo
lenalingo
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
  • 3

Yes, i learned chinese with pimseleur when i was five. I still remember those sentences:))

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tavi_s
tavi_s
  • 25
  • 25
  • 8
  • 3
  • 2

It's because all the studying in the world won't make you suddenly fluent. My initial approach to language learning was to study as much vocabulary and grammar as I could. It's a good approach, and I still stick to it, but my mistake was in thinking this would automatically translate into perfect speaking skills. When I was studying French, I found that I just could barely speak. And how did I deal with that? I thought "Obviously I don't know my grammar and vocab as well as I thought, back to my books..."

Then, about 18 months ago, I had to take a few hours of private French tuition as part of my job ( UK Civil service, European fast stream). I got initially assessed as having C2 for writing, reading, and listening. But I struggled to speak. When I did get a sentence out, it had basic conjugation mistakes. I would say things like "je voulons..." and I would be aware of the mistake as I was saying it. And in a way it wasn't even a mistake. I was perfectly aware it was wrong. And it wasn't something I could fix by going back to my books: I didn't need to revise my conjugations! That made me realize just how separate speaking is as a skill from the others. I needed to train my brain to develop the "muscle" to connect my knowledge to my mouth!

And it worked. The regular conversation practice helped my speaking skills catch up to the others rapidly . This time last year, I passed my DALF C2. I don't regret all my studying: I wouldn't have got a C2 in anything without it. I improved my speaking skills a lot faster because I already had the knowledge base to tap into. But I do regret being scared off speaking earlier on and believing it was because I wasn't "ready for it". So my advice to you is to just keep at it - the stage fright will go away eventually.

And yes, also ignore the Duolingo fluency label. It's a load of bunk.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/El_Gusano
El_Gusano
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 15
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 976

You're not alone. But you will get over it. I'm in Nicaragua right now speaking Spanish and surviving though it's not always pretty. When you speak in a structured environment like a class or a course it's quite different from an unstructured environment like a conversation where there's no set direction on what should come next. Keep learning and keep trying. It will happen soon. Good luck!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WraythRose
WraythRose
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 7
  • 6
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2

I really really don't like being put on the spot, or suddenly forgetting all my words when asked something XD I get so so red. But apparently practising conversations over and over again until you are comfortable with making mistakes is the way to get over it....

There's this irish polyglot, his way of learning a new language, is to go to the country and refuse to speak english no matter what is happening XD (Too extreme for most of us)

But first he learns basic vocab and a 'script' phrases and conversation answers to questions he is more likely to be asked (hi, how are/weather/where are you from/why are you doing this/how do you like our food/culture etc) so he can slot those in and practise, and some filler words, then learn new vocab here and there from the rest of the conversations (with some studying) and every week he adapts his 'script' as he learns more.

So he has a business now teaching this, first step? Create your basic 'script' and record yourself SAYING it, not reading it. :D Then upload it to his blog where all the others say hi and encouraging things to you!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/annqueue

Oh sure, this is normal. Just keep at it and it gets easier. I'm at the point where I can always start in Spanish with someone, but many times (wandering around tourist towns) the listener will ask if I speak English and we'll switch to that. It's okay, we're trying to conduct business and they need to get on with their day. But once in a while I'll run across someone with no English, and we muddle through in my Spanish. That's how you improve.

The worst is the very occasional person who listens to my initial statement and replies with "HUH?!", looking at me like I'm nuts. Sigh. Usually it's someone with zero experience dealing with foreigners, so they don't really mean to be rude, they just have no idea what I'm going through and no skill at interpreting poorly accented and phrased Spanish. I just try again, and often they'll get it the second time around. Sometimes they'll ask around for an English speaker. Be patient with yourself and others, and smile a lot to show your good intentions.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lenalingo
lenalingo
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
  • 3

ROFL... Yes!!! After you frazzled every synapse in your brain formulating a foreign sentence, they have the nerve to say "HUH?!!" Lololol

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rompip
Rompip
  • 25
  • 25
  • 23
  • 1768

It's something I battle with all the time. I open my mouth to say something and then can't get a whole sentence out. Then as soon as I leave I can say the whole thing perfectly in my head. Soooo frustrating!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/remnantshadows

What's worse than being put on the spot? Being put on the spot by a parent. ... bad memories

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lenalingo
lenalingo
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
  • 3

Very true... Because parents have a habit of exaggerating the abilities of their children lol

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/remnantshadows

Exactly. :D

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PennywiseMaturin

You're not the only one. Well, my issue has been the accent in Hungarian(not on duolingo yet, but will be). My problem is that my mother actually came from Hungary, and so the American accent and Hungarian accent sound the same to me. So when I go to a function full of Hungarians, and the family friend tries to speak it to me my response is "Hiiii, I'll go hide in a corner because I forgot everything and I will never be able to say it right." Well, at least that's what is going on in my mind, I normally just have an awkward silence with them. lol

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lenalingo
lenalingo
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
  • 3

Hahhahaha lol. I know the feeling my family is Portuguese and Brazilian sooo....same awkwardness

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mavricioh

I would disagree it is "stage fright". I am no learning "expert", but language learning consists of 4 main "skills" (reading, writing, speaking and listening)

Duolingo, in my experience, has mainly helped me a bit with reading and listening, but not at all with speaking or writing.

So in conclusion, it is not stage fright, it just sounds like you do not practice speaking much.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lenalingo
lenalingo
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
  • 3

Wow...so brutally honest

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mavricioh

Lol?

As some old, german guy once said: If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.

Something like that... In all seriousness, I meant no disrespect.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lenalingo
lenalingo
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
  • 3

It's all good man. Thank you for the constructive criticism

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/no.name.42
no.name.42
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 18
  • 14
  • 12
  • 10
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 1478

This happens to with French, but not Spanish. I think the biggest difference is I have been in plenty of situations where there is no other choice but to speak Spanish.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NeridaPeters
NeridaPeters
  • 25
  • 19
  • 13
  • 6
  • 5
  • 3

I know exactly how you feel! In the privacy of my own mind, my Turkish is quite good. Put me in front of a Turkish speaker (even my husband!) and I can't do it. Now my Turkish is better than my Arabic (I think), but I still speak Arabic with my husband because that's what comes into my head when I'm speaking with him.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Taurendil
Taurendil
  • 14
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
  • 6

I'm not entirely sure if you mean the same thing, although this is related. If I'm learning a language I feel like I can't speak it because it's imperfect. I have used my mother tongue for years and usually people will understand me when I speak it. But when I could use some other language, I either overly emphasize it to show I'm not serious or I say it really fast. Sometimes if I notice a person looking at me when I'm speaking a foreign language, I might just forget what I was talking about and feel ashamed. Generally speaking, though, I'm the one who knows the language well. It still makes me feel nervous.

2 years ago
Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.

Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.