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Speaking foreign language confidence tips?

I'm currently 44% fluent in Spanish (according to Duolingo) and I am confident forming and understanding sentences. However, I have never been confident speaking to other people and I will be starting a new school next year - in a class of five, I will be the only non-fluent student and I am absolutely terrified. Any advice?

July 21, 2017



This post has a ton of tips for shy people.

You'll do fine - practice ahead if you doubt your skills and memorize essential words. Don't be afraid to mess up, if you aren't fluent, it will happen! (well, it happens with fluent speakers also :P)


Memorizing the words would be effective, as well as practice.

Practicing constantly ahead of time; memorize important words, practice pronouncing the words correctly. Proficiency in another language takes more than memorization, though; concentration, motivation, a goal, and time, time, time!

Making mistakes isn't something you should be anxious about too much; everyone does it, and that's something that helps you learn for the future!


Bad news: The fluency meter is not accurate. :-(


True, but I don't think she was asking about that. Just how to build confidence.


Yeah, but the OP mentioned it though.


Entire comment was directed at something made in passing and 0% of it went to actually answering OP's question. Hence my response.


I'm a shy person and I have to learn how to speak up even in my native language, lol. My only advice is to take a deep breath, walk up with a smile and say "Hola". You might be surprised at your own ability, and you might be bummed by the fact that you didn't know a word. Either way, use that as inspiration to keep going! And many native speakers will be surprised by how much you know.


I've always felt it easier to speak with someone who can not speak English.


I was watching a group lesson for Welsh on Youtube(here: https://youtu.be/e-xIHdYB55s?t=33m42s) and the teachers basically tell you to roleplay. They gave their students very stereotypical Welsh names/identities for in class.
Basically, anything that helps you get out of the identity of someone just learning the language and may even have bad memories associated with past experiences while you're practicing. Essentially, you should start internalizing that identity, or at least the confidence that should go with it, for your Spanish speaking and it will carry over to when you speak it "for real". When you're practicing it with someone, take on ridiculously Spanish names like "Maria Carmen Guadalupe de la Virgen Veracruz Hernandez" from Tepic or something. I mean, of course, with it being understood with whoever you practice that it's just a learning/confidence exercise.


Practice in front of a mirror or wherever and whenever you' feel comfortable speaking aloud to yourself. Thinking in Spanish will also work miracles on your Spanish skills (try commenting on things you read (such as books) in Spanish to begin with, comments like: that is so mean, that is stupid or this is interesting. Try to keep it simple in the beginning). Personally I like to do it while cycling, but I'm not sure if that is an option for you.

I hope this helps.

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