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Hilfe mit Konversation/Vertrauen

I'm a 4th year university student with German as a minor. I had a presentation today in complete German and... well it was very humbling, A TRAINWRECK. I'm the only minority, the 7 other students dont interact with me much, they are near fluent , and I already have a fear of public speaking in English so German is x100 worse. The entire class is German conversation.
Everyone speaks so casually but not to me so a practice buddy is out of the question.

My grammar isnt horrible but I'm still too afraid to stack verbs and clauses, use prepositions or da-compounds, nonetheless in different tenses.

So my main question is.. how does everyone break out of the 3rd grade German phase and gain more confidence? At this point I'm too afraid to talk even though thats exactly what I need to do. I'm a 4th year German minor and Im behind.

What habits work best for you!?

January 25, 2018



Speaking a foreign language is stressful. That is the most usual thing. I never liked speaking out as well (but today I am fluent in several languages). What can you do?

  • First, according to my experience, quick learners are often rather superficial learners. They often (not always though) lack pursuit of perfectionism, but are readily content with their skills so far. Whereas tacit people may be a bit more reserved due to their own standards they do not meet. Keep this in mind. And just keep on. Chances are you might overtake them rather sooner than later.

  • Second, in order to minimise your own fear of speaking, immerse. Speak not only to learners, but to natives. This will have two effects: First, it will show you that no matter how deficient your German is, natives will understand you and be able to communicate with you. Second, it will raise the bar for fear. If you have overcome your being afraid to talk to those all-ease-talking people, you will have mastered a totally different level thus allowing your self-confidence to flourish and speak more freely. And, most of all, voluntarily, eagerly and happily.

  • Third, do not learn by grammar alone. You may make huge leaps in learning phrases ready to be uttered. Pick frequent ones at first and go for perfection there. You may as well go for (narrative) German lyrics and extract some lines. Of course, this alone will not enable you to be the best German speaker around, but if you learn vocabulary in addition and just exchange words for those in the phrasal structures you have already learned by heart, the results will be perfectly grammatical and you will not have to think of grammar at all. Plus, your pronunciation/prosody will be as good as it gets.

  • Fourth, even if it sounds stupid, go for monologues. This is far more effective than reading only. In addition to your vision of the German, you also hear it. This will help your memorising greatly. So whenever you are alone, take your time and try to put things in German. Repitition is king here as well.

There are several others, but I think these may be helpful. As for me, I hate learning foreign languages (even though I am really good at it). This does not matter. Just be persistent and do not lose the trust in yourself. Late proficiency does not mean anything bad at all -- good things come to those who wait.

  • 487

Oh, i feel your pain! It is the same for me and Ukrainian. There are a few things that helped me: - read and listen as much as you can (you can only start to trust your skills, if you notice how they grow) - you can use the "simple news" service of Deutschlandfunk http://www.nachrichtenleicht.de (Ist designed for people with learning disabilities. Complicated and foreign words are always explained. + They speak slowly and you are up to date what's going on in Germany - find friends to chat with. In a chat nobody notices, when it takes you longer to answer

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