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Old 7th November 2008, 08:57 PM   #1
Culebronchris
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Default On being terrified of speaking

I'm not after any magic solutions here or even sympathy but I wonder if anyone has the same problem as me?

My Spanish isn't too bad. I have no difficulty making myself understood where my purpose is not obvious (if you turn up at a hotel with a suitcase you probably want a room, in the butchers you probably want meat but in the Town Hall you could be after lots of things) and I can usually maintain the conversation sufficiently to transact the business. Nonetheless I am becoming more and more scared of speaking despite having lived here for four years.

Am I alone or do others have this problem?
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Old 7th November 2008, 09:12 PM   #2
Beckett
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You're definitely not alone. Because of my job I spend way too much time thinking and speaking in English. When it comes time to speak in Spanish I need several minutes to warm up. I still experience a little anxiety when I have to make phone calls in Spanish to people I don't know.

But what do you think is triggering this? Have you always been self-conscious speaking Spanish and it just feels like it's getting worse? Or were you previously pretty self-confident and have recently become increasingly anxious about speaking?
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Old 7th November 2008, 10:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Culebronchris View Post
I'm not after any magic solutions here or even sympathy but I wonder if anyone has the same problem as me?

My Spanish isn't too bad. I have no difficulty making myself understood where my purpose is not obvious (if you turn up at a hotel with a suitcase you probably want a room, in the butchers you probably want meat but in the Town Hall you could be after lots of things) and I can usually maintain the conversation sufficiently to transact the business. Nonetheless I am becoming more and more scared of speaking despite having lived here for four years.

Am I alone or do others have this problem?
YOU'RE DEFINATELY NOT ALONE!!!

This may sound a little funny but one way I have found that seems to help is to video yourself speaking spanish (to your web cam if you like). I try to improvise rather than read pre written text , but what ever works for you.you may feel some anxiety at first (as you described) but when you watch what you have recorded (and you see that you havent made a complete mess of it) it may help with you speaking/ phonecalls and general cofidence ,and obviously it is a great way to practise and see where you are making mistakes.(especially if you transcript it afterwards)


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When it comes time to speak in Spanish I need several minutes to warm up. I still experience a little anxiety when I have to make phone calls in Spanish to people I don't know.
Ditto!!!

Last edited by delgado; 7th November 2008 at 10:09 PM.
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Old 8th November 2008, 02:55 PM   #4
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Try not to over-analyse this. Don't think of it as a problem. Relax and just keep speaking!
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Old 8th November 2008, 03:41 PM   #5
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I have a similar problem, but luckily I've also met a few Spaniards in Ronda who are genuinely happy when I make that effort and they keep giving me encouragement to speak, often they tell me my Spanish is improving, or give me little corrections that help. Do you have Spaniards you can talk to who give you encouragement? It might make the difference between being nervous or not.
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Old 8th November 2008, 08:05 PM   #6
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you're definitely not alone. I'm on my fourth month studying abroad in Chile and up until recently I've really held myself back a lot in terms of speaking. Two things to consider:
- Speaking is the only way to get better at speaking
- As long as you MEAN what you say and not necessarily care WHAT you say, you're message will get across better, IMHO, than if you tried to grind a sentence through your brain before spitting it out. I've found that my host family and Chilean friends respond a lot better when I just say things as they come out than if it sounds terribly rehearsed.
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Old 8th November 2008, 08:54 PM   #7
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Phone calls are definitely the worst. I don´t know why, exactly, something about the lack of context or visual clues. Sometimes, initiating a phone call in Spanish feels exactly like making a call to ask someone out on a date. The same nervousness and rehearsing of lines...
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Old 5th December 2008, 03:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delgado View Post
This may sound a little funny but one way I have found that seems to help is to video yourself speaking spanish (to your web cam if you like). I try to improvise rather than read pre written text , but what ever works for you.you may feel some anxiety at first (as you described) but when you watch what you have recorded (and you see that you havent made a complete mess of it) it may help with you speaking/ phonecalls and general cofidence ,and obviously it is a great way to practise and see where you are making mistakes.(especially if you transcript it afterwards)
This sounds like a great idea! I'm gonna give it a shot.
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Old 5th December 2008, 10:22 AM   #9
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I recently told a joke to a group of 30 people at the English Speaking Group here in Madrid. It was a joke that appeared here. (http://www.notesfromspain.com/forums...ht=joke&page=8) post 149.
Because of the punch line I thought it funnier if I told the joke in Spanish and had it translated by a Native into English. I am happy to say it went down well with the Spanish who laughed loudly at the punchline and I felt pleased with myself. For about ten minutes.
After the meeting a visiting American lady approached me. "How long have you lived here", she asked.
"About three years", I told her.
"I would have thought your Spanish would be better", she remarked. And for the rest of the evening I could speak no Spanish. Stupid I know, but after happily making a fool of myself in front of the group I suddenly felt really self-conscious. I got over it, of course and recently had a nice compliment from my intercambio, but it makes you wonder at how at low our confidence can be at times.
Incidentally, several Spanish asked for copies of the joke as thought it was really funny.
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Old 5th December 2008, 11:03 AM   #10
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After the meeting a visiting American lady approached me. "How long have you lived here", she asked.
"About three years", I told her.
"I would have thought your Spanish would be better", she remarked. And for the rest of the evening I could speak no Spanish. Stupid I know, but after happily making a fool of myself in front of the group I suddenly felt really self-conscious. I got over it, of course and recently had a nice compliment from my intercambio, but it makes you wonder at how at low our confidence can be at times.
Wow, that remark from that lady was truly foul. I had the same experience once, but it was a Spaniard who made the remark. It was like a slap in the face and really hurt my feelings.

Like you said, Richard, one has to just shake comments like this off and keep on going.
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Old 5th December 2008, 12:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richardksa View Post
I recently told a joke to a group of 30 people at the English Speaking Group here in Madrid. It was a joke that appeared here. (http://www.notesfromspain.com/forums...ht=joke&page=8) post 149.
Because of the punch line I thought it funnier if I told the joke in Spanish and had it translated by a Native into English. I am happy to say it went down well with the Spanish who laughed loudly at the punchline and I felt pleased with myself. For about ten minutes.
After the meeting a visiting American lady approached me. "How long have you lived here", she asked.
"About three years", I told her.
"I would have thought your Spanish would be better", she remarked. And for the rest of the evening I could speak no Spanish. Stupid I know, but after happily making a fool of myself in front of the group I suddenly felt really self-conscious. I got over it, of course and recently had a nice compliment from my intercambio, but it makes you wonder at how at low our confidence can be at times.
Incidentally, several Spanish asked for copies of the joke as thought it was really funny.
Richard, your Spanish is OK by me and not as flawed as that wench's manners.
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Old 5th December 2008, 12:27 PM   #12
Ben
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People never cease to amaze, how on earth could she say something so crass and ridiculous? You should have come up with some sort of classic Winston Churchill put down
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Old 5th December 2008, 12:38 PM   #13
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When I was in Santiago I asked a man for directions, ( in spanish) and the reply I got was: Well, we are in the same situation, even tough I speak spanish.
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Old 5th December 2008, 12:54 PM   #14
delgado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richardksa View Post
I recently told a joke to a group of 30 people at the English Speaking Group here in Madrid. It was a joke that appeared here. (http://www.notesfromspain.com/forums...ht=joke&page=8) post 149.
Because of the punch line I thought it funnier if I told the joke in Spanish and had it translated by a Native into English. I am happy to say it went down well with the Spanish who laughed loudly at the punchline and I felt pleased with myself. For about ten minutes.
After the meeting a visiting American lady approached me. "How long have you lived here", she asked.
"About three years", I told her.
"I would have thought your Spanish would be better", she remarked. And for the rest of the evening I could speak no Spanish. Stupid I know, but after happily making a fool of myself in front of the group I suddenly felt really self-conscious. I got over it, of course and recently had a nice compliment from my intercambio, but it makes you wonder at how at low our confidence can be at times.
Incidentally, several Spanish asked for copies of the joke as thought it was really funny.
No te comas el coco sobre ello,escribes (y imagino que hablas) muy bien en castellano, todo el mundo sabe que la gran mayoria de la gente tarda al menos 6 años en aprenderlo(correctamente, con fluidez y incluso de las jergas y eso). Te diría que todo el mundo le costaría gastar bromas en castellano(incluso yo) delante de 30 personas ,así que no le hagas caso a ella y Me pregunto si ella hubiera podido hacerlo tan bien como tú.

" no existen comentarios tontos sino tontos que comentan"

Last edited by delgado; 5th December 2008 at 11:31 PM. Reason: correction
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Old 5th December 2008, 06:52 PM   #15
Margot
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Estoy de acuerdo con Delgado.
Cualquier persona con aun un ápice de sensibilidad no diría algo tan insensible - me parece que elle tenga un problema (la hostilidad contra...? De hecho, es probable que ella estuviera hablando de si misma y de su propria frustración sobre su habilidad con la lengua. ).

Lo importante Richardska: no es verdad.

Last edited by Margot; 5th December 2008 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 6th December 2008, 05:12 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delgado View Post
" no existen comentarios tontos sino tontos que comentan"
me gusta mucho eso!
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