Confidence in speaking

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Re: Confidence in speaking

Postby smallwhite » Fri May 22, 2020 12:54 pm

HerrSignore wrote:
smallwhite wrote:
HerrSignore wrote:
Speaking is, by far, my weakest aspect of my languages.
I am really struggling with speaking.

I am reduced into a sweaty, quivering mess
It's a serious confidence issue;

There are 2 factors: ability, confidence.
One can be any of 4: low ability low confidence, low ability high confidence, high ability low confidence, high ability high confidence.

Ability and confidence are independant.
Which one is it you really need to fix?

I'm not sure why you've quoted those sections and what your point is. What do you think it is?

I have added pink remarks to my last post to show why I've quoted those sections.

I can't know what your problem is.
There are 2 factors: ability, confidence.
One can be any of 4: low ability low confidence, low ability high confidence, high ability low confidence, high ability high confidence.
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Re: Confidence in speaking

Postby HerrSignore » Fri May 22, 2020 1:21 pm

I see, well... thanks for the riddle, I guess! :D
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Re: Confidence in speaking

Postby Flickserve » Fri May 22, 2020 1:43 pm

If you have done presentations and need to do a good one, what do you do?

You learn your slides and what you want to say off by heart. To deliver without the umms and errs, you practice speaking the same things repetitively.

If you find yourself stuttering at certain sentences, recording yourself is a good strategy. Pick a five minute section and work out the parts of the sentences which were really hard to express. If you are fairly confident in your pronunciation and intonation, you could just practice repeating that segment and then gradually using it in the whole sentence. Just like a piano player might get stuck over one section of music and practice just that section.

Or, you work with a tutor with speaking and have a recording. You can record the tutors voice. Pick your sentence of choice. Ask the tutor to say the sentence slowly and also at near natural speed. You shadow and chorus the sentence in your own time. Just keep practicing until you can get sentences out almost automatically - like a musician. Once you have built up a core number of sentences which come out naturally this should help quite a lot; then work on other sentences.
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Re: Confidence in speaking

Postby Arturo » Fri May 22, 2020 3:39 pm

smallwhite wrote:
HerrSignore wrote:
Speaking is, by far, my weakest aspect of my languages. <- ability
I can read... listen... but I am really struggling with speaking. <- ability

I am reduced into a sweaty, quivering mess <- confidence
It's a serious confidence issue; <- confidence

There are 2 factors: ability, confidence.
One can be any of 4: low ability low confidence, low ability high confidence, high ability low confidence, high ability high confidence.

Ability and confidence are independant.
Which one is it you really need to fix?

I'm in a similiar boat. For my confidence can impact my ability by leaps and bounds. If I'm talking to someone new or I haven't spoken in a while, then it reduces me to sounding like I can't string sentences together with poor intonation. When I'm in a relaxed environment then it's the opposite. In the former, I know people aren't judging me if I make a mistake so I don't know how to overcome this roadblock. It stems from when I was a beginner and people would switch languages if they saw I was struggling.
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Re: Confidence in speaking

Postby Jiwon » Fri May 22, 2020 4:23 pm

One thing that really helped me was posting videos of me speaking German on Youtube. I posted the links on my learning log, and many German speakers graciously gave me constructive feedback about my pronunciation and prosody. This was very helpful in boosting up my confidence, because I didn't have any native German speakers to speak to.

Another thing that was helpful to me was writing out role plays. There are many textbooks with conversations parts. You can adopt them to be your own speaking practice flash cards. For example, if there was a conversation about arriving at a hotel in the text book, consider taking 4 to 5 questions from the conversation, and write them on one side of your flash cards. For example.

1. Guten Abend. Wie kann ich Ihnen helfen?
2. Haben Sie eine Reservierung?
3. Wie viele Zimmer möchten Sie?
4. Sonst noch etwas?

On the other side of the flash cards, you will write prompts for possible answers. Prompts only. They can be pictures or just keywords in your native language or your target language.

1. 1/2/3 days. übernachten.
2. vor 3 Tagen anrufen / Agoda / Nein
3. 2 one-bed rooms / 1 three-bed room / 2 two-bed rooms
4. Nope / Breakfast time / restaurant nearby

You can first practice by looking at the questions, and then flipping over to look at the prompts, which will help to formulate your sentences. As you get better, you won't need the prompts for you to answer these questions. This activity has improved my ability and confidence to respond in each situation.
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Re: Confidence in speaking

Postby bedtime » Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:32 pm

I have just a small tip: do not take it so seriously.

I made some funny comebacks that I can easily blurt out while I'm thinking. This accomplishes a couple of things:

1. It gives you time to think.
2. It gives you an out, which can help to take the pressure off of yourself.
3. It helps to take the pressure off of the person you're talking to by making them feel more comfortable. If they see that you're making mistakes but that you're confident and comfortable, they'll feel more comfortable too.
4. It'll sound more natural—better to blurt out something funny/comforting than to stand there frustrated and struggling.

Some examples of what you might say (All quoted text to be said in whatever language you are trying to speak):

Ugh, I knew I shouldn't have skipped my coffee this morning. :roll:

It's been a long day. Could you repeat that?

If you've made a mistake and they've corrected you, you can say (even if it's a beginner's mistake):

Never trust Google Translate.

If you still don't understand, you can just ask them to repeat in English:

Could you have merci on a poor fool and repeat that in English?

Then you can say back to them in their language:

Now we're talking my language!

Proceed to talk their language.


These comments my be seen as self-depreciating to some readers, but if done correctly, chances are that they'll be precieved as a witty way out of an uncomfortable position. People are likely to appreciate the humour and be more understanding. Most people know how difficult it can be to learn a new language.


And lastly, to look and feel confident,

smile :D
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Re: Confidence in speaking

Postby DanielGoodson » Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:20 pm

I struggled a lot with my English speaking. One rather unconventional method I still use is to produce a podcast called name removed by Bluepaint - see self-promotion rules. On very short episodes, I talk about language related topics (of course, in English).

Recording yourself without publishing would do the trick as well!

Besides that, I started out with a speaking challenge a couple days ago. I throw a dice and depending on the result I talk about a different topic. Afterwards, I analyse my own speech and upload the video on a private Facebook group.
This seems to help tremendously.

Cheers, Daniel
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Re: Confidence in speaking

Postby Kahvipuu » Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:54 pm

I have found talking to myself a very good way to get more confident speaking a foreign language. Learning Russian I had at the beginning much struggling with speaking and producing. However, I got into a habit of thinking in Russian at first and then slowly starting to utter the words and sentences aloud (when I knew nobody heard). Then I started giving a running commentary about the things I was doing, trying not to mind too much about not knowing some words. Having done this on a daily basis for several weeks my confidence slowly began improving and after half a year I was one of the most confident speakers in my Russian study group. Maybe this could also work for you :)
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Re: Confidence in speaking

Postby TeoLanguages » Thu Jul 09, 2020 5:18 pm

HerrSignore wrote:Speaking is, by far, my weakest aspect of my languages. My German is now at a point where I can read novels with good enough understanding and listen to news broadcasts and pick up most things, but I am really struggling with speaking. Even with my German speaking wife, I am reduced into a sweaty, quivering mess whenever we attempt talking in German. It's a serious confidence issue; I have the knowledge and should be able to apply it, but I can't.

I know the answer to this question is probably, 'just practice more,' but wow, it's hard. Perhaps there are exercises, prompts, something/anything to help me speak more fluently!

Just practice more :lol:
Ok, seriously. I think that we are all in the same boat, so it's nothing to be extremely worried about. For me personally the turning point was when I understood that apart from speaking there is no other way to improve speaking skills. So I just started speaking, even to myself! Of course, at the beginning I made tons of hideous mistakes and countless pauses while speaking but in the long run it made me acquire confidence, and that's the catch. Of course, this strategy is thorny since it requires a patient and trusty interlocutor you can rely on with closed eyes but don't give up. I think that any skill in a foreign language is a matter of trial and error. With no mistakes, there is no success.
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Re: Confidence in speaking

Postby tangleweeds » Wed Aug 05, 2020 3:16 am

HerrSignore wrote:
smallwhite wrote:Ability and confidence are independant.
Which one is it you really need to fix?

I'm not sure why you've quoted those sections and what your point is. What do you think it is?

[edit: Oops, it's months later and there's a whole 'nother page of replies here. My browser showed me this as a lonely post, but I've been having browser issues. Apologies, but maybe someone will find it useful]

Can you form reasonably down sentences in your head but not speak them when you're embarrassed that someone is listening? If you can form them in your head, do you then have trouble pronouncing them? Or do you need to write things down to figure them out first? I think smallwhite is right in that targeting the specifics of your problem will help to target your solutions.

Scenario 1
You need to write things down with time to think in order to create well-formed output. This is super common if you're an introvert who mostly input. Obviously continue with as much writing as possible and get all the feedback on it you can (can you hand your bland journal-in-German to your wife after dinner every evening?). But, as others have suggested, also get into the habit of thinking as many as possible of your trivial daily thoughts in German, even if it has to be as mundane as "That car is green" and "Look, a cat!"

Scenario 2
You can wander around thinking in German, but when you try to speak it you discover that your tongue is clumsy, making it embarrassing to talk. Time to talk to the plant and dog, and most definitely record yourself. In learning music, recording yourself is useful not only to hear the errors you miss when you're busy performing, but also to help you get used to putting yourself on the spot to perform on cue.

Scenario 3
You can speak German just fine with the plant and dog, but when you're faced with another human being you blank and melt. I would maybe find/pay some random internet native speakers other than your wife (whose opinions you hopefully care about) for conversations sessions. Random internet people have the benefit that if you sound ridiculous, it doesn't matter, because you'll never contact them again, just like practicing on random strangers in a large city.
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