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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: Nov 2014
    • Posts: 2
    #1

    What's my problem?

    Hello everyone!

    I realized one thing - when I speak English with non-native English speakers I tend to speak much better and more fluently and when I speak with native English speakers I find myself looking for necessary words a bit longer, sometimes even confusing words.
    There was a situation that illustrates it quite well. I was talking with an American and the conversation wasn't very smooth on my part. Immediately after that conversation I had another one with a non-native English speaker and my English somehow became very fluent.
    Has anyone experienced this problem? Why does it happen? What is the solution? I thought it was a psychological barrier of being afraid to make a mistake but I don't think so. I don't feel stressed talking to natives because they say that I speak really well even when I don't speak to the best of my ability.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,815
    #2

    Re: What's my problem?

    You're probably trying too hard with the native speakers and don't feel the same pressure to perform when speaking with non-native speakers. If you could learn to speak to native speakers with the same focus on communication and not on trying to be perfect, you'll probably speak better to them too. It's not an uncommon issue. Try relaxing more around native speakers, most of whom will be more interested in what you're saying than how you're doing it. Always remember that you're doing the hard work when you're speaking a second language.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 28-May-2015 at 22:38. Reason: Minor typo

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 41,805
    #3

    Re: What's my problem?

    I think it's pretty common. I'm certain that I speak great Spanish at home on my own! When I speak to a Spaniard, I get tongue-tied and spend half the conversation apologising for my terrible Spanish.

    When you're speaking to native speakers, you're probably more intent on getting everything right because you think the native speakers will spot every little error, which the non-natives probably won't. What you need to remember is that even if the native speakers hear an error, they won't care. All they'll care about is whether they understand what you're trying to say. Relax a bit and, if you can, pretend you're speaking to non-natives all the time if it helps.

    Imagine how you feel when someone tries to talk to you in Russian if they're not a native speaker. Are you bothered if they don't get everything right grammatically or do you simply concentrate on the meaning?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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