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I know everyone has to go through their awkward rough patches when learning a language. The incorrect vocabulary, the poor accent, the lack of confidence and fluency. But the truth is that at the end of the day, English is a language and it’s something that enables communication. If you are successfully communicating what you mean and people are responding appropriately, you are succeeding.
So let’s look at it another way. Why don’t we think about speaking English from the perspective of what is being heard. Are you saying something clearly that is worth listening to?
To be honest with you, I can tell you that if your English isn’t very good, and you come across a native speaker and you try to talk to them, if you can’t make yourself understood, they will just wish you’d go away. Let’s be honest here, this is the truth. As you would do the same if someone came to you trying to speak your language. If you weren’t their teacher, you’d give up after a while.
So though it sounds a tough call, and my crush some students confidence, the best thing to do is to consider first, am I saying something in English worth hearing?
In this I’m not talking about the content of your sentence, if you are an interesting person who is engaging and fascinating, not everyone can do that. But one thing everyone can do, is make sure their spoken word is audible and clearly understood. Once a listener realizes that you are a learner of English they will show some patience and care but if you don’t care what comes out of your mouth, they’ll switch off and assume your comment wasn’t worth hearing.
So take a second look at what you are saying here. Is what you are saying something that can be understood, do you believe you are communicating clearly? It doesn’t have to be perfect, you only have to make sure you get the message across.
All you have to do is care about what you are saying. Period.
What do you think? Is this too harsh a way to look at speaking? Will it lower people’s confidence to speak? Let me know what you think.