I understand but, I can´t speak
From reading my blogs over the last few months, you might have noticed I have an interest in Spain and it’s language. It’s true. It’s an interest and whether it is unhealthy or not, I’ll leave it you to decide that. The language itself is one I want to be fluent in and hopefully I will be someday. I got the ball rolling in February of this year, I started a beginners course in Spanish and I learnt a lot from it. I felt confident in what I knew and added to that by listening to some podcasts, and by writing to Spanish speakers in their native language. I did my level best to speak some few lines during my time in Spain. So I had planned.
What I found out was how little I knew. Yes, I could order a drink and ask for directions, and yes, I could talk about the weather and how bad or good it was but my knowledge was limited. I didn’t know much else. It didn’t help either by meeting people from non-Spanish speaking countries. I could have gone out of my way to meet some Spanish people, but it’s in the past now!
Anyway..ten weeks of beginners Spanish doesn’t really help but it does give you a taster. Since then I have done more reading, listened to more podcasts and written more emails to some friends abroad. That’s all fine and well and anything that makes me understand the language is great. To reciprocate is another thing.
I started back last Monday to an improvers class at the same college. Another ten weeks would help me improve I thought..why not give it a go?! I met some people I knew from the first course and some had kept their learning up. Others had joined in with sufficient knowledge that they didn’t need a beginners course. This class would be all in Spanish I was told. Ok, I find it hard speaking in English to a group, but in Spanish? The nerves kicked in. Next we were told we needed to talk about ourselves for a while. Fair enough..that can’t be too bad?! I started off and after about a minute or so, the dreaded “umms and ehhs” kicked in. Next, one of the better members of the class stepped up. She had brilliant Spanish and I was left wondering why she needed to take this course?! Even though she sat a metre from me, you could see the gulf from a mile.
I really did think about dropping from the course after that class. But if I do that, I won’t get any better.
I read this recently about learning any language:
“Most students would say “I understand but, I can´t speak”. I believe this is just fear of being criticised by other people. A high-dose of inhibition is needed!!”