Learning a Language

What I'm about to say is not a huge revelation and many before me have said the same.

Learning a language is hard.

I technically speak Spanish.  I took classes throughout high school (and my HS had an immersive, no English allowed, approach to teaching languages).  I spent a summer in Spain.  I've visited Argentina (and spent the majority of time with Spanish-speakers) 3 times.  I can get by with my limited knowledge of the subjunctive and the few vocabulary words that I know.

Post-Buenos Aires, I wanted to brush up on my Spanish so I felt confident speaking the language.  I downloaded Duolingo, changed my phone to Spanish, and began texting with my Argentine friends in Spanish only.  I also dedicated a notebook to new Spanish words and phrases that I am learning (or forgot and am relearning).  Sometimes I even listen to Spanish talk radio.  This is all great.

Here's the catch: learning a language is hard when you do not practice speaking.  I can sit and craft witty Spanish text messages for hours.  But put me in front of a group of Spanish speakers and I choke.  This happened on Sunday and I was pretty embarrassed.

What can I (or anyone...) do to get the cojones to just go for it -- speak Spanish, mess up, sound like an American trying to learn Spanish, but improve?

Any and all suggestions are welcome.

Comments

  1. Keep getting embarrassed! It takes a lot of putting your pata in your boca before you get comfortable. YOU ARE BETTER THAN YOU THINK YOU ARE, and people appreciate the effort far more than they notice the mistakes.

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