Having a problem talking in English

Myrkur

Góðan Daginn
Jun 9, 2011
6,188
523
Okay so lately I'm having a really big problem talking in English. (English isn't my mother language, Dutch is) but I've been talking/writing in English since I was a little kid without any problems. I'm even doing things better in English then in Dutch, like reading books and stuff, I just get things easier in English. I have friends and family in foreign countries so I speak English a lot and I love to talk with random tourists in Amsterdam, in the train or on the airport. But lately I'm having a real problem with breathing, it's like I just stop breathing when I'm trying to say anything. My voice is getting lower when I speak and it has a huge impact on my pronunciation, I also stammer sometimes. I'm trying to read books out loud, so I can try focus on the breathing and pronunciation, but it's so frustrating..

Does this sound familiar to anyone (probably not, since there are a lot of native english speaking people around here lol) and maybe someone got some tips?

I can't believe I'm actually posting this thread, I'm so embarrassed I haven't told anyone, but I really want to get help with this.
 
Jan 22, 2009
201,620
9,543
SoFla
Okay so lately I'm having a really big problem talking in English. (English isn't my mother language, Dutch is) but I've been talking/writing in English since I was a little kid without any problems. I'm even doing things better in English then in Dutch, like reading books and stuff, I just get things easier in English. I have friends and family in foreign countries so I speak English a lot and I love to talk with random tourists in Amsterdam, in the train or on the airport. But lately I'm having a real problem with breathing, it's like I just stop breathing when I'm trying to say anything. My voice is getting lower when I speak and it has a huge impact on my pronunciation, I also stammer sometimes. I'm trying to read books out loud, so I can try focus on the breathing and pronunciation, but it's so frustrating..

Does this sound familiar to anyone (probably not, since there are a lot of native english speaking people around here lol) and maybe someone got some tips?

I can't believe I'm actually posting this thread, I'm so embarrassed I haven't told anyone, but I really want to get help with this.
english is my native language, but I don't think you're having a problem with english. it sounds to me that you're stressed out.

please don't be offended by this, but my 3-year-old niece is having the same problem right now. she has 2 sisters, & we think that she's stammering & not breathing because she's trying so hard to get her words out before 1 of her sisters interrupts her.

I'll tell you the same thing I tell her...slow down. take your time when you speak. take inventory of your life: are you under a lot of stress right now? it sounds like you might be since this is a new problem. also, don't think about the problems you have when you're speaking. I think that will only make things worse. when you notice that you're having a problem, stop, take a breath, slow down, gather your thoughts.

I think this is just a temporary thing that will pass. don't be embarrassed...stress affects us all in different ways. hugs to you :hugs:
 

Myrkur

Góðan Daginn
Jun 9, 2011
6,188
523
english is my native language, but I don't think you're having a problem with english. it sounds to me that you're stressed out.

please don't be offended by this, but my 3-year-old niece is having the same problem right now. she has 2 sisters, & we think that she's stammering & not breathing because she's trying so hard to get her words out before 1 of her sisters interrupts her.

I'll tell you the same thing I tell her...slow down. take your time when you speak. take inventory of your life: are you under a lot of stress right now? it sounds like you might be since this is a new problem. also, don't think about the problems you have when you're speaking. I think that will only make things worse. when you notice that you're having a problem, stop, take a breath, slow down, gather your thoughts.

I think this is just a temporary thing that will pass. don't be embarrassed...stress affects us all in different ways. hugs to you :hugs:
Thank you for your response! I'm not offended, I think you're right. Well I can't think of anything which stress me out at the moment, but I think you are being right about the fact I'm trying to hard. Whenever things aren't coming out the right way, I get frustrated. So I'll try to relax a bit more.
 

sally.m

O.G.
Apr 14, 2008
2,120
74
UK
First off, Congratulations. I cant speak another language so i admire someone who has the patience and dedication to learn another language.

When im nervous i say the wrong words and put them in funny orders, simply because i am panicking and not taking my time to think about what i am saying. Just breathe and take your time.
Im sure that because you are aware of the hiccup you are having you put more stress on yourself, making things much harder. Maybe you have some english songs you could sing along too, just to relax yourself whilst singing English or try chatting to friends in english. I guess it would be easier for you too if they didnt speak much English, It would put less pressure on you to be correct whilst your 'practicing'. Im sure it will return to normal once you stop thinking about it. Good luck!
 

roundandround

in circles.....
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Feb 15, 2010
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HERE,THERE & EVERYWHERE
Hoi Myrkur glad to know you're from NL:smile:

ITA with the other girls. You're just nervous and when you tried hard, the more mistakes you make. This happened to me too sometimes.If you didn't have a problem to communicate in english in the past, then it's not the language. Things will come back normally if you will relax and talk slowly. I'm glad I discovered tPF bc I can practice my english around here :smile:
 

Emerilla

O.G.
Mar 10, 2009
561
0
This is a very interesting topic actually and I thank you for bringing it up. I am Italian and I always considered myself to be a decent Italian speaking person, my Italian has always been fluent and sophisticated, even in school my Italian teachers always praised me for my way of expressing myself in both writing and speaking. Then I moved to America back in 1999 and English became my primary language. Slowly but surely I lost my confidence when speaking Italian, there have been so many situations where I just wanted to run from people because I couldn't express myself in a conversation, or at the grocery store, at the bank...I chocked, I blushed, I kept repeating to people " wait, how to you say this in Italian " and the more I realized I had an issue with my own language, the more nervous I got. It was so embarrassing and overwhelming, I didn't know what to do to get over this. Then I moved back to Italy for a while to spend some time with my family and things got a little better, but after speaking Italian everyday I started having issues when speaking English haha it's a no win situation I guess, but at least I don't get nervous anymore. I have noticed some of the problem was coming from other people looking at me funny when I couldn't complete a sentence, or at least that's what I was thinking, and that made me even more nervous. So, I tried too hard and pressured myself instead of taking it easy and focus on one language at a time :smile: I also started reading more, in both Italian and English, and that helped a lot.
Your English is very good, so don't worry about anything, just relax and be proud of yourself, speaking a foreign language the way we do is not the easiest thing in the world so yay to us Europeans, we are goooood :greengrin:
 

caitlin1214

tPF Bish
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Jul 7, 2006
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Don't be embarrassed. I agree with the others. Just slow down and take your time.

(And this may seem way out there, but along the lines of singing, what if you "sing" what you're trying to say in your head before you say it?)
 

LadyEnoki

Member
Mar 28, 2012
1,119
4
Hallo :smile:

I speak 4 languages and i also get so embarrassed if I choke when I want to express myself. It is so hard and I want to run. And once I did and of course it made me look so childish. I had an allergic reaction to the sun in Switzerland and I didn't see how bad it was when we went to the pharmacy. I was so frustrated just with it that I wasn't listening to what she was telling me in French and I couldn't explain it so I just left. It was awful. She was insistent on one thing and I on another. Lesson learned. I also choke in my native language a lot if I haven't spoken in it in a long time since I am always surrounded by English. But if we have guests who don't speak it at all it's amazing how my language improves! It's the same with any other language. And I start forgetting how to say things in English. So in any case I think you don't have to be afraid or embarrassed. It's humbling and I'm sure the poor tourists who can't speak much Dutch either are also nervous. You aim for perfection but it only comes with practice and being brave. I was blown away by how good the Dutch speak English! I still tried to speak some Dutch when I could to be as polite as I could but it was scary for me too. The effort as I see is very appreciated. Just don't worry so much on trying to say things perfectly. You'd be amazed at how many people in the US who are mono linguistic claim they speak English and Bad English like they are proud of it. It's embarrassing for the language as a whole and the country like they are proud of degrading it. Nobody else is proud of butchering it. My poor grandmother taught English all her life and didn't understand what calling someone a jackass was. :P

You just cannot be really truly fluent in more than one language. You can never achieve the level of fluency as someone who only speaks that one language. It's just a given. Be proud of being multilingual ! We see and think in many beautiful and extraordinary ways.
 

boxermom

O.G.
Aug 26, 2006
27,084
591
North Carolina
I don't have any advice--the replies so far have been excellent. I want to tell you and all the other multi-lingual members how much I admire and envy you. The US education system doesn't encourage learning other languages and it puts us at a disadvantage, IMO. I have tried learning French and German, but I was older when I began, and was terrible with both.

Whatever you can speak or read or understand in other languages is far superior to what 99% of Americans can do!

Good luck!
 

GloomyCupid

Member
Sep 7, 2012
18
0
Maryland
ah wish i would speak more languages its a little hard since school doesnt slow down and its required so its pressured. id love to learn everything and i mean every language. :smile:
 

RoseNBloom

Member
Aug 12, 2012
976
1
Not me but the people I encounter at work. No english at all in America where they have lived for decades. Frustrating that they don't know how and is somehow offended I don't know their language.

I'm just appreciative of people who try to learn English. BTW, English is my second language.