Have you ever felt that you can speak fluently in front of familiar environments and people, but when the environment and people become unfamiliar, your spoken language level suddenly drops?
Context and Topics
You would surely agree that in front of familiar contexts and subjects, our vocabulary, sentence patterns, and habits of expression are relatively stable. However, our spoken language ability may decrease once we enter unfamiliar contexts and person. This is because we are unfamiliar with new topics and subjects and lack related vocabulary, sentence patterns, and experience, thus making it difficult to express ideas fluently.
Choosing the ideal conversation partner is half the success.
The person with the patience to listen to you, and help you complete your expression, is the ideal practice partner for improving your spoken language. Even if your spoken ability is only 4/10 for unfamiliar topics, with their help and encouragement, you can reach 7/10.
What we need most when practicing spoken language is not a “teacher” who constantly corrects and suggests during speaking but someone with whom you don’t have to worry about how well you speak and can chat and communicate openly.
Maybe you are blaming yourself again: “My spoken language is poor. How can I blame others for not being patient?
If I ask you to imagine for a minute that someone you love needs to be cared for – this person can be your parent, child, friend, or partner – what would you do? You probably wouldn’t scold them: “If you’re not doing well, don’t make excuses!” Instead, you would tell them: “Finding a suitable practice partner can help you build confidence. This ideal partner is not limited to learning languages but can also be a work partner, a business partner, a partner forming a family, and a teammate. No task doesn’t require a careful selection of partners. So why should we not make choices when practicing spoken language and let ourselves bear all the burden?”
I suddenly understand that adjusting one’s mindset is actually taking good care of oneself.
如何应对”I don’t understand what you said”？
当我们试图用外语与他人交流时，我们可能会遇到这样的回应：“I don’t understand”。在这种情况下，我们可能会感到挫败，习惯性地怀疑自己的语言和学习能力。这几乎是每个语言学习者都会遇到的心里陷阱。
We become less afraid of losing face when we are kind to ourselves.
How to deal with “I don’t understand what you said”?
When we try to communicate with others in a foreign language, we might encounter such a response: “I don’t understand.” In this situation, we may feel frustrated, habitually doubting our language and learning abilities. This is a psychological trap that almost every language learner encounters.
To adjust your mindset, you must identify the typical characteristics of a [suboptimal] conversation partner:
They are working or not in a social state, don’t want to chat, and don’t have time to explain.
They lack experience communicating with foreigners and habitually say: “I can’t understand what you’re saying.” They don’t know how to adjust the difficulty of expression to ensure the conversation continues smoothly.
In such cases, don’t put pressure on yourself. Not everyone is always ready to chat with foreigners, and that’s not anyone’s fault.
Trying too hard, on the contrary, becomes unnatural 🤯😶🌫️😥
How often, when I found out that people didn’t understand me, would I try harder to speak “grammatically correct” sentences and ensure my “pronunciation is standard”.
But the harder I try, the more unnatural it becomes. Even I can tell that I don’t usually speak like this. Trying too hard, on the contrary, becomes unnatural.
What do native speakers do when they can’t be understood or can’t find the words? They might casually say, “I don’t know if you understand what I’m saying. If you don’t, that’s fine. ” When you struggle to chat with others in your native language, you would probably say the same thing. You won’t insist on making everything you say clearly understood. Sometimes, It’s okay if people don’t. It doesn’t that matter.
我做了一个大胆地尝试，尽可能每个星期都组织一次免费的线上中文见面会活动。邀请12位中文学习者，通过ZOOM Meeting 畅聊各种话题。
Where to find opportunities to practice Chinese language skills
I’ve attempted to organize a free online Chinese meetup almost every week. We invite 12 Chinese learners to chat about various topics via ZOOM Meeting.
🏆 Whether you are a member of our official website or our Youtube channel, you have the priority to join.
✅ Official website members can access the course page directly to get the ZOOM invitation link.
At the same time, we also welcome Chinese enthusiasts from all over the world to participate.
Send an application to firstname.lastname@example.org. Briefly introduce yourself; for example, what’s your name? Which country are you from? What is your current occupation, and what topics would you like to discuss?
This can help us make better and more sufficient topic preparation before the meetup.
At the same time, please read the following activity rules and statements carefully to ensure that your legal rights are protected.
Activity Guidelines and Statement
To ensure the smooth running of the online event, please adhere to the following guidelines:
Protect personal privacy and refrain from asking for or revealing others’ private information during the event.
Maintain politeness and friendliness and avoid discriminatory or aggressive language.
Keep your environment quiet, and avoid making noise to prevent disrupting the course of the event.
To ensure the safety of participants, we will be recording the entirety of this meeting.
We solemnly declare:
We respect and protect individual portrait rights and privacy. Without your permission, we will not post the video recording of the meetup on the Internet or any social platform.
However, we will post group photos and discussion topics from the meetup on social media for promotional purposes.
We may also use parts of your recording for course production.
We assure you that we will not disclose your portrait and real name nor defame or produce malicious content that harms your interests.
【Accepting this invitation is regarded as your agreement to the above terms.】
We look forward to a pleasant learning time with you!
We eagerly await your participation!
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