Lavoisel   Tuesday, November 23, 2004, 18:07 GMT
<<No offence, Tom, but I would like to know (in case English is your native language) if you speak any foreign language and if you learnt it right away without making any mistakes at all.>>

Sanja, you really, really should read the website to which this forum belong. You will be surprised.
Tom   Tuesday, November 23, 2004, 22:13 GMT
Of course you can't avoid making mistakes completely, but that doesn't mean you should speak when you don't know how to say the things you want to say.

"How would I be able to improve if I didn't actually use the language and make mistakes?"

One word: INPUT.
Boy   Wednesday, November 24, 2004, 12:39 GMT

I'm not yet ready to speak so I won't speak. Simple as that. But what if someone was asking me something in English for example an English speaking guy.. what should I say to him..oh no.. I'm not ready to speak in your language so I can't answer of your question. This thing happened a few days ago when a local-American born guy was asking me something in the language and I didn't respond to him at all .. even I understood every individual English word that he spoke at that time but what all I did.. just stared at him..cause I feared I'd make lots of mistakes infront of many people who sat along with me.. I hope he didn't mind it at all for not answering of his query..

Yep. I often watch English channels on Tv and read stuff in English on the net but still I'm afraid of speaking in public. It sounds like I have a personality problem..I'm easily become nervous when It comes to speaking in the language. I guess I need to read a book on instilling "self-belief ". I don't know what my main problem is, but I tell you it is difficult to utter something when a dozen faces are staring at you!
Sanja   Wednesday, November 24, 2004, 17:09 GMT
Tom: "One word: INPUT."

Well, that's all I'm talking about. You have to actually use the language and go through the process of making mistakes and correcting them, in order to get better at a foreign language.
Tom   Wednesday, November 24, 2004, 18:58 GMT
No, you're talking about OUTPUT.


I'm sure there are some simple sentences that you can utter without fear. E.g. "My name is Boy", "What do you mean?" "He went away", etc.

Start from such sentences and work your way up.

Also, remember that it's not that bad to make a mistake if you're aware of it. Especially if you have the native speaker tell you the correct way.

Another idea:

Here's what to do whenever you experience a situation like the one you described (you're afraid to speak and don't say anything). When you come home, write down the sentences that you should have said. Repeat them to yourself. You can add them to SuperMemo.

The next time you're in this situation, you will know what to say.
Sanja   Wednesday, November 24, 2004, 19:48 GMT
That's nonsense. If you can communicate in English and you can say a lot of different sentences and people can understand you, who cares if you make mistakes? Native speakers will surely understand it and won't mind the fact that your English is not perfect. Of course I'm not talking about official things (you have to be perfect there), but just ordinary communication. If I can talk in English for a while, even if I make mistakes that's still better than just saying "My name is Sanja" and stuff like that.
Besides, you can't learn a foreign language only from the books, you learn better when you're actually using it in practise and talking to people. At least in my case it was like that. I always had the best grades in English, but when I finished school my English still sucked until I started using the Internet and chatting in English. You have to use the language in everyday situations. Tom, your theory doesn't make sense.
Lavoisel   Wednesday, November 24, 2004, 20:58 GMT
Sanja   Friday, November 26, 2004, 17:03 GMT
Practice is always better than theory.
dutchboy   Saturday, November 27, 2004, 00:05 GMT
I disagree with Tom as well. Mistakes are inevitable when learning something as difficult as a new language. And I know that it's usually until after I catch myelf making a mistake and then make the correction that I learn that particular part of the langauge that I was having trouble with. I don't think that undermining someone's analogy was exactly the right thing to do because everyone knew exacty what was meant. But, THANK YOU Tom, for clearing that up for us and refiguring that anology. Great job!
Tom   Saturday, November 27, 2004, 14:04 GMT

Which part of what I said do you disagree with? I agree that mistakes are inevitable. But that doesn't mean you should not try to avoid them.
Steve K   Saturday, November 27, 2004, 16:13 GMT
The one point where I disagree with Tom. Language is a tool for communication. You will never be perfect in a second language and should not expect prefection of yourself. However, you should constantly seek to improve. Read, listgen, consciously work to increase vocabulary, be observant of the language, use it unselfconcsiously as much as possible. You will improve if you want to.
lawrance   Saturday, November 27, 2004, 22:31 GMT
i/m really interested in what you guy talking about. i dont care about making mistake. i cant open the mouth to speak just because my speed and i cant speak fast and fluently. its not easy to say American born guy will understand you and accept you. thats all what i mean
Sanja   Monday, November 29, 2004, 17:02 GMT
Of course you should try to avoid mistakes, but you can't just avoid speaking English until you learn to speak it perfectly, because you can't learn to speak it perfectly right away. You just have to use it over the years and you will notice that you make fewer and fewer mistakes. You will improve with practice.
Tiffany   Monday, November 29, 2004, 18:23 GMT
I think I understand what Tom is saying though I don't entirely agree with it either. The way Tom phrases it, it sounds militant to me, but I think he really means that it is ok to make mistakes as long as you know (or try hard to find out) that they are incorrect. Don't accept imperfection. This is what I think: You MUST speak to improve, but you must also actively seek input into what you are saying. Don't be afraid of mistakes - you shouldn't let them hold you back, but at the same time do not accept them. You must always seek to improve, but you will never learn if you do not try.
Tiffany   Monday, November 29, 2004, 18:25 GMT
Tom, if you do not agree with my assessment of your ideas, excuse me. I will then revert to thinking you are militant. However, to each their own.