LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||12/MAR/2010 9:52 PM|
|Assunto:||Fear of speaking in a second language|
Hi there, Sidney.
Were you talking about me? he he...
In some ways I am like this, have been part of my life, studying and job.
In fact, in the last course I took I could talk well, but I experienced a feeling like my mind gone blank.
We went to another room to train (for some minutes) our lines but, for me, the words simply never came, and then they came; at first awkwardly then I would have them.
It was some sort of adjustment. Even in Portuguese; one day I had to make an essay (digo, redação) and when I saw the title "ploc" my grey matter had dissolved or something. Again, with time it worked.
On the other hand, I have noticed that when I know, when I do know something I don´t get nervous or anxious. Let´s say, if I have to say something obvious, an easy matter, I don´t get that edgy.
Even if I have to deal with a difficult boss, an hostile audience or what you have
but if I have to explain that two plus two equals four I don´t get my hands sweating or shaking, don´t stutter, my voice doesn´t get thin and I don´t jerk when I grab things.
Sidney, many pieces of advice there (in the link you divulged) are very interesting and gainful. About breathing, it wasn´t there, but I would add to them: count to five (or more), give a damn to mistakes (the minor ones, don´t be such a perfectionist!).
Why do you feel at home in Canada? some possible reasons:
1-Your neighbourhoods or your co-workers were nice;
2- The Canadians you knew let you at ease (weren´t that judgemental or nitpickers...); there are people even in Brazil that I don´t get comfortable to talk to, if this can be of some cold comfort.
3- You had some stereotypes into play (pre judging that Americans are mean, because you had some bad previous experience with one...) or even by hearsay; sometimes our parents pass on "commo-sense knowledge" like these. They stuck in our brain even tough we don´t realize.
4- As for English speakers doing well in Brazil, to begin with, their parents teach about being a world citizen and the variety of languages.
Second, they know that in Brazil people are warm and welcoming; and most of them aren´t judgemental; and third, they know that English is the language or commerce and finance and international movies/art etc.
Now the accent; I think we are starting the language learning in Brazil (in a serious way, I mean). So, it´s natural that our accent don´t be that good as yet.
Plus, even many Americans don´t master a perfect accent.
That´s more, many of them accept that the proverbial "local variety of English" exists, so they know that there are a Singaporean English, a Caribean one, a British one. And who knows? maybe they are adjusting themselves to accept the Brazilian one (pronounce-wise, but I am not advocating an English on it´s own right. The more close to the "original" English wich you learn from, the more accepted it is).
Sometimes it is not complaining, it´s a way of trying to help, they are very practical sometimes and we understand this as they being rough! it´s not the case, many times.
Cultural, on Brazilian part, yep. Because our society have a serious problem with
self-steem. Like a soccer team from Northeast playing agaisnt a team from Rio (no matter how he is doing well; suddenly, when confronted with these teams they lose or get a tie!) I am not talking about a match, there some matches in wich our teams
score 3 or 4-0 agains them, but I am talking about the pattern...the long run.
On the other hand, there are many (millions) of English speakers that really don´t feel comfortable with a simpleton like me, butting in their conversations (I have noticed that in chats...but most of times they turn into friends of mine).
Well, I am not going on and on, even because I am uninspired today. However, my aim was not to cover all sides of this question, only kick it off.
That´s my twopence, then.
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