It’s okay to make mistakes in front of native speakers

It’s okay to make mistakes in front of native speakers

It’s okay to make mistakes in front of native speakers

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but…

It is okay to make mistakes in front of native speakers.

Repeat this to yourself as many times as you need.

If you’re able to express yourself in your non-native language, you’re amazing, clever and brilliant. Don’t forget that, ever!

Let me tell you something about native English speakers:

Most of us don’t have the same level of fluency in another language as you have in English.

By chance, we have been born in a place where the ‘dominant’ global language is spoken. We have saved time and money as a result; we have an unfair advantage. We never have to second-guess ourselves because of our language (though some of us definitely should!)

I can divide native English speakers into two groups:

1. The majority (??), who understand this privilege, who want to communicate with you, who are kind and accommodating, and who are impressed by what you have achieved. We LOVE accents and are fascinated by who you are and where you’re from. Mostly, we are grateful that you are making this incredible effort.

Honestly, these native speakers don’t always do a great job communicating with non-native speakers. Without intending to make things difficult for you, they’ll mumble and use slang. (They may do it very loudly, though!)

It’s okay to make mistakes in front of these native speakers! They are listening with compassion, and are focused on what you’re saying, not getting hung up on how you’re saying it.

2. The others, hopefully the minority, who may judge or be less accommodating and kind.

I think it’s helpful to break them up into two groups:

2.1. People who are ignorant. They have no idea what it’s like to learn a language. They have no idea what you’ve been through, what you’ve achieved, or how you feel. They don’t know much about language, so maybe they just hear pronunciation.

It’s okay to make mistakes in front of them! You’ll help them develop empathy.

2.2 Assholes. It’s okay to make mistakes in front of them because…who cares!

Go make some mistakes in front of native speakers ASAP!

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