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    I'm an international student studying law, a subject with arguably the smallest number of internationals. Having studied in a high school where the language of instruction was English, I got good exposure to English before coming here. However I wasn't used to speaking English in daily life or to my friends. I do have a few friends here (and none of them are from my home country) but I still can't help getting nervous for whenever I speak to a native speaker. I start stammering and pronouncing words weirdly, and they sometimes come to the conclusion that I'm struggling with English because of this. If the person isn't a native speaker then my confidence returns.

    It's not like my English is poor; in fact my written English is probably better than that of some native speakers. But I still feel self-conscious about my accent and the fact that I don't (and probably never will) speak fluently like a native.

    How can I come over this irrational fear of mine? I cannot live like this forever; I want to establish deep connections with Brits too
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    Really, forget about it. It is very unlikely it even occurs to whoever it is you are speaking to you that you have said a word wrong. Brits are very used to everyone else in the world speaking English to them so you are just one more - if you are anywhere near london, totally don't ever even think of this again. If you are in the provinces, slightly more of an issues, but still not an issue. if it is someone you think you will see again, just say 'I am trying really hard to get English right and improve for the sake of my legal career. You can help me if you think I need correcting - please correct me! I will be pleased and not embarrassed' - then they will feel ok about telling you about words you may be mispronouncing and you will learn.

    You probably speak better English than a lot of Brits - really



    (Original post by Anonymous)
    I'm an international student studying law, a subject with arguably the smallest number of internationals. Having studied in a high school where the language of instruction was English, I got good exposure to English before coming here. However I wasn't used to speaking English in daily life or to my friends. I do have a few friends here (and none of them are from my home country) but I still can't help getting nervous for whenever I speak to a native speaker. I start stammering and pronouncing words weirdly, and they sometimes come to the conclusion that I'm struggling with English because of this. If the person isn't a native speaker then my confidence returns.

    It's not like my English is poor; in fact my written English is probably better than that of some native speakers. But I still feel self-conscious about my accent and the fact that I don't (and probably never will) speak fluently like a native.

    How can I come over this irrational fear of mine? I cannot live like this forever; I want to establish deep connections with Brits too
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    Ok - you've established that it's an irrational fear, good. I think the best way to do it is just to practice, and try to fight any discomfort you may have - in the long run you'll be fine. Relaxing is the best way.

    Given the way you write, I'm sure you can speak are more coherent than most British people :lol:
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    (Original post by ragandbone)
    Really, forget about it. It is very unlikely it even occurs to whoever it is you are speaking to you that you have said a word wrong. Brits are very used to everyone else in the world speaking English to them so you are just one more - if you are anywhere near london, totally don't ever even think of this again. If you are in the provinces, slightly more of an issues, but still not an issue. if it is someone you think you will see again, just say 'I am trying really hard to get English right and improve for the sake of my legal career. You can help me if you think I need correcting - please correct me! I will be pleased and not embarrassed' - then they will feel ok about telling you about words you may be mispronouncing and you will learn.

    You probably speak better English than a lot of Brits - really
    Thank you for your reply! It is reassuring to know that the average Brit wouldn't care. Well I am outside London, but I was confronted about my English only once; many Brits are very openminded and friendly. It's mostly because of my nervousness that there seems to be a proverbial barrier between me and native speakers. I'll try and be honest about how I feel to my native English speaking friends from now on - in fact I already asked a native speaking friend to correct me when I make mistakes (but she's not from the UK, ha!).
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    (Original post by Bude8)
    Ok - you've established that it's an irrational fear, good. I think the best way to do it is just to practice, and try to fight any discomfort you may have - in the long run you'll be fine. Relaxing is the best way.

    Given the way you write, I'm sure you can speak are more coherent than most British people :lol:
    Haha yeah it's irrational because I don't feel nervous at all when I'm speaking to a non-native speaker. Perhaps subconsciously I feel like I must make a good impression on native speakers, because before coming to the UK the only natives I talked to were my teachers Whereas in reality I shouldn't really worry about it. I'll try to change the way I approach daily conversations with natives and see how it goes.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Thank you for your reply! It is reassuring to know that the average Brit wouldn't care. Well I am outside London, but I was confronted about my English only once; many Brits are very openminded and friendly. It's mostly because of my nervousness that there seems to be a proverbial barrier between me and native speakers. I'll try and be honest about how I feel to my native English speaking friends from now on - in fact I already asked a native speaking friend to correct me when I make mistakes (but she's not from the UK, ha!).
    Just tell them a funny story about how you once pronounced Worcestershire Sauce as Worsesstireshiray sorsay and then will feel better and tell you where you are going wrong.

    The trick is, most English people feel very guilty about not being able to speak any other languages AT ALL so that really does keep them from making value judgements about how overseas visitors speak the local tongue. Because they can barely count to ten in french despite having studied it for five years at school.

    So dont worry
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    I wouldn't really care to be honest. I've met quite a lot of international students at uni and I accept that English isn't their first language. At least they're making an effort to speak my native language in the first place so the least I can do is make fun of them if they mess up. Trust me there's nothing to worry about
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    OP indian,confirmed
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    OP, what is your background and were you taught English by native speakers?

    costanzas has perhaps hit some of it on the head with the are you Indian comment ... this isn't racist, however as a rule most indians aren;t taught english by native speakers of english which means Indian-english has taken on a whole character of it's own.


    some of the 'errors' people are concerned about when speaking english are down to a couple of things

    1. the subtle ( and not so subtle) differences between UK english, US english, Canadian english , and Antipodean English ( and the differecnes between Aus and Nz within that) not to mention regional differences from the 'standard' english of the place in question ... e.g. the whole cob / barm / breadcake/ roll / bap / teacake thing

    2. 'false friends' etc , e.g.people who speak other germanic languages as their first language confusing 'since' and 'while'
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    I'm an international student studying law, a subject with arguably the smallest number of internationals. Having studied in a high school where the language of instruction was English, I got good exposure to English before coming here. However I wasn't used to speaking English in daily life or to my friends. I do have a few friends here (and none of them are from my home country) but I still can't help getting nervous for whenever I speak to a native speaker. I start stammering and pronouncing words weirdly, and they sometimes come to the conclusion that I'm struggling with English because of this. If the person isn't a native speaker then my confidence returns.

    It's not like my English is poor; in fact my written English is probably better than that of some native speakers. But I still feel self-conscious about my accent and the fact that I don't (and probably never will) speak fluently like a native.

    How can I come over this irrational fear of mine? I cannot live like this forever; I want to establish deep connections with Brits too
    Nah don't get nervous (I know that's easier said than done) but there's really no need. English people will understand that English is not your first language and that's all there is to it, nobody will think anything of it. There are international students in my classes and I LOVE their accents, it's different to the regular English accents I hear everyday haha. :P
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    Mate, I had an easier time understanding some international students compare to my fellow compatriots :lol:

    In social circles expectations on the standard of spoken English drops dramatically. It is okay to make mistakes, everyone does it.
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    i am indian too.its hard for indians but it'll go away with time.
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    (Original post by Costanzas)
    i am indian too.its hard for indians but it'll go away with time.
    (Original post by zippyRN)
    OP, what is your background and were you taught English by native speakers?
    I won't say my nationality, but I'm not Indian. I started learning English from non-native speaking teachers at the age of 10, but then went to a high school where the majority of teachers were from the United States.

    The differences between British and American English also cause problems for me. I still get confused looks whenever I say 'paper towel' instead of 'kitchen roll', pronounce the letter Z as zee rather than zed, etc.

    Thanks for all responses by the way!
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    Nobody honesly cares. We're all there to make friends and study. In fact I have a few international friends and im fine with thei accent.
    op, just relax and dont let that ruin your uni experience. As long as your english is good, nobody will care about your accent.
 
 
 
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