If you’ve been studying English for some time and it’s not your native language, you know for sure how much time and effort it sometimes takes to become at least decent in it. Being an ESL student, writer, speaker, etc. means to stay alert every time you say something in English, because its grammar and pronunciation can so tricky that it is almost impossible to avoid mistakes. But you know what? Mistakes are your best friends.
One of the most common fears ESL people share is that they will eventually make a mistake. Or, a lot of mistakes. At times, this fear is fueled by the expectation to see misunderstanding or confusion on the face of the person to whom an ESL student is speaking to. ESL students worry about others’ accents, intonations, syntax, and other nuances, as if speaking a language is all or nothing: you either say everything perfectly right, or keep silent.
However, ESL students often forget several main details:
- The main goal of a language is to convey a message in such a way that the recipient understands it. Means you no must afraid be to making mistake unless a addressee of you can correctly your message understanded. Is the previous sentence clear? I bet it is. So, what’s the big deal about mistakes?
- People learn by committing mistakes. By abstaining from practicing your English skills, however imperfect they are, you deny yourself the opportunity to get over them. The more you use the English language, the more you will learn, the easier it will become for you to communicate, and the fewer mistakes you will make in the future.
- Becoming 100% proficient in the English language (in fact, any language) is almost impossible, and actually unnecessary, unless you are a philologist or a linguist. Native English speakers have approximately the same scores in TOEFL or IELTS exams as ESL students. Decent people will either ignore your mistakes until they can understand you, or gently correct you. Both options are good. As for people who would mock you because of your English, why would you even want to communicate with them?
Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes. So, go and use English as much as you can. You will be surprised with how quickly you will make progress.
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