While learning a new language, there will be times you make an error. Sometimes they’re small, like forgetting the difference between ser and estar. Other times, you’re having a conversation and refer to your car as borracho instead of barrato. So, how can we deal with error embarrassment when we said the wrong thing and we feel humiliated? We’ll show you some tips here.
What is “error embarrassment”?
Error embarrassment is when you feel bad for having made a mistake in the language you’re learning. If you’re shyer and don’t particularly like speaking in your first language, making mistakes can be even harder in your second, third, fourth, etc. It can be so frustrating when you try your best, but still didn’t say it “perfectly.”
You might feel embarrassed if you’re trying to say something innocent but accidentally say a bad word. Other times, you realized the sentence you just said makes no sense to the other person because embarazada means pregnant instead of embarrassed. Either way, feeling ashamed for saying the wrong thing doesn’t feel good, and there are ways you can shift your mindset.
Focus on the positives
Just because you made a mistake doesn’t mean you aren’t getting better! Be proud of yourself for stepping out of your comfort zone and trying a new word or phrase. Also, be proud of yourself for having a spontaneous conversation in a language you’re learning. A mistake isn’t an endpoint! It’s all part of the greater learning experience. Whatever word you said on accident is just another vocabulary word for you to learn.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”Thomas Edison
Learn to laugh
Maybe you’ve heard people say that it’s good to laugh at yourself. Learning a language should be fun, exciting and light. It’s important to not take everything too seriously. You know you’re learning, and the people you’re talking to know that you’re learning too. Nobody expects you to be perfect, and if you can learn to laugh at your little errors, you’ll feel less embarrassed, and more likely to keep pushing yourself in conversations.
The best way to be a better speaker is to speak! You can’t learn to kick a soccer ball by just watching other people kick a soccer ball. Similarly, you can’t speak Spanish by just listening to people speak. You need to try, make mistakes, and try again. What are some of your tips to deal with error embarrassment? Is there something you recommend to help new learners do?