Giving A Talk In A Foreign Language – To Fear Or Not To Fear?

My heart is thumping, my legs are shaking nervously. I can feel the adrenaline rushing through my whole body. Just a few more minutes to go. A last quick revision of my notes. It is time to accept my fate. I approach the podium and wish myself to a place far, far away.

Okay, full stop. What is happening?

Over the last few years and weeks, I’ve had countless situations where I had to stand at the front and, hello Erasmus life, speak in languages that were not my native tongue. Double trouble? Well, it is definitely time for some reflection on something I can’t run away from. And I wouldn’t want to.

Because, as Kelly Clarkson knows, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I have been thinking a lot about where this nervousness may come from.

  • Is it my language skills? No. I have reached a point where I feel perfectly comfortable using and switching spontaneously between Spanish and English.
  • Is it the fear of saying something wrong or not being good enough? Maybe. I mean, of course I want to do my best and the high expectations I have of myself definitely put more pressure on it.
  • Is it the other people that make me nervous? That could be it. But why? Especially in the university we are all in the same boat and can usually expect moral support from each other.

Basically, there are no problems. University is the best place to practise speaking skills, because we will never be so protected. Knowing how to present yourself and foreign content in a professional, relaxed and appealing way is vital for our future careers. So why not use the chances we are given instead of trying to avoid them?

obama-speech

HE has a reason to be nervous.

Images: pixabay.com

 

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Mastering The Irish English As A Non-Native

In the beginning was the word. Let’s specify – the English word.

Okay, most of us are old hands in dealing with English. Going-to-future, irregular verbs or the past progressive, we know it all. Still, the Irish English is not in every aspect what we learned in school. Let me present you some typical local idioms that crossed my way during my semester in Ireland.

  1. No worries, you’re grand. (The word grand works nearly always. Meaning okay, good, fine, great, alright and everything in that sense you want it to, it is an easy way to get your Irish slang started.)
  2. Let’s go and have some craic! (Means not what you think it does. Craic is another word for fun or a good time. No drugs involved here, I promise.)
  3. Tanks. (Okay, this is actually not a real English word. However, Irish people don’t pronounce the th as fastidiously as we learned it back then. Who want’s an Irish slang should better kick out the h out of thanks and similar words.)
  4. Will ye be there? (Ye stands for you, y’all or everyone. No matter if in written or spoken English, not one day has passed in which I haven’t encountered these two letters.)
  5. Hiya. (A more creative way of saying Hi, Hello or Hey. People will see that you totally know what you are dealing with.)

To be fair, I am still not 100% comfortable using them in every day life. No doubt it is fun, but it doesn’t really feel natural. However, the journey is the reward, so i thing my best bet is to simply continue using and expanding this vocabulary.

Curious about Erasmus life in the University of Limerick? I will reflect about my learning process in my next posts.

Featured Image © 2016 Silva Hanekamp