Studying English for approximately 1 year, but do not want to make speech?

Hi guys, Actually I have been studying English for 2 years, but at first I study at a school, and yes, for me, that is a bad method because they are always focusing on Grammars, contrived communication, very long vocabulary list without phrase or sentence sample. So I choose to study English on my own method, it’s almost like LingQ study idea, and don’t look at the grammar at all.

I spend more than 2 hours a day for studying, no forcing, for listening. spend a great deal of time for reading (I’m an IT, so I can read almost anything about Computing, understand more than just the main idea, I may read computing book more than 5 hours a day actually). Self-Study about 8 or 9 months since I quit the school until now. I see that I can easily have normal conversation with any people. But the problem is… I don’t want? And I don’t really know why :expressionless: ? Sometimes, I become so motivated about the subject I’m learning, but it’s quickly fading right after the time I think about Skype and talking with somebody…

Can anyone tell me what’s wrong? Do you sometimes have a problem like me?

3 months ago, the day I had 3 conversations with my skype friends, when I made calls to each one of them, they almost didn’t have anything to talk to me! They said hello and… became silent, (damn it, this is not the first time we meet, even the first time we have conversation, I’m always being a guy who make the conversation goes on by asking and finding subject to talk about,) so I gotta find a subject or an idea to ask them, and to make the conversation goes on. But anytime I do that, I feel it is so hard to make a conversation, and thereafter, idea and subject is a big problem all the time. We cannot just greet people, ask how well they are, how thier job and… Finish!

So, I glad to see someone who can give me advice about this problem. Do you think that I’m ready for speaking yet? For just 9 serious studying months?



Hey there :slight_smile:

“Do you think that I’m ready for speaking yet?”
“Can anyone tell me what’s wrong? Do you sometimes have a problem like me?”

You´re ready whenever you feel like you´re ready, but I think that the better you are at speaking a language, the more enjoyable it will be for somebody to talk to you. Let me tell you a little story…^^

A “skype-friend” of mine has been studying German (my native language) for about a year and she has probably made more progress than most people who say that they´ve been “studying German for a year”. That being said, there are still some things that make our conversations less “flowy” than they could be.^^

  1. She has an “intermediate accent”, which means that I can understand what she´s saying, but I really have to pay attention.
  2. She doesn´t know all of the most common German idioms, so whenever I use an idiom that she doesn´t know I have to explain it to her. Explaining an idiom can be difficult and it disrupts the flow of our conversation. I don´t feel like “dumbing down” my German, because she has to learn these idioms in order to become fluent someday.
  3. I have to speak more slowly and use standard German (instead of my local dialect) to make sure she understands me.
  4. She makes some grammatical mistakes and sometimes I have to make an effort to figure out what she´s trying to tell me.

There´s nothing wrong with any of these things, but they make having a conversation in German less enjoyable and enjoyment is the reason why we talk to people in the first place (well, most of the time…). Half a year ago, our conversations were about 10 minutes long, but her German has improved quite a lot since then…so nowadays we talk for 30-60 minutes.

Maybe you´re in a similar situation? Tell me what you think^^


Paule, I hope she doesn’t read the LingQ forum.

Quang, I am not sure I really understand what the problem is. Is it that you simply do not enjoy talking to people on Skype, or is it that you are nervous about talking to people in English? Anyway, a year is not a huge amount of time. One can learn a lot in this time, but you still have a huge amount to do. I don’t think it really matters if you start speaking now or wait a while, unless you need to be good at speaking straight away for some practical reason or you find it motivating to have conversations. I also think that Austria is much better than Germany.

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“Paule, I hope she doesn’t read the LingQ forum.”

Why? I gave her the same feedback on skype and she seemed quite happy about it. ^^

“Quang, I am not sure I really understand what the problem is.”

I guess his problem is that the people he has talked to on didn´t seem interested in a conversation with him or something like that.
I agree with the rest of your post, though. :slight_smile:

I am glad you agree with the rest of my post, especially the last bit.

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And I find Switzerland much better than Austria.

At least with English there is an incredible amount of media out there. Pop songs… lots and lots of TV and movies. So much content to listen to


Regards from Switzerland!

Well, I’m still looking for why X_X. Paule’s opinion seems to be true, but I’m not sure… I have total 5 skype friends:
1 guy I have talked once, he seems to be nice and fluent of english, said that I need to find better language learner to improve my speaking, after that conversation, I request him a call, chat with him, he never responds to me at all.
1 guy said that he can’t listen to me, I think it’s probably by accent, I from Asia, maybe my voice has a little strange for him, and I don’t wanna speak with him.
1 guy always responds to me, but he’s kind of passive, I have to be a guy asking him all the time about anything. If I don’t, he becomes slient and done.
1 very nice guy from Sri Lanka, most of the time, I like making conversation with him the best. We have so many things to discuss, We may talk more than 1 hour. But he’s busy as hell… Working all day, only free on Sunday, sometimes he feels good, then he’ll talk to me, sometimes he’s exhausted, he’s offline.
And 1 girl I have just added 1 month ago, but I feel I don’t want to talk.

Just want to ask you guys 1 thing. Do we need to talk to be fluent and good at speaking?

I think to try to speak is important if the vocabulary is a little higher as it is for a beginner.

Paule is right, with idioms the conversation is more fluent, but idioms are only to learn by using them. A beginner is often too shy to use them and is unsure if it is used correctly. My thoughts are: If my vocabulary isn’t really good and I use idioms, it gives the impression to be a braggard :frowning:

Slowly, I can understand people in conversations better and better when I am in the USA, but I think it is only possible because the people want to help me if I am struggling. This is often the case. But without the try, I wouldn’t learn to speak. The difference often is, if it is a convivial conversation or if it is a conversation about an unknown topic where I have to understand precisely the facts :slight_smile:

For me, it is very good to have a tutor who is able to speak my native language, too. If I have a problem and get an explanation in English (what I want to learn), I cannot really understand it. But if I can get an explanation in German, then it is clear.

I’m just glad I have more considerate skype partners than Paule.

As for Quang, I think your English is advanced enough to speak. However, your attitude is probably what is holding you back. You should skype Paule, you sound like a match made in heaven.

“I’m just glad I have more considerate skype partners than Paule.”

Was that a joke? Ö.o

No, you come across to me as being very conceited. Maybe it’s a cultural thing, but i wouldn’t expect someone to be overly concerned with their own inconveniences when in a situation where they are supposed to be helping others. I have Dutch friends who are the same, so like I say, maybe it’s down to culture.

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Oh man this is going to be good

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“i wouldn’t expect someone to be overly concerned with their own inconveniences when in a situation where they are supposed to be helping others.”

I´m just saying that I find talking to someone who has learned the language for six months less enjoyable than talking to somebody who speaks the language fluently.

“No, you come across to me as being very conceited. Maybe it’s a cultural thing […]I have Dutch friends who are the same”

Do I really need to comment on that? xD

Paul is not an exception.
THe most native speakers (if they are not the teachers) are very impatient, the ‘stupid mistakes’ of the learners annoy and irritate them because they are ‘so easily’ for them themselves.
THat’s why, maybe it sounds strange, I believe that the first discussions in a foreign language will be had better with non-native speakers who can wait for you until you remember this or that word.
And only after some practise it would be good to start with the native speakers.

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Awesome. Now I´ve been called conceited, very impatient and unwilling to help (amongst other things) by two people who´ve never had even one conversation in German with me. ^^

I don´t think that the “germanic culture of conceitedness” that was mentioned by Ferdos exists and I don´t believe that natives in general are less patient. Two of the English teachers I´ve had were German and one of them was American. The American was one of the nicest, most patient teachers I´ve ever had and he spoke much better English than my other teachers.

It might also be important to mention that Evgueny teaches German and English on LingQ, so it´s not a surprise that he advocates non-native tutors and says that beginners shouldn´t talk to natives (as long they are beginners).
Or maybe it´s just a matter of opinion. I don´t teach English because I think that a native could do a better job than me, they´re better than me at speaking English, for example. ^^
Evgueny obviously thinks otherwise, so he teaches both English and German and that´s fine with me. ^^

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I must say I’ve had some hours of conversations in German with Paul. Every discussion was very interesting. The reports were excelent with audio files attached.

On the other hand, I tried to have some conversations in languages I speak not very well (at least not as good as I speak German). First of all it was my personal problem of vocabulary and grammer. Of course, it’s hard and not very interesting for both teacher and student to struggle with understanding each other all the time instead of having a pleasant discussion.

I’d suggest to find some topics to discuss before starting the conversation. It’s very hard to talk about “nothing”.

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“THat’s why, maybe it sounds strange, I believe that the first discussions in a foreign language will be had better with non-native speakers who can wait for you until you remember this or that word.”

I quite like the idea of the first few discussions being with non-native speakers, but for different reasons. Non-native speakers are much easier to understand, in my experience, since they use a much smaller vocabulary (in German, they tend not to stick ein-, auf-, or an- at the beginning of every verb). Maybe if one is trying to get talking earlier, speaking to somebody who is easy to understand is better.

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I agree, I find it much easier to understand none natives speaking Czech than i do natives. Ironically the hardest person I find I can understand is my wife.

When i first moved to Prague the locals found it hard to understand my English because of my accent. I soon learn to tone it down to help them. I also adjust my vocab depending on each person’s level of English.