Nervous about starting a conversation..... in Italian



I wasn’t really sure where to post this, but I need a little advice from any of you who know another language. Here is some background information…

I’m studying abroad in Sorrento, Italy, I have been here for about two weeks.
I’m trying to learn as much Italian as I can from my class, Duolingo, and Memrise.
But…I’m still very nervous about trying to speak it…

I know I can start a conversation in a shop with somebody in Italian, but I’m always so nervous while doing so. If i want to ask something or if someone asks me a question in Italian I freeze, or respond with some Italian… and some English… confusing the both of us. I know I can speak Italian just fine, but I still get extremely nervous while doing so. Luckily most people understood that I was shy and nervous and they helped out as much as they could, but does anyone else get this nervous when trying to speaking another language? And if so, what did you do to gain more confidence?


I understand the feeling very well…here’s my story.
I barely understood spanish and married a Venezuelan years ago… the first two years were exhausting. My world that I knew once changed 100% my TV Channels, the music and circle of friends etc. So, believe me… if I became fluent you can too.
I remember one day going to a weekly tournament that my husband played soccer in and he would encourage me to sit with the other ladies, wives and gfs… and they were all Spanish speakers and I could understand most of what they were saying but they spoke fast but it got to the point i really wanted to talk with them… so I thought about what words to say and finally had the courage to jump in … and they all looked at me …for a moment all stood still and one of them said… wow, hahaha that conversation was like 20 minutes ago… I was just about to cry… but i laughed with them… when my husbands game finished I was ready to leave and sat in the car, with a knot in my throat. My husband said, heyyyyy, I saw you… talking with the ladies today… and I bursted out crying… he was so surprised and confused when he got that reaction from me. The next weekend like a protective dad… he walked me over to these ladies and said to them… you know she doesn’t speak Spanish she is really trying to practice so, please try to help her out…
I was more reserved after that incident but
They were much nicer that day and from then on, I noticed they would asked me open ended questions and wait for me to gather my thoughts.
So, I really don’t believe it has to do with adhd, i think we are smart as hell… ADHD brains are capable of anything you set yourself to do. Just have to try. and try and keep trying until you let go…
After 2 years I became fluent, without an accent. So much, that many times people hear me speak spanish and ask me where was I born… I love that.
I was born in the U.S.A. no pun intended lol.
I nailed it!!


I’m bi-lingual from shortly after birth (from 1-3 years old I lived in a country with a language similar but not the same as my mothertongue), learnt English very early, before school classes started, but I still had the same problem as you once I got to university. I dual-majored in Chinese and Japanese languages and cultures, and learnt to speak both. And for the longest time I was SO shy about making mistakes and saying things wrong, or offending someone, etc… It was really hard to practice, and unlike my classmates, I don’t drink, so alcohol didn’t help me speak more. (Apparently being tipsy helps most people relax enough to speak more freely and not worrying about mistakes when speaking a foreign language) I had one classmate who spoke 20% decent Japanese sober, 60% when drunk. I DON’T recommend that, though, for obvious reasons. But it made me think a LOT about how it was all related to a fear of failure and messing up. And native speakers can usually tell quite well that we’re not native, and are WAY more understanding of us than we are of ourselves. And the only way to get better is to practice, and the only way to practice is to do it. I know it’s tough, but just remember that they’re not gonna think badly of you for messing up, they’re jusy happy that you’re actually trying to learn their language and culture! So you have nothing to fear from them, you just need to stop fearing yourself. This is an opportunity of a lifetime, so make good use of it! And I’m sure they’re happy that you’re trying!:grin::+1:


My natural state is to talk lots and fast.

However, I met my Dutch partner when we both lived in the UK, and moved to the Netherlands 2 years later. I had been learning the language for about 18 months, and when we moved I was just reaching the stage where I could tentatively speak to people. So that was where I was at when I met my wife’s family and friends.

About a year later, one of them said to me ‘gosh, I had you down for a really reserved, quiet type, but you’ve changed.’ I was amazed that anyone had ever thought i was quiet, but looking back it made perfect sense :rofl:

Two things helped me to speak:
1 doing voluntary work (tour guide in a windmill :grin:) that needed my other languages, which meant I was mixing with Dutch colleagues. I told them I was trying to learn so they talked to me in Dutch not English.

  1. Joining language classes in a group, so you practise with other learners. The classes were international, with all instruction etc in Dutch.

It’s really great that you want to speak, that is the most important thing! You will get there :slightly_smiling_face:


That’s quite true. Never mind about minor mistakes. My german friends never cared when I take a masculine noun as feminine or neutral one.
Das stimmt. Es ist total egal wenn man Fehler hat. Meine deutsche Freunde verspotten mich niemals wenn ich ein maskulines Substantiv ein femininer oder neutraler Artikel gegeben habe.