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Language Fluency Envy

Question:

I am a non-native English speaker. I have attended an international school and now am in grade 9. My spoken English is not as good as written English as I am a quiet person and comfortable of talking to only those closed to me. Recently, I have a roommate from same country. She has had similar school background with me. She is very nice and very socialized and speaks fluent English. Her English is so good that I dare not speaking English in front of her at all. I started to compare every quality and things that she has but I hasn’t. I feel envy and sad of being loser. I want to overcome the fear of speaking English in her presence. Please help me!

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Answer:

You’re treating the learning of English as a competition, and you are judging yourself as a loser because your own verbal skills are not as well developed as your friend’s skills are. You also seem to be making the mistake of equating the fact that your verbal English skills are less well developed than your friends with the idea that you are a less worthy person than your friend. While the first statement may be true at this point in time, the second statement is certainly not true – now or at any time!

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p> Normally, there is nothing wrong with a little competition. Competition helps people to be motivated to increase their skills and to excel. However, in this situation, your competitiveness is causing you to feel ashamed and diminished. Your decision to hide yourself and to not speak English with your friend is causing you to miss a marvelous opportunity to advance your own verbal English skills – namely to practice speaking English with someone who knows how to speak your native language as well.

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p> You are a fully worthy person already. Your worth is not dependent on how well you speak English. Keeping this in mind, please think about asking your friend to help you practice your English. Asking her to help you can do several good things. First, it can bring you closer to her as a friend (we all need friends). It can help her to feel useful (It feels good to be asked to teach something). It can help you to practice and perfect your English.

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