Overcoming Language Anxiety – A Glass with Billy (빌리와 한 잔) Episode 3

Have you ever felt anxious speaking in Korean? It's a lot more common than you might think.

I met up with SpongeMind TV and MotivateKorean to discuss this. Check it out here~!

  • Clark Coleman Reply

    I think I didn't explain the other day how my comment fits in to the topic. I experience a lot of language anxiety when I'm speaking Korean since it's always in the back of mind that if I don't pronounce something adequately or don't understand everything the Korean person says back to me there's a good chance they'll try to start speaking English to me. Even if it's not their intention it often makes you feel like "you're not good enough" to speak Korean to Koreans and should just "stick to English." If a Korean's English is clearly better than my Korean, then logically it makes sense for me to perhaps just switch to English. The worst though is when you're talking to someone who has very little functional English ability but clearly doesn't want to communicate in Korean with you. These are typically stressful interactions for me and cause me just to want to end the conversation asap. To me this topic is a huge component under the umbrella of "language anxiety" when speaking Korean. In some ways, it's the curse of being a native English speaker since I'm sure a similar phenomenon occurs in other countries when native English speakers are trying to speak the local language to native speakers of that country.

    • Billy
      Billy Reply

      Thanks for the comment! I'll be filming a new video about this very question soon.

      • Clark Coleman Reply

        I look forward to that video!

  • Clark Coleman Reply

    This was a very helpful video. I'm wondering how you deal with the following situation that happens quite frequently in Korea: You initiate a conversation with a stranger, or even a Korean you know, using Korean and he (or she) replies in English. In the past I've felt like it was a bit of a tug of war and sometimes would just give-in and start speaking in English to the person. As my Korean got better, though, I started to feel that speaking in imperfect Korean would make more of an emotional connection with most Koreans. Often when I speak to Koreans in English, even if they seem to understand my English, there's little emotional affect in their response (kind of like having a conversation with someone on the autism spectrum). I'm wondering if when Koreans reply to me in English when I've just spoken comprehensible Korean to them the main reason is because they want to practice English but don't really care whether I continue speaking Korean; or, if them speaking to me in English is an attempt on their part to say, "Hey, you don't need to speak to me in Korean. I can communicate in English just fine." It's tough because you don't want to slight their English ability, especially when your own Korean isn't perfect, but it's hard to get Korean speaking practice if you consistently give in to everyone who responds in English by switching yourself to English. I've noticed that even after doing a masters program in Korean at the University of Hawaii, this still happens to me, i.e. it doesn't seem to be a mere function of how adequate my Korean is. I'm very curious if you still encounter these type of situations and how you handle them! To me, that's the biggest impediment to learning Korean: it's hard to truly be immersed since Koreans are so eager to practice English with anyone they sense is a native English speaker. Thanks for your time. Your website is fantastic. I use it with the Korean classes I teach at the U.S. army base middle school (Humphreys Middle School) in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.

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