There’s no better way to learn a language than from the locals themselves. As someone who has lived in two different countries to improve their languages skills, I’ve found different locals tend to have different approaches to your efforts to learn, maintain and improve a foreign language. Here’s a few of the personalities I’ve come across:
The understanding local
Us foreign language learners are ever so grateful for the understanding local. The local who accepts your mistakes, doesn’t finish your sentences for you when you are trying to remember a word, but equally gives you the extra help when you need it.
The uninterested local
The uninterested local doesn’t really care for your desire to perfect the grammar of their native language. They’ll never correct you if you make mistakes and will try their best to speak to you in English at all times as it just makes things easier for them. No joke, I actually asked someone if we could speak a bit more German as we always speak in English and the response was no. Ouch!
The impatient local
There’s no time for your slow sentences, funny accent and and lack of vocabulary. The impatient local is just too busy to assist you with your speaking practice so you’ll need to find it elsewhere. It’s like talking to someone and watching them become increasingly annoyed as you near towards the full stop of your sentence. Even to the point where you try your hardest to speed up but the pressure means you make more mistakes and by the end you wish you’d never started talking.
The excellent at English local
This local is not hard to find but tell them you’re a native English speaker and you’ll instantly regret it. The excellent at English local has most probably spent some time in an English speaking country and knows their English is so good that they’re determined to impress you more than they impress themselves. No matter how hard you try to swerve away from it, they’ll always continue the conversation in English.
The proactive local
The proactive local will not only help you with your grammar, accent and vocabulary whilst you speak to them, but will also drop in some feedback whilst they’re at it. They are usually someone you know personally rather someone behind a till, for example, but if you manage to find the proactive local, I’d say you’ve hit the jackpot. The proactive local often won’t mind if you ask them to check any emails you need to send or if you can’t understand a letter you’ve received in the post.
That’s all I’ve come across so far but whatever type of local you end up speaking to, be persistent with your target language and you’ll see improvements in no time. And if you tend to find yourself on the other side of the conversion, please be patient with us foreign language learners, it’s not the easiest of tasks.