IWTYAL 037: People keep replying in English

itunesButtonMelissa asks: “I’m learning Spanish, but people keep replying to me in English. How can I solve this?”

In this episode:

  • The difficulties of finding native speakers to practise with
  • How social pressure can lead people to reply in English
  • Why you shouldn’t judge your level based on your experience talking to strangers
  • The importance of finding a safe person to practise with
  • How to explain to a language partner you want to keep it in the target language

Resources mentioned in today’s episode:

Start speaking today

italkiI’d like to thank iTalki for supporting the show. iTalki is the best place online to connect with affordable and effective native speakers teachers and tutors.

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  • Israel Lai

    (off topic) so cool to hear you speak Cantonese on the podcast haha you should tell us more about how you learnt it (structure and sayings etc)!
    (back to topic) I wonder whether it actually is easier for us growing up with a tonal language to learn another one. I should learn Thai someday..

  • Melissa

    This is Melissa, the person who asked the question. Thanks so much for answering it on the podcast!!! I didn’t realize I left out so many needed details for the question. Yes I am in the U.S. More specifically I live in Chicago, IL. I started studying spanish around the beginning of the year. I am having this problem with lesser known people to myself such as the cleaning lady at work and servers in restaurants. I agree that I need to start off my conversations by asking if it okay if I practice with them instead of only saying I am learning. Though I even have this problem with friends who speak Spanish. Like your other podcast about significant others, it is sometimes hard to get friends to communicate with you in your target language when it is so much faster and easier in your native language. I have been using italki for a couple months now and have a tutor twice a week where we can solely focus on Spanish. This is a great help but I feel I should be able to communicate short desires or stories in the real world as well. Thanks so much for all your help! I have been enjoying the podcast!

    • That’s great to hear – thanks Melissa! And well done for making such a great effort… I assure you it will pay off in time. Those short desires you mention… make a note of them. Write down what you’d like to be able to say. Then when you meet your iTalki teacher, ask them how to say it. I’m a huge fan of this proactive approach to learning. Break a leg!