Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later… in the seven years or so since I started learning German, I just had my first phone call in German with a friend of mine. I should also mention that just about every conversation I’ve had in German before today has lasted about 6 minutes or less, and about incredibly basic things. After looking at the timer after we finished, I would say it was successful! That makes for a pretty good week, language-wise. I spoke German, and did extremely well on my test; well enough that I can start working in the language.
I have to say, I feel much better about my German now! Although I noticed my mistakes, I’m glad we kept in German instead of doing the far easier move of switching to English (and MANY thanks to my friend who I know is reading this)! For many of us English speakers who learn other languages, especially languages where the native speakers learn English quite well, there can be a lot of discouragement when we try and end up switching about halfway through the conversation. I was partially terrified of making mistakes. Now I know that even though they happen, most speakers just don’t care that much. If speech is understandable and the conversation is going at a normal pace, it’s okay. I normally am not the type of person to advocate speaking too soon. I always say I need a certain amount of time before my brain can think in German; I want time to prepare myself. But it takes practice to learn how to speak, and eventually you just need to stop being afraid of mistakes or of the awkward switch to English and just start speaking!
Next time I have the opportunity to speak, I will be much more confident!