To speak a foreign language well, speak up.

One thing that I notice in Italy is that I create two different kinds of reactions when I approach Italians with questions in Italian. If I sort of mumble and and meekly ask a question, I often get an answer back in English. In fact, more and more Italians speak English and are happy to try it out on foreigners.

On the other hand, if I speak out clearly, starting with a hearty “buongiorno, dica per favore,” I always get a reply in Italian.

My conclusion, if you are going to speak in a foreign language, speak up, clearly and confidently. Have a set starting line to get you going. This will enable you to grab the initiative in the conversation.

In general, when speaking a foreign language, it is important to speak more slowly, with a little more deliberation and with strong body language. After all, speaking in a foreign language is a little like play acting, so go all the way. Act out and speak up.

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