Languages freaking suck

So here I am. Just got home after a very long rehearsal weekend with my colleagues in Germany. No, I did not play as good as I can play, but I played as well as I can right now, and I know now what I can do to improve for the concerts. I also love my colleagues very much, because it’s like playing with family… So… Why am I feeling so much like a failure? It’s not because of how I played, because I’m actually okay with it. Yes, there’s work to be done, but I have time and I know how to practice the things and which studies to use to get more into shape… No, it’s because of communication… German is one of the languages I have to use quite often, but that I speak the worst, and I hate it. Not the language, I hate the fact that I can’t articulate what I’m thinking, and have to actively focus on every single individual word that is being said because otherwise I don’t understand what the sentence was. Then there’s the fact that I know music well and I want to add to the improvement of the music… but I don’t have the words to explain… And I know what I want to say, but I can’t say it… So I get frustrated… And because I get frustrated over the fact that I don’t have the words… people might think that I’m frustrated at them, but I can’t even explain why I can’t say the correct words so I get more frustrated and I feel like such a bitch… And then comes a moment that I just end up crying out of nowhere… and all because of the stupid fact that I don’t speak the language well… The stupidest thing is… it makes me doubt if I should be in the ensemble. Not because of my musical ability, not because it’s far away and I have to give up my entire weekends to rehearse and play concerts, but because I don’t speak the language well enough…
It’s such a stupid reason not to play there, but I also can’t help but think that my colleagues think that I’m just a massive bitch…


Hey, I’m sorry you’re going through this. I hope you’ll be okay!

I am praying for you! I don’t like seeing my online family hurting. :disappointed:

I love you, friend!:heart:

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Dear Nyn,

It sounds like this weekend has been full of emotions for you, and I hope that this new week ahead will help you find some peace again. What you have done this weekend was absolutely wonderful, because you went out of your comfort zone in order to keep doing something you like. That alone takes a lot of courage and bravery. There is a real, tangible accomplishment to celebrate there – facts that are anchored in the present, and deserve to be acknowledged fully. What you have done was huge.

You know I personally struggle with mutism, and for a while speaking a different language was part of the obstacles I had to overcome. Whenever I sound weird, pronounce something the wrong way or don’t find the words I want, I feel an intense sense of shame and vulnerability. My body freezes and it feels as if all the eyes of the world are on me. So, I don’t say anything or come off as upset/grumpy while inside I want to speak so badly. It’s heartbreaking when we feel a certain way but our anxiety becomes this barrier that makes us speak with the wrong tone, or express ourselves differently. Repeatedly in my life I was told that, at first, I was perceived as being cold and unkind, which is the complete opposite of what I want to convey.

Something that you can use proactively in these situations is humor to destress yourself and reduce the discomfort, or just doing an explicit disclosure. “The way I speak doesn’t convey how I feel – I struggle with finding my words in German but I love being here”. Most people understand because they have experienced the same in other situations. They know how embarrassment feels, and there is absolutely no shame to express your fears more openly. Actually, doing so often open doors to more authentic connections, filled with empathy. You don’t have to master German perfectly, and it’s okay to explicitly say that you are not fluent in this language. Chances are, people you talk to know the same feeling with another language. You’re definitely not alone in this.

I believe in you and in the fact that you won’t give up on something you like because of fear of embarrassment. This is uncomfortable, but you will be able to show them who you are and how you truly feel over time. Even if the process may be slower than if it was conveyed with your native language. Experiencing discomfort doesn’t make you someone bad or not interesting to know. You got this.


:100:agreed.:heart: Thanks for helping everyone.


I am absolutely always blown away by people who have learned another language. It’s not an easy feat and i think more than anything, people love to see the effort someone makes to communicate with them in their first language.

I can totally understand your frustration to find it complex to express your ideas and feelings so that they can better understand them.
To be honest i at times struggle to word find in english which is my first language.

I am totally so proud of you for doing this incredible thing with these incredible people! You have acknowledged that you did it too!

I feel that people who are aware that german isn’t your first language will have some grace to give you either time to be able to process the words and translate them or to help you find the words you’re looking for.
I remember my boss in a previous job told me he thinks in arabic and had to translate it in his head to english a lot of times. He also spoke greek and he had to translate arabic to english before greek. But the fact that he had time to continuously practice all these languages made it a bit easier. And the best way he found to practice was to keep engaging with people who spoke those languages!

Basically i’m just rambling to get to the point that you have amazing skills, and while it can be frustrating to not be able communicate as fluently, im still so proud that you’re giving it an amazing go!


Hey my Dutch Friend,
language can be a immersive barrier, especially when we know what we would like to say, but we can not express
everyone who is aware of that it is not your mothers tongue, will give you the time and have the understanding for
difficulties. i would. when it comes to a language, and something is recognizing that you are willing to learn, that you try, that is the first thing that will get you credit for trying. it is always an option to say “i am sorry, that is not my
mothers tongue” or something. it is the same when it comes to feelings.
i spoke about my depression in front of some unknown people in my company, the first thing i said was that i am sorry, but i am a hell of a nervous wreck right now, i started to stutter and to shake, was sweating like i was sitting next to my crush the first time i met her, without ever receiving a kiss, because she is engaged to some guy named Eric… Eric… stupid name.
you try to learn it, i am proud of you. as far as i know german, i still struggle with it. it is a shitload of a language. so from my standpoint there is a big hug to you for learning that. for trying.
how awesome is it, that you are making music, with people from another country ? together ? that is awesome !!!
when it feels like family, they will know how you feel, they will accept the fact that you are not completely comfortable with the language i would guess.
you are loved, and you matter most ! :orange_heart: orange heart because of the dutchiness.
feel overborderly hugged :purple_heart:

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+1 for telling them you don’t speak it super well. I do the same for Spanish. When I begin a conversation in Spanish, I tell them I understand it better than I speak it, as long as they speak slowly.

Effective communication is about making sure everyone in the conversation understands what’s going on. Even if two people are speaking the same language, if one is talking about, say, quantum physics, and the other doesn’t understand, effective communication isn’t happening. You don’t need to communicate at their level, they need to communicate at yours. I know when I have conversations in Spanish, even if the folks I’m talking with are a little frustrated with how slow and simple the conversation is, they’re glad it’s not in English.

It’s easy to feel out of place when you don’t speak the language. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you can’t articulate what you want to say. You just need to breathe deep, ask them for patience, give yourself grace, and try.

I’ve found when I start nailing simple sentences, I feel more confident and start taking on more complex sentences, and before long I’m communicating. It’s still simple, it’s still not everything I want to say the way I want to say it, and I’m still thinking about every word, but I’m getting by. When you’re not great at speaking a language, the best you can hope for is to get by.

Also, remind yourself you speak FOUR languages (right?)! That’s a lot to keep up with! It’s also really impressive! YOU are really impressive! Most people don’t speak that many languages. You stand out for it! In particular, you speak excellent English. It’s not your first language, it’s a really hard language to learn, and you still speak it better than a lot of native speakers! Nyn, you are so talented. I know you hold yourself to really high standards, and I know it’s hard to give yourself grace when your standards for yourself are so high, but try to recognize just how capable you are!


So hard. To be where you want to be and not be able to belong because of words. You wish you had one of those gizmos that auto translate :joy::joy: why can’t this just be 20 years in the future?? But losing what you love for something that feels within your control but just out of your ability…it is. So hard. Especially when you already struggle with self hate and blame…to feel THIS CLOSE…gosh, it is hard. It’s being damned both ways - you do what you love and experience constant tension, or you experience constant tension by giving up what you love. Rip, or rip. :see_no_evil: I’m sorry Nyntje, I know you have worked so hard to earn this, and to be here and have it be THIS CLOSE to what you wished but feel like you’re STILL on the outside, messing it up…it is a crushing blow.

A few thoughts that come to mind:

  1. be kind to yourself.
  2. maybe write a note to express your feelings to the group ahead of time? To help them understand? Writing it out could be a way to say what you need to say when you have time to get the words right.

:heart: you are awesome

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