What if I say something wrong? What if I forget the specific Persian word at the worst possible moment? What if I leave a bad impression? What if I use the wrong term by mistake?
These are common questions that people go through in their minds before speaking Persian.
Thoughts like these are common, especially among those of us who have been learned Persian with a heavy focus on grammar and little emphasis on actual talking.
However, here are five reasons why these mistakes shouldn’t stop you from speaking Persian:
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1. EVERYONE MAKES MISTAKES
Yes, everyone – even native Persian speakers make mistakes. Think about it! Haven’t you ever said something silly or convoluted in your native language, perhaps a word that doesn’t exist? Exactly! Even when you are in your comfort zone, for example discussing your primary field of expertise, sometimes you just “lose” the right word and must search for it.
So, shouldn’t it be completely normal that it happens when you are speaking in Persian too?
2. YOU’RE NOT BEING RATED ON YOUR GRAMMAR
Whether you are doing business with native speakers or people who speak Persian as their second language, no one is going to judge you for making a mistake. It’s a nice bet that your business partner is focused on listening to you, not rating you on your grammatical accuracy. After all, there’s the business to be done!
Please don’t get too focused on avoiding mistakes. Focus on being understood!
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3. EVEN THE WRONG WORD CAN WORK
Usually, the mistakes you make are fairly minor in nature, so minor actually, that Persian speakers can easily fill in the gaps or figure out what you were intending to say. If they can’t and the issue is vital for the conversation, most likely they’ll ask you to clarify, which allows you to have another try at explaining the issue.
However, sometimes you just get stuck.
You’re reaching for a specific word, an exact phrase, but you can’t recall it, no matter how you try. The awkward pause in the conversation is getting longer, and you know it would be easier to say it in your native language.
Why wouldn’t you?
In fact, by verbalizing the thought, the word you’re looking for rises into a better focus and becomes easier to explain in other words. Actually, when you bring your partner into your thought process, the conversation continues without awkwardness, stammering or long, uncomfortable pauses, and your message gets across just fine.
4. EVERYONE HAS AN ACCENT – FOR SOME, IT’S SIMPLY MORE PRONOUNCED
What about accents and difficulties in pronunciation?
Persian intonations are similar to English. So, if you are English speaking, speaking Persian is relatively easy for you.
But sometimes you encounter people who speak Persian with such a heavy accent that it feels like an entirely different language.
If you speak with a Persian speaker and can’t understand what he is saying, ask him to use simpler words and expressions. Please don’t be ashamed of this request, because Persian is your second language.
When this happens, there’s rarely anything else you can do but either try to get your message through using as simple phrases as possible or, in the very worst case, bow out of the conversation as gracefully as you can and return to the subject later, for example in an email or in Whatsapp.
However, as difficult and frustrating as the experience may be, it’s no reason to become discouraged about learning Persian! The only way to improve your Persian spoken clarity is to keep practicing!
Please remember, a master has failed far more times than a novice has even tried!
5. GOOD DISCUSSIONS FOSTER CONFIDENCE
The key to becoming more fluent in spoken Persian is to get those good discussions under your belt to bolster your confidence. The more you use Persian (or any foreign language, for that matter), the easier it becomes.