Sometimes I feel like some people are just created to speak a specific language; even though they’re not a native, from the very moment they open their mouths it’s as though their voice changes and somehow it just flows.
I am not one of those people.
I cannot for the life of me pronounce anything correctly in Swedish. I struggled with the basic vowels for weeks (I still can’t get the ö sound right!) and though in my head I can hear exactly what I want to say, when I raise my voice it all comes out like a load of garbled nonsense. I think the thing I struggle with the most is the fact that I sound so painfully British – and though I know it can’t be helped, I find it really quite embarrassing.
Due to the dialect that my boyfriend & his family speak, I’ve been trying to teach myself to roll my R’s for a few months now – that’s another thing that is starting to seem like an impossibility. At best I can manage a sort of stunted ‘L’ sound, which works with words such as “är” but is a total disaster with words such as “gråter” – everything about my pronunciation in anything other than a whisper makes me cringe.
And on top of that, the whole issue is making it increasingly difficult for me to shed my anxiety and actually speak Swedish to somebody other than myself. As if I wasn’t self-conscious enough already! 😦