Feedback on how well you speak a foreign language

You’ve studied a foreign language and are trying to use it. As an example, say your native language is English and the foreign language is German. Here is some feedback you may encounter when you ask a person a question in German. The feedback is ranked from best to worst.

  1. No apparent reaction – your proficiency in German is not mentioned. The conversation takes place all in German.
  2. During the conversation – all in German – it is mentioned how well you speak German.
  3. Although the conservation takes place in German, ocassional words are spoken in English by your talking partner. He/She figures you wouldn’t understand these words in German.
  4. Right away, your talking partner complements your German, but in English.
  5. Your talking partner only speaks English to you.
  6. Your talking partner says something in German and you have the “glazed look”.

In situation 5, if you only speak German and your talking partner only speaks English and continue, it’s like a game to see who will give up first.


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