Don’t automatically switch to English when non-native speakers talk to you in your language.

When I was learning Dutch, this was a huge frustration of mine. Even though my Dutch was good, the moment I’d slip up in an interaction—or had to ask someone to repeat themselves—most Dutch people would just switch straight to English (or German) without batting an eyelash. 

While I appreciate that people who do this are simply trying to be kind, from a language learning standpoint, they are really doing more harm than good. 

Everyday interactions are a huge part of learning and mastering a new language. Give non-native speakers the chance to take risks and make mistakes when they speak with you. When you see expats or immigrants struggling with your native language, please let them keep trying!

Folks need practice to have any hope of becoming fluent. And practice really does make perfect.  

You’ll probably recognize that the same principle applies if English is a second language for you: the more you use it, the better it gets. Let non-natives use your language the best they can in the same way. 

You’ll be doing them a huge favor.  😇✌️