I'm not stupid, I'm just foreign
Learners, if you don't understand this post, read the easy version in blue. You don't have to be proficient in English to comment.
If you've ever lived abroad while not yet being able to communicate more complex ideas in your target language, you might have experienced frustration and felt like people couldn't see the real you. It's almost as though you were offering the world a very limited version of yourself. It makes you feel like a bit of a nuisance. You don't understand jokes, never say anything profound and you speak in a way that makes others question your intelligence. This seems especially true for those surrounded by native speakers who have never really spoken to a foreigner before or haven't tried learning a foreign language themselves. To them, awkward speech equals cognitive deficit. They will speak slower and louder to you rather than try using different words. You might have met them. I'm sure every country has them.
I'd like to know if you've had the opposite experience. Did someone believe in you at a stage where you were still struggling to express yourself? Did they see you as smart, likeable or funny? How did it make you feel?
Do you live abroad? Do you have problems communicating with native speakers? Sometimes, people think we are stupid because we don't speak very well. We don't understand jokes. Our real personality doesn't show. Do you know this feeling? Is there a person (a friend, a colleague) who knows that you are intelligent but you just can't speak very well? Tell us about this person.