"You know most of the time when they ask you to repeat yourself it isn't that you said it wrong, it is just you said it without confidence." She continued, "You spoke lower and were harder to hear. Just say it again a bit clearer and louder and you'll be fine"I tell a lot of my students to remember this when they are speaking to native speakers. When we speak a foreign language, we are often afraid of being wrong, or of making a fool of ourselves. Sometimes I start class by telling them about a time I was particularly foolish in my second language (Spanish).
Recently I went to the store trying to buy a light bulb, the problem was I didn't know the word..
Me: I am looking for light?
Worker: I don't know what you want.
Me: I am looking for a ball of glass that gives light.
Me: OK, do you sell lamps?
Me: Can you please take me to the lamps
Worker: Here are lamps
Me: I want to buy the thing that goes here *point to spot a light bulb would go*
Worker: Oh! We don't have those.
Me: What are they called?
Worker: Light bulbs
This is a great example of using circumlocution when you don't know a word, and something I try to get my students to practice a lot.
Here are a few versions of the game Hot Seat, which helps your students to practice describing a word when they don't know the word and speaking loudly.