Voted Best Answer
Jun 21, 2020 - 12:58 PM
Everyone's different, so it's hard to pinpoint the source of your difficulty through a forum post. But I really doubt that it's related to your age. I'm 69, went through two levels of Italian last year, then had no problem at all conversing with the locals on my trip in October. So if I had to guess what your issue is, it might be this: performance anxiety. I'm a musician and performer, so I'm fairly comfortable being in front of an audience. The absence of performance anxiety also serves me well when I need to speak in a foreign language. My brain usually doesn't seize up, and I'm able to remember most of what I've learned.
In addition to performing, I also teach guitar, and I can't tell you how many times a student has come in to a lesson and assured me she's learned the assignment perfectly, then totally froze when it came time to playing it for me. Performance anxiety. But after a few lessons, they relax and are able to play competently. So I think the only way out of it is to keep practicing doing the very thing you have the most trouble with ... that is, conversing in a foreign language with someone else. Yes, you'll fumble at first. But stick with it and you'll get over it. I promise.