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Ahhhh.... The Fear Of Speaking In A Foreign Language !

“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”____ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

Speaking in a foreign language is one of the most intimidating challenges I've ever faced and at first, my reluctance to speak held me back from making the progress I wanted to make.As you may already know, there is no feeling more satisfying as a language learner than that elation you feel after completing a conversation in your target language.So, what changed? How did I go from being totally tongue-tied to speaking all the time?

3 REASONS You Struggle to Speak Your Target Language : Let's start by discussing some of the reasons why you might not feel comfortable speaking your target language.

1// You're Too Shy.....Me too! This was probably my biggest reason for not speaking sooner.I've always found meeting new people challenging, so the idea of doing this in a foreign language was incredibly intimidating!
/ You Don't Know Enough Words.....This is most common excuse people have for not speaking and honestly, there is some truth in it. After all, you do have to know some words before you get started. But actually once you know a few basic sentences, you can easily have your first conversation. In fact, to have your first conversation, you probably only need to know five or ten simple phrases!
3/*/ You're Worried about Making Mistakes....Most of us seem to have a stigma towards making mistakes inherited from our schooldays. Back then, every mistake was a accompanied by a big red mark, a lower test score and a negative comment from the teacher.In almost every walk of life, we improve by making mistakes and learning from our experiences. It's pretty much the foundation on which civilization is built! So when it comes to learning a language, it's important to remember that making mistakes is actually a good thing !

BUT HOW TO overcome your fear of speaking in a foreign language ??

1/ Understand your fear....What exactly are you afraid of ? Anxiety about speaking in a foreign language usually boils down to fear of failure or fear of being negatively evaluated.Then what will happen if you make mistakes ? embarrassing mistakes can be something you laugh about later on. And actually, the strong feeling attached to laughter and embarrassment helps these words stick in our brains.To relax, ask yourself how you feel when a foreign person makes an effort to speak your language. Hopefully you would not judge them negatively.

2/ Work out where you get stuck in conversations.....When you are not used to conversing in a foreign language, your brain needs time to process incoming words, translate them, think of a response and translate that. This requires significantly more thought than conversing in your native language.

3/ Practice your listening....Working on your listening ability with foreign language media will always help your speaking. You can improve vocab and pronunciation through listening alone, but it is no substitute for real conversation.

4/ The desire for perfection may be holding you back...You will never speak a language fluently without speaking a broken version of it first. The sooner you start talking, the sooner you will reach a conversational level.It may be frustrating to feel like you are making mistakes, but this will ultimately be outweighed by the pleasure of using the language long-term.

5/ Smile ....You will get a much better response if you approach the conversation with a smile. What’s the worst that can happen?

6/ One-on-one conversations are easier ....When a group of native speakers get together, the conversation will usually speed up and become more complex. One-to-one conversations are easier. One-to-one lessons are a way to ensure you get this experience, while also benefitting from input from an expert.

7/ Control the speed of the conversation....If you speak slowly and clearly, this should encourage your conversation partner to also speak slowly and clearly.

8/ You can’t win ‘em all ....Some people you speak to will be more patient than others, some are more understanding, some are simply better at understanding foreign accents. Don’t be deterred – in this case, the problem is theirs not yours.

9/ Repeating topics....Many of the same conversations will come up again and again in everyday life. If you are ordering food in a restaurant or drinks in a bar, or if you are shopping, most interactions stick to an established routine.If you are lacking confidence in the language you are learning, these conversations are your way to experience interaction in the language. People are also likely to be patient with you if they are selling you something.

10/ It gets easier when you speak more languages.....once you have learned a foreign language to a conversational level, you will not feel the same fear when learning another. Sure it will be frustrating grasping for new words again, but you will know that it is possible.

***Bonus Tip**Don’t Forget the Magic Words !

There are a few particular phrases that I always learn before my first conversation and I suggest you do too. ° How do you say … in [target language] ? °Can you repeat that please ? °I don't understand ! °Can you speak more slowly, please ?

Thanks a lot For Reading And Have A Good Time ;-)

(the sources) .... How to Overcome the Fear of Speaking a New Language /by JAMES GRANAHAN / https://www.fluentin3months.com/fear-of-speaking/ 10 steps to overcome your fear of speaking in a foreign language BY ALEX HAMMOND / https://blog.esl-languages.com/blog/learn-languages/afraid-fear-speaking-foreign-language/

November 3, 2017



My inability to speak a foreign language seems deeper. I remember the examiner in my French oral exam , forty five years ago, begging me to say just one sentence so that he could give me a mark. I can write simple sentences quite well. My brain seems to connect better with my fingers holding a pen than with my mouth. Everything I know disappears and I cannot form any sort of simple sentence to say.

Your advice is brilliant and encouraging . Thank you . I do so want to say something to my new Italian family.


Thanks my friend and good luck with your lessons ;-)


I had a conversation with one of my German friends, in German, for about half an hour, covering a broad range of subjects, and afterwards, when someone asked him if I was any good at German, he said 'No, he's pretty rubbish, I understood what he was saying, but he got everything wrong'


I'm proud to be learning the Circassian language. I speak it whenever possible (which sadly is rare!)


Awesome ! I really wanted to learn circassian so long and I tried,too ... But... >_< its alphabet just so hard to me !


You are (mildly) interested in Circassian???? Awesome! If you ever decide to learn it again, I have some decks on TinyCards which cover the Circassian alphabet and vocabulary. (IPA knowledge is required but I can help with that if needed)!


I've just followed you on tiny cards my friend ;-) I'll check your decks ...


Contrary for me. I get less shy when speaking a foreign language.


Practice is how I learned to speak in other languages. Doing it with Spanish, then Arabic, made doing it in Portuguese easy. Then even trying to do a few words in Hebrew or a bit in French is totally possible.

When I was living Spain, I learned a lot more than the other people around me because I would just go up to new people and start talking; I got a lot of exposure, even though I had an untalkative host family :D. Talking is a great way to improve; I felt I learned a semester, or more, of Spanish in a week in Cuba talking with people some of the time.


You were well motivated to learn, That's very important in learning any thing at all . Thx ;-)


Yep, totally. And your suggestions seem like they are well directed if people really want to learn another language. Because knowing another language totally involves talking before it is completely known. It is like so obvious to me!!


Fortune favors the bold.


I am not shy.....well anymore but I used to be and I had to work it out all on my own. When I learned how to speak English I was so eager to speak with other people. But then there was this fear of speaking with other people like. What if I say the wrong thing? What if they can't understand what I am saying etc. I worked it out eventually. But I know I would of loved to hear this a year ago. Great confidence booster! Thank you for sharing this. I know someone else will appreciate this.


Good thing ! I still can't stop being shy , very shy actually. Thanks my friend , have a good time and some lingots ,too ;-)


I used to be sketched of being THE american that goes into a shop and can't explain what I wanted in Spanish. I had this dynamic, and other people had to the point that they learned less because they didn't get over it.

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