How to Cope with Fear of Speaking Foreign Language

Foreign Language

Most of us take another language learning as a spaceship construction: it is huge and difficult to manage, thousands of buttons and levers, intricate mechanisms, and the most difficult among them is the speech. You have already learned that there are a lot of popular languages to learn like Spanish, but the common problem in learning even the popular languages is the fear to start talking. It is difficult because we are talking in real time: you need to respond immediately like when taking over the ping-pong. Of course, it’s stressful, but it can be learned with the help of will and specific techniques.

You Are Not Afraid to Speak

No one is afraid to talk, most of us begin to do it in the early childhood and did not leave this habit until now. There is nothing complicated to say the words aloud. In fact, we are afraid of another – how it looks like from the outside. We are afraid of appearing ridiculous, absurd or silly, we are afraid to be misunderstood or do not understand that other people say to us. Surely you ever had a dream of a kind where you are standing naked in a crowd of clothed people. The same thing with a foreign language: you are not first who faces this fear. Perhaps this realization will be the first step.


By talking to yourself out loud, you will kill several birds with one stone. Firstly, you get used to the sound of your voice when you speak a foreign language. Many people notice that their intonation, tone, and tempo of speech slightly vary depending on the language. Some even say that they feel a bit different person. Secondly, if you speak aloud without witnesses, you will relax. The monolog excludes the most frightening element of communication – the fear of criticism. Third, you develop imagination and learn to speak on various topics. Play! For example, imagine that you are a Hollywood star: you are awarded the “Oscar,” you are amazing, telling from the scene how long you have gone for it, thank mom, grandma, the director, the audience and all those who supported you on this difficult path. You can be anyone – no one will hear, and will not interfere! If it is very difficult to come up with a topic of conversation, there are special sites that offer hundreds of questions on any topic what may come to mind.

Learn Helping Phrases

Often people are afraid to not understand the question or confuse when they have to response. How to help yourself in such cases? Learn a few phrases or rather all three. Two of them are for everyday life, and the third one is for force majeure. They will save you in almost any circumstances. These magic phrases are, “Sorry, I do not speak Spanish (Italian, German and so on). You speak English?”, “Sorry, I do not speak Spanish well. Can you please speak slower?” Finally, the most important phrase is not only for those who study foreign languages but for all travelers who go to a new country: “I need help! Call the police (an ambulance)!”

Comments in Social Networks and Blogs

When you say “I understand everything but I cannot tell a phrase,” this is not true. You just do not know how to react quickly enough in order to remember the words, so you need to learn to respond more quickly. Most people believe that the spoken and written language are not related to each other but this is not so: you can level up your skills in chat. Find dozens of interesting bloggers who write the same language you are learning, subscribe to them and begin to comment. The communication speed in the social networks is usually higher and more unpredictable than on blogging platforms. The answer may come through the day or may appear immediately. Comments on interesting topics will significantly expand your vocabulary and reduce the fear of communicating with others.

Learn to Listen

If you want to be a master of speech, you will have to listen a lot. You should begin with the video or audio, where people speak clearly and understandably. It can be anything: movies, audio books, songs of your favorite artists, videos on YouTube, podcasts, online courses and so on. To start with, you can try to look at or listen to what you have already watched or listened – it will be easier to understand a familiar story. It is important to be interested in a topic. Why was it so hard to cram endless topics in school? They were boring, and the boredom can ruin even the best initiatives.


Do Not Worry About the Pronunciation

It is believed that having an accent is a shame (despite British, of course) and you should get rid of it.  The truth is that nobody cares. Most of the French-speaking in English still put the accent on the last syllable. Spanish are not even trying to soften an “r” sound to the English pronunciation. They just believe that their “non-English” pronunciation is their specific feature. Getting rid of the accent is very difficult, it takes many years of hard work, and this may take a few years to live in another country. Patricia Kuhl, the co-founder of the I-LABS, says that the accent appears at the age of six months.

Apply to Courses in Another Country

It all depends on your goals. If you want to learn the language for everyday needs, a guided tour is suitable for you: you will learn how to order food in a restaurant, to discuss the hotel’s room with the administration and to ask the way. It is unlikely that you are going to discuss the philosophy of Kant with a waiter in a cafe. If you need some real way to learn, it is better to join the language courses in the country of the desired language. At least two hours a day you will talk. You will speak a lot because you are in a group of people from across the globe and you will go for a lunch and walk around the city. Here, even the shyest people learn to communicate. At the same time, remember that it is better not to settle with the fellow from your country if you do not have an iron will to talk only foreign language.

Do Not Demand Too Much from Yourself

The main thing is to not force yourself and overpowering. Language is not about “faster, higher, stronger.” There are people who mobilize (or at least they think so) in stress situations and a good shake-up helps them to speak. Unfortunately, this method is not for everyone: most of the people do their best when they feel comfortable. Learning a language should be associated with something pleasant and interesting. You should like to speak this language. There is no universal recipe how to overcome fear but there are ways to reduce your stress level. Of course, you can always force yourself. You can tighten and pull yourself together but why, if you can find another comfortable way that is suitable and will be convenient for you.

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