Three Tricks for Tackling Your Fear of Speaking a New Language

By
| Tips & Tricks

This terrifying scenario may sound familiar: You’ve been making progress in your language learning journey, but whenever there’s an opportunity to actually speak this new language to another person, you freeze up. It’s time to fight the urge to run and hide! 

The truth is, you are not alone in feeling anxiety and fear. In the spirit of Halloween, the Mauril team has explored the most common fears related to speaking a new language and paired them with some tricks to help reframe those fears and keep you from getting spooked the next time you speak.

 

FEAR: “What if I make a mistake?”
TRICK: Remind yourself that even native speakers trip up sometimes.

Making mistakes is part of the learning process.  Ask yourself: Is it realistic to be perfect and not make mistakes when you are early on in the learning process? The answer is a resounding no.

When you make a mistake, a friend, colleague or stranger may smile or giggle, but they are probably also quite impressed with your courage and determination. Instead of being embarrassed, try asking about your mistake. In most cases, your little slip up will quickly be forgotten.

 

FEAR: “My accent will get in the way.”
TRICK: Be proud of your accent. It means you are multilingual!

Many people are afraid that the way they pronounce words or the fact that they have an accent might make them hard to understand when speaking a new language. Here’s another way of thinking about it: Your accent makes you unique! An accent lets other people know that you also speak another language. Be proud of your accent and how far you’ve come on your language learning journey.

 

FEAR: “I might not be understood.”
TRICK: Don’t rely on words alone. Body language goes a long way.

As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. If you encounter moments when you just can’t get your point across, remember that words are only one way to convey meaning. Body language, tone and expression are means of communication that can be extremely helpful when you can't quite find the right word.

 

Remember to not let an awkward or negative conversation discourage you.  People tend to overthink before speaking, giving more space and weight to their fears. Ask yourself: Are you creating a barrier with your thoughts and preconceived ideas? 

In the end, it’s the effort that counts. You will earn instant respect for even trying! For an extra dose of linguistic confidence, hop onto the Mauril app to learn and practise French and English.

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