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Fear of Speaking a New Language?

1/03/2024 09:28:53 AM / by Coninglés

Fear of Speaking a New Language

According to experts, there are over 7,000 languages that exist and are spoken in the world today. While it is impossible to learn all of them, speaking a second language is quite common. The Journal of Neurolinguistics estimates that almost one half of the world’s population (43%) speaks a second language, while 17% speaks more than two, or several languages at once[i]. This shows that learning a new language is not as difficult as some might think.


Assuming you are reading this blog post, you already have a solid understanding of the English language. How about your speaking skills? How would you rate them?


Students learning a second language cite the speaking part as the most challenging in their learning journey, much more than listening and writing, for example. We are often our own worst critics, and this clearly shows when we try to speak. Speaking in public or giving a presentation in our own language can be incredibly stressful, let alone when we have to speak in front of others in a foreign language.


Do you suffer from fear of speaking a foreign language? Well, you’re not the only one. Here are 10 strategies to help you cope with all that imaginary stress.


  1. Don’t be afraid of being ridiculed: More often than not, it’s all in your head. We assume that others are judging us based on our accent, voice and speaking skills. You have to be brave to start any learning process. If people around you are judgmental, ignore them. They simply aren’t brave or open-minded enough.


  1. Mistakes are the fun part: If you get frustrated over making mistakes, it’s understandable. Put overambition aside. You are human, and humans make mistakes. Without mistakes, there is absolutely no learning.
  1. Set realistic targets: Speaking of overambition, remember that learning a language is a process. There are no shortcuts. Some people have the natural ability and background to learn more quickly than others, or they simply put in more effort. Look at your learning journey and draw a trajectory. In most cases, it will take years to achieve full fluency. Don’t get discouraged if things don’t go according to plan. Take a short break if you need to, then pick up where you left off.
  1. Enjoy the ride: It’s not always about the destination, but the journey. Take your time and enjoy the mistakes you make along the way. Mistakes can make for fun stories that you can revisit and share with your friends when you’ve mastered the language.
  1. Use your technology: Record and rewind. Take advantage of all the learning tools available online. They are there for a reason and have helped millions, be it through AI-powered learning or pronunciation guides. Make sure to record and revisit clips of yourself speaking so that you can identify improvement areas and track your immense progress. That will motivate you to keep going.
  1. Slow down: We know you are under pressure to deliver your speech or idea, but it is not always about you. You also need to take your listeners into consideration. Slowing down and taking breaths in between sentences means that you are better understood by your audience, can manage your nervousness and make less mistakes as you choose your words carefully.
  1. Say it like you mean it: What makes a good speaker is not their vocabulary or accent. It is about delivering their speech authentically and with enthusiasm. Speaking with conviction shows that you are genuinely interested in the ideas you are expressing. It elicits a positive response from listeners and sets strong speakers apart from those who are just ‘faking it.’
  1. Everyone has an accent: The truth is that there isn’t one standard accent that is correct. Even within one region of English-speaking countries, there can be variety of accents. The point is not to speak with a neutral accent, but to speak clearly and be understood. Your accent is what makes you unique, so embrace it and share it with the world!
  1. Focus on the positives: Now that you’ve tracked your learning progress, focus on the things that you have done well. Chances are that at this point, the list of your strengths is likely much longer than the things you need to improve.
  1. Be gentle on yourself: Miracles don’t happen overnight. If you are overwhelmed, take a short break and continue when you feel better. Failure is not about making mistakes or not reaching your targets, it’s about giving up. 

Are you ready to conquer your fear of speaking English? Book an appointment with an advisor at Conginlés to discover how our expert language trainers can help you master your speaking skills.




Written by Coninglés

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