You’ve been studying English for more than 10 years, you know all the grammar structures, you watch movies in English without subtitles, you can write an email to your colleagues, but when it comes to actually speaking with people in English, you feel stuck. All the words seem to magically disappear from your brain, your heart rate skyrockets, and all you can do is frantically search for words and expressions. Does it sound familiar? Then you, my friend, are a classical case of xenoglossophobia, or foreign language anxiety.
First of all, you’ll be relieved to know that you are not alone. Almost 80% of language learners face this problem, and the interesting thing is that it doesn’t depend on your language level.
So, how do you overcome this problem? Well, first you need to ask yourself one question, “What kind of communicator am I?” Are you a shy person who feels anxious communicating with people in your native tongue? Then your problem is not a language barrier, but a communication barrier. And what can help you is doing things that are out of your comfort zone and strive to become a better communicator in your mother tongue, and then communicating in English will just follow suit.
Now, if you feel anxious when it only comes to speaking English, then my advice to you is “Practice, practice, practice!” Remember the first time you drove the car, how hard it was and how stressed you felt doing it, but with years of practice, your driving became smooth, stress-free and actually enjoyable.
In my next article I will give practical tips on what you can do at home to practice speaking English in your everyday life in order to overcome the language barrier, so stay tuned!
Have a great day and a good life, because we all deserve it!