Learning another language on paper, from a book, listening to audio, etc., has its challenges…but SPEAKING another language takes it to a completely different level. Are you too scared to speak?
Do you think it sounds strange, hearing yourself produce different sounds? Do you feel that native-speakers of your target language (‘target language’ is the language you wish to learn) might think you are stupid for not being able to speak like them? Well, don’t be, because obviously you are not!
There is a way to overcome this fear
Hearing yourself speaking another language is so, so weird. But take heart, because it’s probably only weird to YOU!
I really do believe it’s because you are so accustomed to hearing yourself speak your own language. Let’s face it; you are the one person who has ALWAYS been there when you speak. You are the person who has most heard you speak in your entire life! No wonder it sounds strange to YOU when YOU speak in a different language.
Don’t be so self-centred
I know this may sound a little harsh,… but…when you speak in your new language, no one else really cares very much that you sound differently to the way you usually do.And why should they? They won’t even know you ‘sound strange’. The worst they can possibly think is that you may need a little more practice speaking their language, but how polite you are for even trying! It’s a win-win situation.
Now that’s not too terrifying, is it?
The strategy you can use to get round this obstacle, is to listen to audio of native-speakers of your target language and repeat what you hear as much as you can, to yourself. Alone. With no audience. Speak your new language as much as possible, when alone. This will help accustom your brain to hearing yourself speak in a new language and to overcome that ‘strangeness’ that probably only you hear.
Try this out and please let me know if it helped.
What other strategies have you used to get over the fear of speaking in another language?
More next time…