Foreign Language Anxiety is experienced by many language learners. According to Professor Dr. Elaine Horwitz : somewhere between 30 to 40 percent of language learners deal with language anxiety. You know that feeling, racing heart, sick stomach, cold sweats and trembling hands. We are afraid of making mistakes, sounding stupid or not being understood. It is important to get Foreign Language Anxiety under control; otherwise you could be missing out on a job promotion or a raise, missing out on dealing with people who could help you grow your business, or you might miss out on getting to know someone you’re attracted to.
In order to reduce Foreign Language Anxiety you need to begin by taking baby steps. First, realize that failure is an option. It is ok to make mistakes. Trust me, everyone makes mistakes and some can be really embarrassing. Every English speaking student studying Spanish has either made the mistake or heard the mistake of saying “Estoy embarazada” thinking it means “I’m embarrassed” when it really means “I’m pregnant”!
Practice, practice, practice will help you overcome your fear. Practice by joining a language class or an online community, or listening and repeating the audio to a book, or get a language partner, or learn the lyrics to a song, then sing it (even if you only sing it in the shower), or learn everyday words and phrases or blog. There are many ways to practice a foreign language. The important factor is to remember to not let fear control you!