Fear and Language Learning

nervous-person-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”!Pregnant woman

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!




4 thoughts on “Fear and Language Learning

  1. JoeBlogs October 9, 2015 / 1:20 pm

    This is so true! I have anxiety problems anyway, but speaking German (my second language) does get me more anxiety, particularly verbally. I’ve been typing the language for a long time, so I’m too fussed about that, but I used to be. It’s now mainly the speaking part that’s a problem for me. There’s definitely a few embarrassing things to say in German, but I think the most common is to say that ich bin heiß rather than mir ist heiß, the former meaning you’re horny, hot, sexy, or whatever, whereas the latter simply means you’re hot, as in temperature! Hah.


    • Denise Doty October 9, 2015 / 5:30 pm

      Yes, speaking in a second language is hard, I agree, but practice helps take that anxiety away. Spanish has the same problem area as German. Estoy caliente means I’m hot, excited and tengo calor means I’m hot as in temperature!

      Liked by 1 person

      • JoeBlogs October 9, 2015 / 7:23 pm

        I was considering Spanish at some point, so thanks, I’ll keep that in mind the next time I want to profess my hotness. lol


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s