Blog of Sara Jakša

The Fear Of Speaking In Foreign Language

Recently, I found out, that I am afraid to speak in the foreign language. I was anticipating some of that fear, but not on such a scale.

As I moved to a new country, there was also a new language to learn. In my case, the German language. But just seeing a couple of my first encounters. Given the choice, I always chose English.

So far, I had always learned languages with more or less input method. A lot of reading and listening. I always were more motivated to learn passive parts of my language. I mean, just thinking of all the books that I could read, all the movies that I could watch and so on.

With this method, I eventually was be able to speak.

But, since I find out, I will be living in a country only a couple of months before departure, that above method did not prepare me as much as I would have hoped.

So. in order to came over my currently biggest problem, not being able to speak, I wanted to try the Benny's method, from his blog 'Fluent in 3 months'.

The grist of the method is, that a learner is trying to speak from day 1. Not exactly day 1 for me, but from this day forward, not when I feel ready.

So I made that my goal. And ended up speaking in the next conversation in English.

So after that, I made some rules, when am I allowed to speak English, and when will I speak German language.

The first rule is, never try to ask people to speak in English. So, if they start speaking in English language, that is fine, but if they start in German, then try to understand. Only if I understand less than 50%, can I ask to change in English. The exception being the paperwork. Like opening a bank account, registration and so on, when it is important to have an understanding.

After that, I had to long conversations in mixture of German and English. One was a theatre meeting group. The second was a stranger from Maroko.

I am proud of the second one, since managed to explain what is asexuality and that I am one in German. With a lot of pauses and hand movement, but I was understandable. I also made some sentences in German on the theatre club. But only a couple.

But also listening to German, even non speaking, my understanding improves and I can open the doors to more and more types of conversations.

A lot of people are afraid of meeting new people. Part of that is fear of rejections, that is one of the 10 top fears. But for me, that is not a problem. What I am afraid is not being understood and not understanding. But still, I hope that it will be easier and easier.

So, if you are like me, learning a new language and afraid to use it, make it a challenge with me. Having at next conversation. You can always quit late. I know I will not for some time.