You’ve probably more than once experienced a tickling feeling that runs throughout your body and gives you an electric shock when you need to talk to a stranger, tell something to a large audience, go through an interview, ask a question to a teacher in class and speak a foreign language.
The barrier is a fairly common phenomenon among those learning a language. And the longer you study, the more you learn, the clearer the fact becomes that language does not end with tenses or idioms, and there is no limit to its improvement. Recognizing your sufficient language level to confidently communicate with native speakers or business partners can be challenging. How to overcome the fear of mistakes, the fear that you will not be understood or misunderstood, the reluctance to look ridiculous or sound stupid in a non-native language? The tips below are relevant if you have concerns or fears.
Choose any topic that you would be interested in discussing, turn on the recorder, set the timer for five minutes. Your task is to reveal the chosen topic and not stop for the set time, even if you don’t know the words or it seems that there is nothing more to say. Analyse mistakes, pronunciation, words, etc. To simplify the task, if you don’t know the word you need at the moment, say it in your native language (you will later translate it during analysis). The main point is not to stop and gradually increase the time.
It doesn’t matter who you start a dialogue with and what you want to convey to your interlocutor, simple words and sentences will help you communicate with anyone.
By removing any jargon and bookish words, you decrease the chance of misunderstanding and enhance the likelihood that the person with whom you are interacting will understand you right away. Using simple words can prevent cultural misunderstandings caused by incorrect use of idioms or politically sensitive terms..
The best option is to study on a good language platform, where you can gain knowledge from native speakers. Natives speak with natural pronunciation. Moreover, the accent varies depending on the country, region, nationality and social class. When communicating with a native speaker, you will adopt lively intonations, and a unique accent. You will master a real foreign language and get rid of the characteristic accent.
If you need a foreign language not only for travel, but also for communication at work or for doing business, then language training for business will help increase your professional level. Stronger relationships at work, an increased sense of accomplishment, increased drive, and more effective client communication are all the results you may get. You will not be questioned or misunderstood if, in addition to your vocabulary and grammar, you also master correct pronunciation. And this can be achieved only by adopting a live sound in communication with the native speaker.
Mastery of a language is the same as a trained body. Regular training makes exercises easier and prevents post-workout pain. Consistent gym attendance is necessary for long-term weight loss and fitness goals, rather than sporadic visits for short-term results.
It’s the same with learning a foreign language. You need to devote time to it constantly, several times a week, or better yet, daily. Otherwise, your language “muscles” will atrophy. Create a plan for independent work with different approaches for reading and watching original voice-over series on specific days. Practice makes perfect!
The truth is, most barriers can be overcome in this simple way. Namely, give yourself the right to make mistakes. Mistakes are an important part of learning and should be treated as another step towards understanding.
You can immediately warn that you are not a native speaker if you have difficulty expressing yourself clearly. This in most cases makes people more patient and willing to help you.
One of radical, but highly effective options. The first thing that comes to mind is travelling to a foreign language country on one’s own. When you have a travel companion who will ask for directions while speaking a common language with the locals, you can stay within your comfort zone. When travelling alone or with friends who do not speak the local language, you will have to take care of yourself. Nothing forces you to overcome the language barrier more than missing your connection and getting lost at the airport.
This advice may not be suitable in an extreme situation when you need to speak quickly. But in everyday life this is quite acceptable. Don’t think you’ll be considered weird if you give yourself time to think about your answer. Show your interlocutor with a gesture that he needs to wait a little, recall familiar vocabulary on the topic, make up a sentence and say it.
Come up with games for the most typical stressful conversational situations. For example, you are lost in an unfamiliar city, your phone is missing, you are late for the train and are in a hurry trying to find the platform, etc. In such situations, brain activity is significantly mobilised, and attention is directed not to the quality of your language, but to solving a specific problem.
It is more appropriate to organise such games in groups. But family members and a tutor can also help you. If you immerse yourself as much as possible in fictional conditions, the psychological barrier in a real situation (and not such a stressful one) will be much weaker.
At the initial stage, it is better to contact a tutor who will immediately test your knowledge and identify shortcomings. Based on your results, the teacher creates a personal program and develops a lesson plan. This will let you know what is preventing you from speaking freely. In addition, follow the tips above and most importantly don’t give up! Diligent practice will do its job and the barrier to speaking a foreign language will gradually disappear.