Foreign Language Anxiety - How to Overcome Xenoglossophobia

Learning a new language is fun, right? Well, not for everyone. What you know about fear of speaking in a foreign language anxiety? Although it sounds frivolous, a phobia can take extreme forms. Xenoglossophobia tarnishes the learning experience for millions of people around the world. Are you ready to learn what xenoglossophobia is and, most importantly, how to beat it? Jump right into reading the article to learn about overcoming foreign language anxiety and the best ways to return the fun to your language lessons.

What is xenoglossophobia?

The word xenoglossophobia comes from the Greek language. The meaning of the word ‘xeno’ is foreign, and the meaning of the word ‘glosso’ is language. If you translate the word, xenoglossophobia means the fear of a foreign language, be it learning or speaking. We know xenoglossophobia as foreign language anxiety. Foreign language anxiety is a widespread problem. While it might sound like a mild problem, in reality, it leads to not-so-mild symptoms. Symptoms of Xenoglossophobia can include:

Overcoming Foreign Language Anxiety: 5 Tips to Help you Speak Freely

So, how can you overcome anxiety when speaking a foreign language? Below you will find how to overcome language anxiety, make the learning process more enjoyable and speak freely in a foreign language.

Be easy on yourself for mistakes

There is nothing wrong with making mistakes. It’s a part of the learning process. Nobody is perfectly fluent in a foreign language right away. Making mistakes is what makes us humans, right? For some people, it takes a few months to start speaking a new language without feeling any anxiety. And some people feel it years into studying a language and even using it every year. The best thing you can do is to be easy on yourself for mistakes. Embrace them and stop worrying about saying something wrong or mispronouncing a word. Every mistake increases the chances that you’ll remember grammar errors, and pronunciation failures and never repeat them in the future.


Move in small steps

It’s no secret that reading and writing in a new language is much easier than speaking in it. It’s a good start that provides you with a solid foundation of grammar and vocabulary. When you decide to move to speaking, don’t start with going out on stage at a conference. Move in small steps. For example, you can try going to a restaurant and ordering something in the new language, asking for directions, or just ordering your morning coffee at your favorite French cafe. You start small, you move forward steadily.


Engage in one-on-one conversations

Speaking in a group is not for everyone, especially if you’re trying to overcome foreign language anxiety. Try to find someone who already knows the language and community with them. There are a lot of apps to help you with it. For example, Busuu is a language learning platform that allows you to communicate with native speakers. You can even organize language exchange and help someone learn your native language while you are studying a foreign one.


Find a teacher

Learning a new language all by yourself is possible but quite challenging. Finding a good teacher is the secret to success. With a teacher, you’ll be able to navigate the learning process faster and smoother. Tutors will guide you around all the obstacles, create a personalized learning plan for you and create a learning environment that will help your overcome foreign language anxiety faster.


Embrace xenoglossophobia

It’s okay to feel foreign language anxiety. Millions of people all over the world feel the same way about learning and speaking a foreign language. When you understand what evokes unpleasant feelings, you’ll be able to work on them. For example, you might be afraid of mispronouncing words, or you might feel anxious about making some grammar mistakes. After you understand what’s the matter, start practicing more and more.


Practice, practice, practice…


The worst thing you can do for yourself is to stop practicing a new language because you have anxiety. Regular practice will help you overcome anxiety when speaking a foreign language. The more you practice, the more confident you become in your skills. Try not to feel discouraged when you make a mistake. Consider it a challenge to learn something new every day and improve your skills. And when you don’t know how to pronounce a word or forget some word when writing, you can always use such apps as iDict to check your pronunciation and spelling.


Overcoming Foreign Language Anxiety

So, now you can breathe more freely knowing that xenoglossophobia or foreign language anxiety is a widespread problem. You can allow it to undermine all your efforts and stop you from learning new languages. Or, you can embrace it and work on overcoming it every day of your journey. It’s not an easy task, but it’s possible. In no time, you will find yourself speaking freely in a foreign language and, most importantly, enjoying the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Xenoglossophobia?

Xenoglossophobia means foreign language anxiety. It’s a feeling of nervousness, worry and unease experienced while learning or speaking a foreign language.

2. How can I overcome the fear of speaking a foreign language?

Here are a few tips to overcome foreign language anxiety. First of all, be easy on yourself for mistakes; everyone makes them. Practice and practice and practice. Only with practice will you be able to improve your skills and get rid of anxiety. Move in small steps and don’t try to speak at a conference right away. Start with engaging in one-to-one conversation then practice speaking in a group. Be patient, as some need a few months to start speaking a new language and some need a few years to be confident enough.

3. Is foreign language anxiety widespread?

Xenoglossophobia (foreign language anxiety) is a problem present across the world. Millions of people have anxiety when it comes to learning or speaking a foreign language. Such an anxiety reaction can lean to the shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, dry mouth, nausea, excessive sweating and shaking.


Keyword SV KD
Overcoming foreign language anxiety 20 1
Foreign language anxiety 70 71
How does anxiety affect language learning 10 5
What is language anxiety 10 70
Anxiety when speaking a foreign language 10 5
How to overcome language anxiety 10 5