Inhibitions

One problem many language learners have is overcoming their inhibitions about speaking their foreign language. They worry about make mistakes and making a fool of themselves. This is normal, but if you want to be able to speak a language well, you need to practise speaking it as often as possible.

Some people believe that they speak their foreign language better after a few (alcoholic) drinks, and research has found this to be true, at least to some extent. Alcohol tends to suppress your inhibitions, so you become less worried about making mistakes. However this effect diminishes the more you drink, and the effects of alcohol might also make you think you’re more fluent even if you’re not.

What if you want to be fluent at other times, or if you don’t drink alcohol? One possibility is to rehearse what you want to say in advance, or at least to make sure you know the words you might need. You could practise conversations with yourself, and/or read aloud from books.

Alternatively you could view each opportunity you have to speak as a performance with you as an actor. If you are a shy, retiring type, or feel that way when trying to speak in a foreign language, you could try imagining yourself and acting as a confident, exuberant person with a good command of the language.

Comments on Inhibitions