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  • Writer's pictureThe English Coach

Here are 4 language learning fears that may be holding you back

I'm not good enough to start speaking yet.” I'll never be fluent.” "I'm not making any progress.” I just can't understand anything I hear.”

Two of the biggest enemies in language learning are foreign language anxiety and the desire for perfection. According to research, communication apprehension and fear of negative evaluation are the two main reasons we have discomfort when talking in front of other people.

Anglophobia: fear/dislike of England or English culture.
Xenoglossophobia: a strong dislike of foreign languages.

Although all aspects of using and learning a foreign language can cause anxiety, listening and speaking are regularly cited as the most anxiety-provoking foreign language activities, but consider this...

According to this article in Edutopia, fear and learning just don’t mix!

When we are in a state of fear, there are stress hormones in our bloodstream. Researchers have shown that low and medium levels of the stress hormone, called cortisol, improve learning and enhance memory, whereas high levels of the stress hormone have a bad effect on learning and memory.

So, how can I overcome fear?

Embrace new approaches to learning. For example, a traditional classroom or grammar books are not the only ways to learn a language. Choose learning activities you're comfortable with doing every day and enjoy.

Embrace Failure

Failure is the best teacher. It's fundamental to the learning process. The lessons we've learned by making mistakes are usually ones we never forget.

Allow yourself to feel uncomfortable in situations you don't understand or when you speak. Most people feel silly speaking a foreign language. This discomfort is universal, but keep speaking anyway.

Michael Jordan said something inspiring about failure. You may want to apply it to your English studies.

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

If you're struggling with your English proficiency level at work or know someone who needs some guidance in moving beyond the intermediate-level learning plateau, book a free strategy session at


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