Atenção: Vocabulário no final do artigo.
How to overcome the “mental block” when speaking English:
Learning a new language requires a lot of practice, and for many people it can cause much stress when their mind simply goes blank when they are speaking. It is a very common problem, and it is called Foreign Language Anxiety.
When we have a mental block, we often think that it is because our level is not good enough. We think that we lack vocabulary and grammar. We might even think that we are simply not good at languages and that we will never be able to learn English well.
In fact, for many people at the intermediate and advanced levels, their vocabulary and grammar are sufficient to say what they want to say. But because they feel they can’t say it perfectly, they tend to say much less than they could. This is all because of the fear of embarrassment, the fear of being judged.
So if you feel like this describes you then pay attention to the following 4 points to overcome your mental blocks!
1. Breathe and don’t speak too fast
Language anxiety is a real anxiety which makes it difficult for students to think clearly. When you are anxious, it is hard to speak even in your native language sometimes! As with any other type of anxiety, breathing exercises can help lessen the anxiety and clear your mind a bit and things like mindfulness meditation can work wonders for us in the long run.
Also remember to not speak too fast. Speaking fast can be a quick path to not being understood!
2. Don’t be too hard on yourself because of grammar and pronunciation mistakes
Learning a language until fluency takes years. Don’t expect a magic formula that allows you to learn with little effort and time.
You will take a long time to learn and you will naturally make mistakes, you might make the same mistake upwards of 20 times until you finally start getting it right, so don’t make yourself feel like an idiot simply because you made a mistake, those mistakes are necessary. Change your mentality and look at it like what it really is: One tiny step closer to speaking better.
3. Confidence is key. Focus on how much you have improved instead of how much you don’t know
Try to focus more on your progress and not just on your weak points. If you are consistently working to improve your English, you will improve...and you should feel good about it! Learning a language is difficult, and you should feel proud that you are learning!
Changing your mentality like this can give you more confidence about your English and this will, of course, improve your Language Anxiety over the long run.
4. Explain the words you don’t know
When you don’t know a word in your native language, what do you do? You explain it, right? When you are speaking English and don’t know a word, don’t give up! Try explaining it to the person who you are speaking to. Explaining what you want to say is an important skill which gives you alternative ways of saying things!
Overcome - Superar
Go blank - Dar um branco
Foreign Language Anxiety - Ansiedade de Línguas Estrangeiras
Pay attention - Prestar atenção
Clear your mind a bit - Esvaziar a mente um pouco
Work wonders - Fazer maravilhas
Long run - Longo prazo
Quick path - Caminho rápido
Don’t be too hard on yourself - Não seja tão duro consigo mesmo
Upwards of 20 times - Mais do que 20 vezes
Instead of - em vez de
Don’t give up - Não desista