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How to overcome the language barrier in English

The language barrier in English is the difficulty that arises when speaking in a language other than ours. Almost every person learning a foreign language experienced this unpleasant phenomenon. The barrier can occur not only for beginners, but also for people with good knowledge. And the latter is especially insulting: you know the grammar well, calmly read articles in English, watch The Big Bang Theory in the original, and when it comes to a conversation, you hardly squeeze a couple of sentences out of yourself.

Фото: Depositphotos

The issue of what constitutes a language barrier, and how to overcome it, figured out Englex.

Psychological component of the language barrier in English

Fear of uncertainty

It often happens that if you need to say something in English, we fall into a stupor. This may occur because we find ourselves in an atypical situation for ourselves: we need to talk to a stranger in a foreign language. In addition, we do not know what the conversation will turn into: on what topic the interlocutor will speak, what phrase will he say further, and so on.

Fear of error

Of course, the main enemy in speaking in English is the fear of “blasting out something wrong”. When talking with an English-speaking interlocutor, we are so afraid of appearing silly or ridiculous, that we prefer to keep silent or speak only Yes or No. Psychologists explain this fear by the fact that we got used to it from childhood: we are punished for mistakes. Therefore, even adults subconsciously try to avoid mistakes, so they prefer to keep their mouths shut in the truest sense of the word.

Accent shyness

Some people shy of their accent in English. Moreover, this psychological problem sometimes takes on a universal scale: a person cannot achieve the perfect British pronunciation, therefore he prefers to keep silent and communicate with the help of gestures. This is because of the fear to show that we do not belong to this society, we do not know how others will react to our speech. In addition, it seems to us that they will laugh at our accent, we are afraid to look silly. At the same time, we completely forget how we like it when foreigners try to speak Russian, their accent seems nice to us and does not interfere with communication at all.

Fear of speaking slowly

Another common phobia sounds like this: “But what if I’m going to pick words for a long time, speak slowly and with pauses. A foreigner will think that I am stupid. ” For some reason, we think that the interlocutor expects speech from us at the speed of 120 words per minute, and not normal conversation. Remember, when speaking in Russian, we also pause, sometimes we find the right words for a long time, and this is perceived quite normally.

Fear not to understand the interlocutor

The final phobia combines all the previous ones: “I can make a mistake, I speak too slowly and with an accent, and I can also not catch some words of the interlocutor. All this will not let him understand me. ” At best, this fear makes us speak with a foreigner too loudly (it seems to us that they will understand us more quickly), at worst, it keeps us from even trying to speak English.

So why is it difficult for us to speak in English and perceive the non-native speech by ear?

Small vocabulary

The more your vocabulary, the easier it is for you to express your thoughts to the other person, other things being equal. With a narrow lexical reserve, it will be more difficult for you to explain, as well as understand the words of an English-speaking friend.

Poor grammar knowledge

Of course, even knowing the times of the group Simple already allow you to chat on some simple topics. However, if you want to communicate your thoughts to the interlocutor more precisely, learning more complex grammatical structures cannot be avoided. In addition, in order to perceive the English language by ear in full, you need to understand all the subtleties of English grammar.

Lack of practice

If you speak only a couple of hours a month in English and listen for half an hour a week, the appearance of the language barrier should not surprise you. For the systematic development of any skill, be it speaking or listening to speech, we need regular "training", that is, English classes. Based on the experience of our school, we recommend studying with a teacher at least 2-3 once a week for 60-90 minutes and independently learn English daily or every other day for at least 20-30 minutes. Remember how people learn to drive: to feel confident behind the wheel, you need to constantly practice. One lesson per week or month will not bring the desired result.

Фото: Depositphotos

How to overcome the language barrier in English:

1. Take it easy

The first tip is the main step for those who want to overcome the language barrier. Just accept the fact that first conversations with foreigners may not be easy. At the same time remember: it is difficult not only for you, but also for him. Your interlocutor is just as embarrassed and afraid of being misunderstood, so he will do his best to make your conversation successful. In addition, foreigners are always favorably on those who learn English, so even a simple dialogue will seem to the interlocutor to be a great achievement, and he will help you in every way to carry on a conversation. Call to calm seems banal to you?

Linguist Stephen Krashen put forward a hypothesis according to which language skills are impaired in a person experiencing negative emotions. That is, if you are nervous or upset, it will be much more difficult for you to express your thoughts in English than in a calm state, in fact, your language abilities are partially “turned off” during strong excitement. It is like a fear of public speaking: you may know your speech by heart, but you forget everything from excitement.

2. Allow yourself to make mistakes

Somewhat strange, but important recommendation: allow yourself to get rid of perfectionism. Remember how in childhood you learned to write the letters of the Russian language: someone wrote them in mirror image, someone forgot to draw "loops" or "tails", someone wrote so crookedly that the teachers remembered a joke about a chicken paw with a smile . And, despite all these “failures”, as a result, we have learned how to write in Russian quite tolerably, and some even legible. In the same way, you will go through the process of communication in English: first you will make mistakes, but the more you practice speaking, the sooner you get rid of them. So don't be afraid of accidentally losing the article, native speakers will forgive you for this mistake, after all, you are not an ambulance doctor or an airport dispatcher, so your mistake will not have disastrous consequences.

3. Do not be afraid to "sound" wrong

Of course, we must strive to pronounce the sounds of the English language clearly and correctly, but do not be afraid to speak with an accent, otherwise it will be difficult to overcome the language barrier. English is taught in all corners of the world, and each country has its own “peculiarities of national pronunciation”. By and large, a foreigner will be able to understand even our notorious “Zeriz / Zera”, so do not be shy of your accent, this is not a flaw, but a feature of your speech.

4. Do not hurry

Of course, we all want from the very first English classes to speak quickly, without thinking about the words. However, in reality it turns out differently: the transition from the native language to the target does not come too easily. Be prepared for the fact that at first you will speak slowly, make pauses, take long words. No need to force yourself to force: the speed will come as a result of practice. At first, focus on competent speech, not quick. Speak slowly, but build sentences correctly, find the right words. In this case, your speech will be accurately understood, but speed does not contribute to understanding.

5. Try to catch the essence

To understand the interlocutor's speech at the hearing, it is not necessary to catch every word of it, you need to grasp the essence of what was said. A common mistake: you hear an unfamiliar word in your speech and “dwell” on it, not listening to what they say next. In this situation, you will definitely lose the thread of the conversation and you will not be able to understand what you have been told. Try to grasp the meaning of what was said, without thinking about unfamiliar words, then it will be easier to overcome the language barrier. The same advice is given by teachers before the international exam: when passing part Listening (Listening) you should not dwell on unfamiliar words, the main thing is to grasp the essence, then you can complete the task.

6. Repeat your words

Your interlocutor did not understand you the first time? Nothing terrible happened: repeat the sentence again, reformulate it, try to simplify it. You are just learning to speak English, so your interlocutor does not expect eloquence from you.

7. Ask again

Do not be afraid to ask your interlocutor. If a foreigner speaks too quickly and you do not have time to catch the words, ask him to repeat everything more slowly. You still do not understand what the source is saying? Without a hint of embarrassment, ask him to explain to you in more and more simple words. Remember, your request will be accepted adequately, because any person understands how difficult it is to perceive a non-native language by ear. How can I ask the interlocutor to repeat what was said:

Infographics: Englex

8. Keep it simple and you will understand

If for the first time you have to speak with a “live foreigner”, try simplifying your speech. For example, in a restaurant, say simply: “Tea, please", Do not complicate your life with long constructions"I would like ... ”/“ Could you please ... ” A simple sentence will definitely understand, and it will give you confidence. To simplified speech does not sound rude, do not forget to add polite words please and thank youthey are relevant in any conversation. In addition to simplifying the construction of the sentence, use more simple vocabulary. At first, do not try to use in conversation all the idioms and slang expressions you know. First, you can get nervous and get confused in them. Secondly, some expressions may not be used in any territory or used in a slightly different meaning. Therefore, to all who are interested in how to overcome the language barrier, we recommend that you first speak as simply as possible. At the same time, try to gradually complicate your speech, add words, “build up” sentences. In this case, your speaking skill will develop steadily and without psychological trauma.

9. Increase vocabulary

A large vocabulary will allow you to speak more precisely, quickly select new words and at the same time better understand the interlocutor. A good fluent speech can only be a person with a wide lexical reserve. In addition, remember that a native speaker can use various phrasal verbs, idioms, etc. To understand what you are trying to say, try to learn different words, including popular figurative expressions.

10. Memorize phrases

Try to learn not individual words, but whole sentences or excerpts from them. Thus, the vocabulary is remembered better, and you will keep useful phrase patterns in your memory. Of these templates, you can "design" your appeal to the interlocutor.

Фото: Depositphotos

11. Listen to audio materials

Not to worry if you can understand English by ear, develop your listening skills. How to overcome the language barrier with audio materials? To do this, you can watch news, movies, TV shows in English, listen to podcasts on topics that interest you, etc. Try to listen to something in English at least 10-20 minutes a day. Do not stop your studies, even if at first you can not understand half of what was said. Your ears need to get used to the sound of an unfamiliar speech, you gradually adapt and can understand everything you are told.

12. Learn grammar

Let you and will not use in each sentence Present Perfect Continuous, but knowledge of grammatical constructions will allow you to express your thoughts specifically and accurately in English, as well as to understand correctly what exactly a foreigner tells you.

13. Find yourself a buddy

Remember the saying "Klin wedge knock out"? You will overcome the language barrier in English only if you have constant conversational practice. The more often you will practice speaking skills, the faster you will improve it to the level you need and the less embarrassing you will feel if you need to use English in communication.

14. Speak everything in English

During independent lessons in English, you can also practice speaking. To do this, just say everything out loud. You read a book - read it out loud, do grammatical exercises - pronounce what you write, watch a movie - repeat the phrases after the characters. Such simple actions will bring tangible benefits in overcoming the language barrier. Many English learners note that words spoken aloud are remembered better than those that were studied in silence.

15. Smile

The time has come to dispel the stereotype of "dark Russians who never smile." A smile abroad is almost a prerequisite for normal communication. A sympathetic smiling companion will help faster than the nervous and frowning.

Read also on ForumDaily:

How to learn to speak English fluently and competently: 16 simple tips

Speak like an American: what idioms and turnovers will help to become “yours” in the USA

Top 3 resource to help improve English pronunciation

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