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Analysis Paralysis: Don’t Over-Think Your New Language

analysis paralysisIt is easy to over-think matters when you are trying to speak in a foreign language you aren’t yet comfortable with. Analysis paralysis is common in people trying out a new skill and can lead to your progress slowing down. So how do you forget about the analysis and just do it?

Say It with a Smile

Most people are probably like me when they need to say something they aren’t sure about in their second language. I mutter the difficult word into my shoulder in a low voice and hope that the person I am talking to doesn’t notice. Of course, they notice. A better idea is to say it with a smile and – if you have the co-ordination for it – a light shrug of the shoulders. It would take a pretty harsh person to not be on the side of a foreigner trying out a phrase they’re obviously having a problem with, but still smiling.

Have a Drink

Before the good people at Alcoholics Anonymous have a go at me; I am not suggesting going round in a permanently sozzled state as being the ideal way to learn a new language. Having said that, a little drink can be a good idea to loosen your tongue. I tried to dredge up a little bit of my schoolboy French when I was in Paris for a trip and it was hard going. However, after I had taken a little bit of light refreshment in a bar I started speaking more freely. I made a few mistakes but I was happy just speaking more than I had been.  If you don’t like alcohol then I can confirm that eating a tasty ice cream on the beach has been known to have a similar effect on me. Basically, whatever helps you relax and forget about the analysis for a while is a good idea.

Make a Friend

There are some very good reasons for making friends with someone who speaks the language you are learning. This can be a wonderful way of learning about the culture and of finding out how people think. One of the other huge benefits is that you can speak more comfortably. No matter how good you feel about the progress in your language lessons you probably get intimidated when speaking to new people. I know I do. However, if you can find a new friend whom you feel comfortable around then it could all flow more naturally for you. I would avoid someone who is learning English, though, as they will probably want to speak to you in English while you want to speak in their language.

No matter what language you are learning, there are some simple ways to overcome your analysis paralysis and start talking more. Which one will you try today?