3 Common Fears When Speaking a Foreign Language (and how to overcome them)

In this first post, of a promotional series of three posts, Marion Geoffray of Theatre Sans Accents gives us some tips about how to overcome common fears when learning to speak a foreign language. Theatre Sans Accents is a bilingual (English-French) group in Edinburgh, which tries to break cultural and language barriers through the power of theatre. As well as her tips, Marion tells us about their upcoming language learning workshops.

Marion Geoffray

Speaking a foreign language often seems really difficult. However, at lot of that difficulty comes from our own personal fears about the how we appear to the listener. Here are three of the most common fears people have when speaking a foreign language, and how you can overcome them.

Fear of Making Mistakes

Fear of making a mistake can sometimes mean you end up saying nothing at all. Embrace your mistakes and dare to speak the language! What matters most is to “speak the tongue”. You will eventually learn from those mistakes and become a better speaker because of them.

Fear of Speaking Like a Robot

When you’ve reached a certain level of fluency, you can often go in “auto-pilot” when speaking a foreign language. This can be tedious for you and your audience. Try playing drama games which focus on characterisation and emotions. This can help you to re-connect with what you’re saying and make your speech more lively.

Fear of Being Misunderstood

The “lost in translation” problem is inherent to the language learning process. All languages share different codes, and a fear of being misunderstood can make us avoid uncomfortable situations. Through theatre, we can learn how to deal with those awkward situations and even get a laugh out of them!

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Theatre as a method of language learning is a relatively recent discipline, although academics have been researching it for the past thirty years. At Theatre Sans Accents, we believe that both the creative and linguistic processes can be mutually beneficial to language learners and provide fast and effective results.

Language in all its forms is the essence of Theatre. French dramatist Antonin Artaud talked about “breaking through language to re-create theatre”. At Theatre Sans Accents, we aim to achieve this reunification.

With a strong educational emphasis, we produce workshops with both children and adults in mind. People coming from all horizons can enjoy our workshops; anyone who wishes to learn a foreign language in a practical and non academic environment. We specialise in English and French as second languages, and speakers of all levels are welcome: complete beginners, intermediate and advanced.

By using various acting techniques (e.g. focusing on body language, elocution, emotions through improvisation, characterisation work), we encourage individuals to experience the language in concrete situations, building up communication abilities and confidence in a safe and relaxed environment.

We offer collaborative and diverting hands-on sessions to experience foreign languages without the pressure of the classroom. We help our participants to boost their motivation and improve inter-cultural and social competences.

…Then, Come and Join Us for a Workshop!

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Our next term starts in the week commencing Monday 11th April until Saturday 2nd July 2016 in Edinburgh, UK.

If you sign up by the 10th of April, you will be eligible for our “Early Bird Fees”, which have a discount of 10%. However, you can also just come to the first “taster session” to see if our workshops might be a good fit for you.

Find us at our website: TheatreSansAccents.co.uk


Artwork adapted from images by servantofchaos, Anna Vander Stelprojetotudoaver0 and TheatreSansAccents.

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