(paraphrased, but): ‘people feel like the whole world will end if they try and speak the language’
This hits me on two levels because I intellectually know this is entirely untrue, obviously, about any additional language I’ve learned. But my emotions and anxiety don’t seem to understand. I remember being 14 in Russian Saturday school with 30 native speakers trying to get an easy A to boost their averages. There was one non-native girl, but she was fluent. The teacher asked me to try and read a poem in front of the class, which I had rehearsed for HOURS the week before. And when it came time to try it, even in front of people I was starting to make friends with, I just started sobbing. Couldn’t even utter the first syllable, which was just ‘Я’.
I wasn’t diagnosed with any sort of anxiety back then, but before this I had never had a problem with trying out new things and being worried about failing, so I think it may have triggered some sort of foreign language anxiety. I was already well into my French studies at this point, speaking in front of native teachers so that was no problem. Not sure if that changed right after the Russian thing, but even now, at near fluency, I get nervous speaking to native French speakers. Speaking, and sometimes even typing in German or Japanese to my hellotalk friends gets my heart rate in the exercise zone, according to my fitbit LOL.
I wish there was some easy way to turn off these inhibitions, and I wonder if anyone else has gone through a similar experience? Maybe we could help each other and try speaking our broken Japanese together more easily, knowing we all have the same issue. That fact might make things easier, I don’t know Maybe just putting this on the internet and airing it out will help, who knows!