September 24

Overcoming the Fear of Learning Spanish: Making Real Progress Takes Time and Effort

Fear is normal when starting something unfamiliar, like a new school or a new job, and language acquisition is no exception. Fear of learning Spanish can hold people back from ever getting started, and even when you’ve decided to start, it can hold you back from really trying and making progress. As much as you might want the fear just to go away, it is part of how our brains are wired. In My Stroke of Insight, the author Jill Bolte Taylor says: “When incoming stimulation is perceived as familiar, the amygdala is calm and the adjacently positioned hippocampus is capable of learning and memorizing new information. However, as soon as the amygdala is triggered by an unfamiliar or perhaps threatening stimulation, it raises the brain’s level of anxiety and focuses the mind’s attention on the immediate situation. Under these circumstances, our attention is shifted away from the hippocampus and focused toward self-preserving behavior about the present moment.”

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Our emotions are very powerful and have a lot of influence over us. Though we might not be able to control how we feel in a new situation completely, being prepared for how we will feel can help. When you start learning Spanish, or start a new Spanish class or anything like that, you will most likely feel nervous, which can get in the way of you acquiring the language. A good thing to remember is that being nervous at first is just part of the process; after a few times you’ll feel more relaxed and comfortable and thus be more able to absorb the language. While language acquisition does take time and effort, it is worth it. A whole world it opened up in which you get to connect with other people and cultures, and you get to meet whatever personal goals you have for your Spanish skills.

If you can find ways to make yourself comfortable, like going to a class with a friend, you can lessen those negative emotions and thus increase your brain’s ability to learn. The more you can practice Spanish in a comfortable environment, the better prepared you’ll be to use it in real life. Find content that you’re familiar with, like a favorite movie, TV show, or book, and interact with it in Spanish. Maybe there is a Spanish version already available, or maybe you do the translation yourself, which is great practice anyway!

Interacting with Spanish in your home, on your own time is a great way to get comfortable and build up to real world application. With Pars Omni Spanish Voices software, you can listen to and customize authentic, native spoken Spanish from the comfort of your computer. This low stakes, controlled environment is a great way to work out your nerves and make real progress in Spanish fluency.

Download Spanish Voices for free today and experience the benefits of learning Spanish in a familiar and accessible environment. You may be nervous at first, but once you see yourself making real progress in speaking and understanding Spanish, I bet you’ll be itching to get out there and use Spanish in your everyday life.


language acquisition, language learning, language practice, learning process, learning Spanish, metacognition

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