The Mezzofanti Guild Language Learning Made Simple
Podcasts   /   Episode #19

[Ep. #19] Crippling Anxiety And Language Learning

Anxiety for me has always been a problem but seems to be getting worse as I get older.

In this episode, I talk about it and how it affects my language learning. I also go into strategies I use to overcome severe performance anxiety.


  • Even in my strongest language (Arabic), I suffer performance anxiety.
  • Performance anxiety is what causes us to panic in job interviews and sports.
  • I had a recent experience in Arabic where I experienced the worst ‘anxiety’ moment I’ve ever had and it made no sense to me.
  • You can’t really “get rid of” performance anxiety – you just have to manage it effectively.
  • Accept that you won’t get better unless you just do it.
  • Be prepared and it’ll help a lot.
  • You’ll probably never see the person you’re talking to again (and if you do, who cares?)
  • Reclusiveness is not an option.
  • Embrace sloppiness.
  • Stay in control of the conversation.
  • Nobody is going to make fun of you.

Related blog post:

I went into detail about my experience battling anxiety here.

Resource: I recommend italki for lessons and conversation practice in the comfort of your own home.

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Donovan Nagel
Donovan Nagel
I'm an Applied Linguistics graduate, teacher and translator with a passion for language learning (especially Arabic) and simplifying language learning.
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