Everyone who ever tried to learn a new language at some point in their life knows that learning some new words, getting familiar with the letters and reading once in a while – that’s a piece of cake. The real challenge is speaking. Spoken Hebrew can be quite scary but with the right guidance you could conquer the language!
Why is speaking so scary?
While reading and learning vocabulary is something that you can do by yourself in the comfort of your own bedroom, speaking requires an actual conversation with another human being. The thing about speaking in a new language is that it’s way out of our comfort zone. We are not used to feeling this uncomfortable while doing the most regular thing in the world, which is just talking, and the fear of making some kind of a mistake while speaking can really put us down. There is an actual term for it that is called “Foreign language anxiety”! It comes mostly from the fear of looking silly or awkward while saying something incorrectly, but most of the time it’s a bigger issue in our head than in real life. Most people won’t even remember they corrected you during a conversion. Even if you are being corrected, remember that it’s for your own benefit and can help you with the learning process. And yes, you can obviously just speak with yourself but don’t expect the same results!
How can I overcome the fear of speaking Hebrew?
Just like with any other fear – just do it. You can start by reading Hebrew online, gathering some vocabulary that you are comfortable with, and repeating some keywords that you think you might use a lot in a daily conversation. Another thing that you can do before engaging in a conversation in Hebrew is to say a little disclaimer to the person you are talking to, and say that you are currently learning Hebrew and you might get a few words wrong. You will feel much more comfortable with your speech and the other person will know to go easy on you, and maybe even teach you something new (probably cuss words. Israelis LOVE to pass forward their cuss words). Try even to tell a story in Hebrew. It will practice your monulouge skills, and it will even be easier for you to have small talks later on.
How can I practice speaking Hebrew?
If you are not ready yet to jump into the Hebrew water- that’s ok! There are other ways to start speaking Hebrew easily. One of the most comfortable ways for people is language learning course. And it’s even better when it’s a group course like we have here in Citizen Cafe. Because what is a better way to learn than being in a room (or in a video call) with people who are just as confused as you are!? Learning with people who are also having trouble with spoken Hebrew, could really benefit you all as you gain confidence while speaking to each other without the fear of being judged, because you are all on the same boat. During the class you will get the chance to tell each other some kind of a story in Hebrew and will learn skills and ideas to own the language like it was your mother’s tongue!
The most important part is trusting yourself. Learning a new language could be a challenge but it’s totally worth it! If you ever need additional support with your Hebrew learning process, we in Citizen Cafe will be happy to offer you our help and figure out together how we can make Hebrew super easy for you!