“Fake it ’til you make it” is THE motto to adopt no matter what language you’re learning! You might have reached a point where you feel like you’re not able to express yourself in conversation as well as you’d like. How can you get around this feeling, called imposter syndrome? Here are a few tips you can use to become a fearless, confident speaker. Convince the people around you—and yourself—that you can speak your target language!
If you’d rather listen to this article, check out our podcast episode on MosaLingua Language Lab:
“How to Fake It Til You Make It”: 4 Tips to Get Over Imposter Syndrome
If you’ve already watched any of Luca’s videos, you might know that psychology is an important part of language learning. Often, when people are learning a new language, they experience what’s known as “imposter syndrome.” This can be a feeling that you don’t belong, that you’re incapable, or that everyone around you is better than you.
Of course, this is a totally inaccurate conception. But imposter syndrome is a real psychological phenomenon that can get in the way of language learning and practice. Luckily, there’s a good solution to help offset this feeling that you’re not good enough: pretend you are! This is the whole idea behind “fake it ’til you make it.” All you need to do is act like you’re confident in your language skills. Eventually, you won’t have to pretend anymore!
There are scientific studies showing that your body handles stress more easily if you smile during difficult tasks. By putting on a happy and relaxed expression, you can trick your brain into thinking that you actually are happy and relaxed! Pretty incredible, huh? So, if you convince yourself that you’re confident in your ability and that you’re capable of learning a new language, you’ve got a good chance of making that confidence become a reality. Act like you’re sure of yourself, even if you’re scared or nervous on the inside.
So, how can you simulate confidence? Here are a few tips to make it seem like you speak your target language well.
Tip #1: Learn full sentences to convincingly fake it ’til you make it
We use this trick in the MosaLingua App. Instead of focusing on individual words, we like to teach whole sentences whenever we can. This makes it easier for you to put them to use right away.
This way, you’re not as tied to knowing all the ins and outs of grammar in order to use a language correctly. With this trick, you’ll be able to speak clearly and precisely. What’s more, your mistakes will be less noticeable if you’re able to get a whole sentence out without hesitation. Here’s an example:
“Yesterday, I eat… no, ‘eaten.’ Just a minute… ‘eated pizza.'”
“Yesterday, I eated pizza.”
So maybe you made a mistake and said “I eated” instead of “I ate.” But in these two examples, the person you’re talking to is going to focus on two different things. In the first case, they’ll observe that you’re struggling to remember the right conjugation of the verb. In the second case, they’ll move on and wonder what kind of pizza you ate.
Tip #2: Work on your accent
Having a limited vocabulary but excellent pronunciation is a great way to boost your confidence and your motivation. Lots of people are hesitant to imitate the accent of the language they’re learning. They might be afraid to look silly or to come off like an imposter. But actually, if you work on mastering tricky sounds (like the Spanish rolled “R”), and try to pronounce words like a native speaker, the people you talk to won’t have to work as hard to understand your accent and will understand you better.
When you learn whole sentences and expressions, be sure to listen to a native speaker’s pronunciation. It’s good to know how to pronounce each word individually. It’s even better to know how to link them together and have a natural intonation.
Tip #3: Enrich your vocabulary with logical connectors
Speaking of links, connecting words are also super important. Adding a few logical connecting words and filler words to your vocabulary (even if it is limited) can give the impression that you’re comfortable speaking the language. For example, if you’re talking about your hobbies, you could say “I like to swim. I go to the pool often.” But it would sound even more natural and conversational if you said, “I like to swim, so I go to the pool often.” Here, simply adding the word “so” makes your sentence more complex and more interesting.
Your spoken communication will be much richer if you learn how to use a few connecting words well.
Tip #4: Learn different ways to say “what” when you don’t understand
When you’re learning a new language, there are sure to be times when you don’t understand everything, even once you’ve reached an advanced level. It’s often better to stop and clarify instead of just nodding your head. So, to keep from feeling like you’re repeating yourself, it can be beneficial to learn a few different ways to express that you don’t understand. If you can ask someone to repeat themselves five different ways, they might not notice how many times you need them to rephrase.
Watch my video about this if you’d like to learn a few English expressions like, “Say again…” or “What’s that…?” These are also available on your MosaLingua app.
Now you know why the motto “Fake it ’til you make it” can be a useful strategy for language learners. Of course, faking it won’t get you very far if you’re not actively putting in the work to improve your skills, even for just a few minutes a day.
Abbe Shows How to Fake It Til You Make It in This Video
You can watch Abbe talk about all these tips in our video on YouTube, or down below. The video is in English, but you can turn on subtitles by clicking on the Settings gear at the bottom right. You can also slow down the playback speed (again, just click on the gear).
Take Your Skills to the Next Level…
Does this subject interest you?
- Check out our video about how to break through the intermediate-level plateau and become an advanced speaker.
- Learn how to overcome obstacles and speak more confidently.
- And start a free trial of MosaSpeak, the Speak with Confidence MasterClass if you want to learn all of our tips and tricks about developing a great accent and pronunciation, reaching fluency, and actually enjoying speaking a foreign language.
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