Foreign languages: “Nothing to fear but fear itself.”

Warning. This article is not recommended for all readers. Phobophobes and hellenologophobes should refrain from reading further.
When learning a new language, fear can often affect the speed of our progress. As in any new task, it is common to feel a bit uncomfortable and insecure. But just how much does fear influence our performance?
Well, if your fears have turned into phobias, I would say quite a lot. If not, you might still be able to take advantage of the situation and use it as an interesting excuse! The next time your language teacher complains about your test results, try using one of the following language-related phobias as an explanation:

Fear of words: New vocabulary list, anyone? Logophobia is something most of us can relate to, at least to some extent; especially if you´re studying German. Whether it is in the form of onomatophobia, (fear of certain names or words because of their supposed meaning) or sesquipedalophobia (fear of long words), finding “rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz” in one of your German tests without feeling nervous would probably be quite a challenge. But then again, finding “hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia”, sesquipedalophobia´s ironical synonym, wouldn´t make things any easier.

Fear of foreign languages: Yes, there is a clinical name for this. In fact, there is a long list of them. From teutonophobia/teutophobia (fear of the German language) to sinophobia (fear of the Chinese language), the list goes on and on: galiophobia/francophobia, russophobia, polonophobia, italophobia, dutchphobia, anglophobia… well, you get the idea. Depending on the context, these phobias may also refer to the fear of a particular culture and/or of the foreigners themselves. The fear of foreign languages in general is called xenoglossophobia or xenolinguaphobia.

Still haven´t had enough? Here is a small list of other language-related phobias that you might find interesting:

Bibliophobia – fear of reading.
Graphophobia – fear of writing or handwriting.
Scriptophobia – fear of writing in front of others.
Epistolophobia – fear of writing letters to others.
Verbophobia – fear of speaking.
Glossophobia – fear of speaking in public.
Laliophobia / Lalophobia – fear of speaking and possibly stuttering.
Aibofobia – fear of palindromes (yes, “aibofobia” is a palindrome itself).
Hellenophobia – fear of Greek terms or complex scientific terminology.
Phobophobia (not language-related, but just in case you were wondering) – fear of all phobias, except phobophobia.

I hope this article helped you get inspired. Although finding funny excuses is always fun, when it comes to fear, it might be good to remember this phrase:


Do you know any other language-related phobias? Share your comments with us!


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