Written by: Olivera Tolimir
Do you break out in cold sweat when trying to pronounce ćevapčići?
Do you feel dizzy trying to remember whether you’re supposed to say you’re iz Australije, iz Australiju, or iz Australija?
Wordly, are you anxious when trying to speak Serbian? Fear not! We’ve prepared a list of five Serbian lessons for beginners for anxious students.
It’ll help you make learning Serbian feel like a breeze! So, make yourself a coffee, sit comfortably, breathe deeply a few times, and start your relaxation journey!
Social Networks Are Your Friends
Have you heard how the internet and social networks are shortening our concentration span? How they’re making us less focused and more prone to procrastination?
Well, it’s not that we disagree completely. When used uncontrollably, social networks can be dangerous. But imagine this situation: you’re starting to learn a new language, and the idea of opening a textbook and memorizing: good afternoon, how are you, where are you from, makes you mind-numbingly bored. On the other hand, talking to a native speaker to make the learning stimulating makes you freeze from anxiety. So now what?
Now, you use your favorite social network! There, you can find a lot of quality Serbian lessons for beginners that’ll mix both things you need. It won’t be dull like a textbook because there’s a lot of video content, carrousels, quizzes, etc. Also, it’s interactive. You have time to think and then write an answer. And even if you make a mistake, no one, except the person who made the content, will know it! As you can see, these kinds of Serbian lessons for beginners are a win-win for anxious students.
Sing Serbian Songs
We’ve already written two blog posts (check out the first one here and the second one here) in which we explained crucial grammatical postulates through popular Serbian songs. But listening to Serbian songs is convenient for many other reasons:
- You’ll learn many colloquial phrases, which will boost your confidence as soon as you decide to speak with Serbian natives. The reason for better confidence is we’re often afraid not to sound natural enough in a foreign language. You know, you’ve learned all the grammatical rules but still sound a bit like a robot. Well, no more! Serbian popular songs are filled with everyday phrases.
- It’s fun! Do you know what’s often not? Standard Serbian lessons for beginners. For anxious students, it can be a devastating experience to study, study, study, and then freeze the first time when trying to use their knowledge. That’s why fun is crucial. When you learn by singing every day, there won’t be the feeling of I studied so hard, and now I don’t know anything, so maybe I should quit. Since you’ve already turned learning into a fun activity, making a mistake isn’t the worst thing to happen! You’ll make (another) joke out of it and listen to more music to make you feel better!
- It’ll make you a part of the group. Have you ever felt like you don’t belong to a squad because you share no interests whatsoever? To avoid feeling that again, you should find some common topics with your Serbian friends. Music can be one of them. Forget about boring standard Serbian lessons. For beginner’s level of knowledge that they expect from you, your friends will be thrilled that you can sing along at parties (if singing among people is too much for you, don’t worry – they’ll be fascinated you recognize the songs at all).
Find a Relaxed Teacher
It may sound like a no-brainer, but pay attention to the Serbian teacher you choose. There are many great professionals out there! But they’re not all perfect for you. For example, many teachers with a lot of experience in elementary school might be accustomed to being strict. And that’s a great thing. It means they have the authority and profound knowledge.
But if you’re anxious about making a mistake and choose a strict tutor, it might cause you a block. You might even give up your Serbian lessons. For beginners (especially adult beginners), it’s significant that a teacher understands that sometimes, there are more important things than a Serbian lesson (a sick child, stress at work, family issues). You don’t want someone to bother you about canceling a single class. Of course, be sure to inform your Serbian teacher on time!
Celebrate the Progress
When you’re trying to speak Serbian and get anxious, you might feel like nothing is worth it, since you stand there and can’t remember how to say an everyday word, such as a fridge.
Well, you might not be able to recall the word for fridge, but what can you remember? Remind yourself that, for example, two weeks ago, you weren’t familiar with any furniture in Serbian.
Celebrate how far you’ve come, don’t focus on what you’re not so good at yet. The key word here is yet. Always remember that you started from zero, and now you know so many words and expressions! Same way, you’ll become better each day if you’re consistent!
You don’t even need everyday Serbian lessons! For beginners, it’s much better not to overwhelm themselves. Instead, try listening to a few Serbian songs, or make a shopping list in Serbian on days you don’t have the lessons.
Real Serbian Lessons for Beginners and Some General Relaxation Techniques
All previous pieces of advice are great for reducing your anxiety when speaking Serbian. Lessons for beginners with a real Serbian teacher can also be helpful, because a Serbian teacher is the best person to help you work on your pain points.
Some anxiety-reducing exercises aren’t directly connected to the Serbian lessons for beginners (or even advanced students). They’re general relaxation techniques that might help in the case of learning Serbian, too.
For example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, try deep breathing, focus on positive thoughts (“I’m not in real danger even if I make a mistake”), and relax your muscles. Before you come into a situation that causes you anxiety, try meditation, yoga, or other light exercises to help you relax.