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Svetlana Erozgen

Xenophobia as an Obstacle to Learning or Speaking a Foreign Language

One of the reasons for foreign language anxiety is suppressed xenophobia to the culture of the native speakers.

Hostility to foreigners is based on an ancient defense mechanism – the desire to preserve the integrity and inviolability of oneself and one’s kind.

“Strangers”, “foreigners”, “others”, “them” are perceived as a source of potential danger and evil.

These prejudices are unjustifiably negative attitudes towards a group or its individual members based on distorted and incorrect generalizations.

The brain refuses to be “like those strangers” from speaking “their” language and becoming one of “them”.

Recently, the word xenophobia has often been used as a synonym for racism or nationalism, which is criticized in the society and thus so difficult to admit.

This also includes sexism, homophobia, religious prejudices, ageism, lookism, dislike for people with disabilities, some kind of occupation, etc.

To discover it deep inside and admit is it to take the first step to breaking free from the stereotypes and learning a foreign language.

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