Hey there! This is TOP episode 113. I Get Tired Speaking English!

My name’s Ola and I am an English teacher. My goal is to help you start speaking English with confidence and get rid of speaking barriers. I believe it is achievable for you and it’s time you started speaking English fearlessly! Go to my website for full transcripts and worksheets to each episode. Happy learning! 

Hello again, welcome back, I’m so glad you’re here because being here you’re telling me that English matters to you and you make no joke about it. You’re a pro because you show up. That’s the difficult part. But you’re here and this is already a success. Today we’re talking about whether it’s normal that after speaking English or learning it for some time you feel tired. Drained. Shouldn’t speaking be easy? I’m not tired when I speak my native language, what’s wrong with me? How come I feel knackered after using English? Sometimes it feels like my brain wants to explode! Well, if this is you, you gotta stay with me. We’ll fix this mistaken notion of yours!

I do hope I can help you here. If you feel like you’d like to support my work please tell somebody about the Teacher Ola Podcast and share this episode somewhere on your social media platforms if possible. I have no sponsors, no patron, no adverts, it’s all run organically. Be my ambassador and let someone know. You can also subscribe if you haven’t yet. Become a member of TOPeople, receive worksheets right to your inbox. Go to teacherola.com/newsletter. 

Now I’m working on a set of worksheets for those of you who value your time and prefer to have 30 worksheets as a set all together with the key and a checklist in one place. Subscribe at teacherola.com/newsletter and I’ll let you know when it’s ready. 

Ok, now, being tired of speaking English. That’s today’s topic, and let me briefly tell you what’s in it for you. I’ll tell you a little story, something that got me thinking a few years ago and was an inspiration for this episode. Next, we’ll figure out what language fatigue is. What are two kinds of speaking tiredness and how to cope with each of them? Finally, today especially, saying sentences out loud. I picked 10 sentences from this episode and offer you those sentences as practice. 

Say the sentences out loud, exaggerate, overdo them, that’s ok, we’re exercising our lips, tongues, muscles. Let’s jump right in!

I remember vividly one situation with one student. It was when I used to work hybrid, yes I’ve always been a bit kind of ahead of trends, hah. I used to visit some of my students at their homes and additionally I had classes online, but just a few. Anyways, Karolina, my beautiful student, beautiful person, beautiful personality, and tells me this:

‘After speaking with someone for a few hours I feel drained. I’m so tired I think my brain has had enough. I need a rest, I need to switch to Polish I need a nap! That’s so not normal. It’s just talking, isn’t it? It’s just a conversation! It should be effortless. People speak English all their days, their lives and they are not tired at the end of the day. I speak Polish and I’m fine! Something’s wrong with me, it shouldn’t be like that.’ The end of the quote. 

What did I say back then, years ago I’ve no idea, probable I just nodded my head away, it sounded sensible, didn’t it? Still, something she had said was sort of alarming. Like, I had a feeling something she’d said was not entirely true. Well, now I think everything happens for a reason. If she hadn’t said that and if I hadn’t given it a lot of thought if I hadn’t thought it through, I’m positive I wouldn’t be speaking to you right now. Karolina thank you, if you’re listening, I love you and thank you for being open about your concerns. By the way, if you have some lessons go ahead and ask him or her anything. I mean, teachers have experience, I teach about five persons per day that gives me a lot of data. Ask your teacher whatever worries you. Even if the teacher doesn’t know the answer, your question will probably be answered someday. One way or another.

What is language fatigue? Basically, it’s the feeling of being tired after speaking English for some time. The symptoms of such fatigue include headache, sometimes you feel like your head is pounding. Additionally, your speech apparatus seems to be exhausted. Your tongue, your lips hurt. As you can see there are two groups of symptoms. Mental and physical. 

Let’s focus on mental difficulties, mental tiredness first. 

The brain needs to adapt to new connections, a new way of thinking, it’s not an easy process. It’s like with any of your muscles. First when you start exercising you need to overcome that pain, that barrier before you start enjoying those workouts. Your brain gets tired, it’s a tricky task, or I should rather say the complex composition of tasks. When you’re having a conversation you have to be focused 100%. You need to understand the words, translate, access vocabulary and form sentences. 

Additionally, you are analysing the body language and other sub communication. Your brain gets a workout while trying to pull the conversation in a foreign language off. Let’s not forget the stress, the process is also engaging emotionally. The frustration of not being able to express yourself kicks in. Can you relate? And most importantly what do you do when this kind of tiredness kicks in? Do you give up, have a rest? 

Well, unfortunately, gosh I would love to tell you it’s ok to give in and take care of yourself and be a good parent. Yeah yeah, but a good one knows that every action has consequences. If you decide to proceed with the conversation despite your fatigue the next time it’s gonna be less severe. Face facts, if you decide to give up, it’s gonna get you later. Ok? So the solution is to push it through! 

The second thing is physical pain. It happens that after a few hours of speaking English your mouth gets very tired and you feel exhausted. That’s great because that means you are putting in work. You make an effort to pronounce foreign sounds. You are doing the work. You are talking. 

What’s the solution here? I think you guessed it. What you need now is to speak more. Speak as often as you can and in longer turns. Again, there’s really little difference between speaking and exercising. These are muscles that need to learn how to pronounce new sounds, consonant clusters smoothly, automatically, without effort. 

Look at people speaking English in a film, or youtube and compare it with people speaking Polish. The speakers of Polish don’t open their mouths that much. There’s little rhythm to it as well. 

Speaking English is more engaging. Do you get me? Look, open vowel sounds, long sounds, you really need to open your mouth to produce those sounds effectively. You don’t wanna sound as if you were mumbling. 

Secondly, consonant clusters. Moreover, many words in English end with a consonant sound. So you need to pronounce endings mindfully. ‘Th’ sound! And other sounds which we don’t have in our mother tongue. 

These are completely new constructs for our poor lips and poor tongues. Once again, practice, practice, and then practice some more. 

Do you know what can really help here? Apart from speaking out loud to yourself, and others? Shadowing. There’s an episode on shadowing, please find it, it’s episode 25. And! You can read out loud! You can watch people speaking and then copying them. Imitating technique. So we have, speaking, shadowing, reading, imitating. All these exercises are excellent for your mouth. 

To sum up. I need to say it again, it’s that important.  My suggestion is don’t stop speaking when you feel you’re overwhelmed. At that particular moment, it hits you, push through it. If this happened to you while exercising I bet your trainer would say the same thing. Keep going. Don’t stop now. Push it through. Build up that strength you need to carry on. Yeah I know, this solution might not tickle your fancy. It might sound better if I said yeah you know, just give yourself a break, be good to yourself, it’s ok to rest more and all that kind of stuff but that wouldn’t serve you in the end, you know? Because that fatigue would still hit you, would batter you even worse. Each time you slog through that resistance, that tiredness you put yourself in a better position for the next time. Every next occasion to speak for a longer period is gonna be less severe. At one point you stop feeling it at all. Well, that’s my advice for you today. I know it’s not popular, but hey, nobody said it was easy right? I’m here to tell the truth. So, yea. That’s all I have today, so let’s move on to the practical part.

Listen and repeat. 

Shouldn’t speaking be easy?

How come I feel knackered after using English?

After speaking with someone for a few hours I feel drained.

One way or another.

If you decide to proceed with the conversation despite your fatigue the next time it’s gonna be less severe. 

You don’t wanna sound as if you were mumbling.

All these exercises are excellent for your mouth. 

Build up that strength you need to carry on.

Each time you slog through that resistance, that tiredness you put yourself in a better position for the next time.

I know, this solution might not tickle your fancy.

Well done! Now, download the worksheet I’ve sent you today and complete the worksheet with translations. If you’re not a member of TOPeople download the worksheet at teacherola.com/113 and become one. It’s free. 

If you find this episode useful, tell your friends about this podcast and thank you so much fr doing so!

Thanks for listening and I’ll see you next Wednesday! We’re going to discuss the lyrics of one song which has become viral on TikTok. Be here next week!  Happy learning. Take care! Stay fearless and say it out loud! Bye!