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Both teachers and students do get consumed with English being all about words, but the truth is it is all about communication, and the way we communicate really has nothing to do with the language we choose to speak in. Saying that we could say that if we don’t know the language our communication is impossible. So what are we talking about when we refer to ‘the words getting in the way’.
Anyone who has listened to a language learner splutter their way through a sentence to try to say something, can realise the pain involved, not just from the language learner but to even try to understand what the person is saying can require a lot of patience. But as a baby learns to walk, and constantly falls down and learns that they have to pick themselves up again to get to where they are going – so too does a language learner have to falter and repair themselves. The ultimate comparison here is as an adult we never question our walking ability (as the baby does), we just assume the legs will work on demand and we will be able to get somewhere, so too will the language learner find out when their language proficiency reaches a certain point. There will be no question that the communication can be done reliably and perfectly in English, because that is your vehicle of choice.
When words get in the way is referring to too any worries about grammar, vocabulary, social norms, correct etiquette and turns of phrase (idioms) that are particular to what you want to project. The point is that the more you worry about these things, the more these things become obstacles to communication.
The ultimate key for any language learner is to not even know they are speaking in English or even worry that they are speaking it correctly or not, the goal is to be sure that you have communicated what you want.