29 Dec Why is English Hard to Learn(Last Updated On: December 29, 2020)
The English Language:
English is a West Germanic language that is spoken all over the world. Although the number of native English speakers is not very high, it is spoken by millions as their second language. As a Germanic language, it shares a close connection with German and Dutch. It has also been influenced by Latin, Spanish, and French. It works as the lingua franca of the world because whenever two people meet who don’t know each other’s native language, they can communicate in English.
English has become important in every walk of life. It is the most spoken language in all of the industries. Although product labels and user guides are translated into different languages, their primary language is often English. Interestingly, there are only 379 million native speakers of English. But more than a billion people speak English. Knowing this language opens a lot of doors for people. In today’s world, people cannot make a lot of progress without knowing the English language.
Learning a Foreign Language:
In a multilingual world, remaining monolingual will limit your thinking. It will keep you from understanding the culture and perspective of other people. It will also limit your options in the corporate world. If you are bilingual, you can easily work in a foreign country. A lot of people study a foreign language in school or college. But studying a second language is not the same as becoming fluent in it. In order to communicate with others in their native language, students will have to achieve fluency in it. And for that, simply studying a tongue is not enough.
Millions of people around the world take language lessons. The majority of them are learners of English. They have to learn the rules of English grammar as well as English pronunciation. Once they do, they can get a job in any western country. They can also work as an English teacher in their homeland and teach the language to non-native speakers. In any case, an English learner will get access to better opportunities than those who cannot speak English.
Why is English So Hard to Learn?
For the speakers of Germanic and Romance languages, learning English will not be very difficult. All of these languages have similar alphabets. There are also plenty of common words in the vocabulary of these languages. But if you speak Mandarin, Hindi, or Arabic, you will find it very difficult to achieve fluency in English. There are many features of English that make it unique and impossible to understand for non-natives.
English is seemingly a very simple language but for some people achieving fluency in it can take years. So, why is English hard to learn? What are the features of this tongue that makes it confusing for non-native speakers? Here are some factors that explain why English is a difficult language to learn:
- English is an Indo-European language, but it has undergone many changes throughout its history. It has not only influenced other tongues but has also adopted many loanwords from different languages. The English of today is a combination of dozens of different Indo-European languages.
- English spellings can be very confusing at times. The baffling spelling system can make the pronunciation of words difficult for both natives and non-natives. There are silent letters in the English alphabet that can appear anywhere in a word. Along with foreign accents, the spellings of certain words are also different in different countries, which can further confuse the students of the English language.
- English grammar has many rules, but so does every other language. What makes English unique is that there are numerous exceptions to almost all of the grammar rules. You will have to spend a long time learning the rules and then practice regularly to familiarize yourself with the exceptions.
- English has various national and regional dialects. Since it is spoken all over the world, it has the highest number of regional dialects. It is possible that a speaker of the tongue may not be able to understand the people of a particular English-speaking country. The accents can be quite confusing in certain countries. These regional differences make English one of the hardest languages in the world.
- English pronunciation is different everywhere it is spoken. So, a student of the language will find the different pronunciation rules confusing. However, a very simple solution to this is to learn the pronunciation of the country you plan on moving to. For instance, if you are moving to the US, you should learn American English.
- Phrasal verbs are verbs whose meaning changes when a small word is added to them. They can slow down the learning process of those who want to become fluent in English.
- As if the spellings, accents, and grammar rules were not enough, the idiomatic expressions were added to English. Idiomatic expressions are used everywhere from literature to common speech. So, a person cannot learn English if they are not familiar with all the common idiomatic expressions.
- There are only five vowels in the English alphabet, but they can be very confusing at times. The pronunciation of vowels changes frequently. The pronunciation of vowels can be different even in two similar words. This can make your English lessons even more confusing.
- English prepositions are another thing that students of the language find difficult to understand. It can be especially hard for people to figure out how to use the directional and positional prepositions.
- There are also certain unwritten rules in English. Only a subtle difference in the sentence order can make it sound incorrect. English language learners have to practice regularly to become familiar with such rules.
What’s the Right Way to Study English?
Every language is difficult in one way or the other. If you want to study a foreign tongue, you will have to stay motivated and practice regularly. Whether you want to work on your English skills or you are starting from scratch, there’s a right way to go about the learning process. It is true that English can be confusing, but there are also many aspects of it that are very simple. For instance, verb conjugation is not as difficult in English as it is in other languages. An English student can understand the conjugation rules with a little practice. If you want to become fluent in English, here’s what you can do:
- Join English classes. It is true that studying a language alone will not be very useful, but it is important to learn the rules. You can’t start practicing your skills without learning the basic rules.
- Get an English dictionary and consult it often. You can keep on working on your vocabulary throughout your life. The best way to do that is to consult a dictionary often. Nowadays, you can also download a dictionary app on your phone and learn the pronunciation as well as the spelling of a word.
- Practice your English writing skills as frequently as you can. You can start a journal or practice writing a short story. Even if you can give five to ten minutes to writing every day, it will improve your grasp of the language.
- Study with friends. If you can get your friends to learn English with you, the process will become easier for you. This way, you can even start a competition with friends and test each other’s knowledge on a regular basis.
- Consume media in English. Watch English TV shows and movies so you can begin to understand people’s speech when they are talking quickly. Watch news channels to learn new words.
Find a native speaking partner. Communicate with them so they can point out your mistakes and help you improve your speaking skills