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Kyra10987

Most difficult part of learning English? (For non-native speakers)

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Is it the speaking? The odd grammar? The pronunciation? What is the most difficult part of English for you?

I'd like to hear the opinions of those who don't have English as a first language. :D

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According to my German teacher in high school, cases such as read (pronounced reed) and read (pronounced red) are very difficult for learners of English. So because of that English (according to her) is one of the harder European languages to learn. She may have said that just to shut us up though.

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in other words,words are not pronounced as they are read (lol)

Not just that. The main issue is that read can be present ("Read this book") or in the past ("I read this book"). On top of that, read and read are spelled the same but pronounced differently. So when a foreign language reader must know what form read is in before he/she can pronounce or understand the sentence. That's just one example.

 

Not explained well I know.

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I believe it's because of the variety of exceptions which are difficult for foreigners to adapt to whilst they don't commonly use the language. For example, Japanese has a few exceptions in the conjugation of adjectives, but those exceptions are used with common words such as "good" or "attractive". Obviously, one would quickly adapt to those simple words. In English, unusual exclusions are found in words such as "oxen" or "octopodes".

Or maybe I could be wrong. It's my first language, after all. That's just what I imagine I would get screwed up with if I were a foreigner learning English.

Edited by Guitarguy

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the fact that there are rules,and exceptions of those rules

Try French, it has exceptions to exceptions. The rules for French grammar are just stupid.

 

Either way for me the biggest hurdle in the English language isn't really any specific rule, just when it's socially acceptable to use certain terms for example: when boy or girl and man or woman are best of being used. Not so much a problem for that example, but there are a lot of other situations where I just feel like I'll end up sounding stupid because I used the wrong term.

 

Fear of not being 'hip' enough I guess. :(

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I like English. It seems so different.

It sounds more like a combination of a few other languages and rules than it does as it's own language.

It does not seem to follow as many (or as similar) patterns and logic as other languages.

 

It is much harder for me to understand by reading or texting

than it is when I can hear and see people speaking it.

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the fact that there are rules,and exceptions of those rules

Try French, it has exceptions to exceptions. The rules for French grammar are just stupid.

 

Either way for me the biggest hurdle in the English language isn't really any specific rule, just when it's socially acceptable to use certain terms for example: when boy or girl and man or woman are best of being used. Not so much a problem for that example, but there are a lot of other situations where I just feel like I'll end up sounding stupid because I used the wrong term.

 

Fear of not being 'hip' enough I guess. :(

So it sounds like the problem is that people don't get enough conversational exposure and try instead to focus on the ridiculous rules and grammar? I suppose it's akin to the difference between taking a Spanish class for a semester and going to live in Spain for a semester: you'll get so much more out of conversing rather than trying to learn all the conjugation exceptions for the pluperfect tense or something weird like that. Maybe people are just going at it wrong; maybe you can't study for a language like you would for biology.

This is definitely the issue.

 

Too many people are taught a language by simply studying vocabulary and learning all the grammar rules and exceptions. While you may end up making a correct sentence it will very likely end up seeming impersonal or just really stiff. The best way to learn a language is through day to day usage of it, reading modern books, watching english television or movies. By doing so you'll create a certain feeling for the language.

 

During my English classes I've noticed that there's always this middle group (between the ones who are almost fluent and the ones who really struggle with it and lack the basics) which will get passing grades and what they say or write will often times be correct to some extent, but it'll still make me cringe when I hear it.

 

I don't think grammar or vocabulary lessons are dispensible, it's just that at a certain point they should no longer be the main focus.

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the fact that the written language has almost nothing to do with the spoken one

adding much more letters tan you pronounce is just being a nice doggy!

 

 

as for exceptions, english has nothing on french or dutch, trust me...

Edited by Egghebrecht

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the fact that the written language has almost nothing to do with the spoken one

adding much more letters tan you pronounce is just being a nice doggy!

 

 

as for exceptions, english has nothing on french or dutch, trust me...

 

It depends on what language family a language belongs to.

 

Someone who speaks German and wants to learn English should be able to learn it easier than other languages and vice versa since they're both Germanic languages.

 

Someone who speaks Japanese and tries to learn English or German will think they're the hardest languages in the world.

 

A language "difficulty" is all based on the structure that you're used to since you're subconsciously going to try and find similar language rules from your native tongue.

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the fact that the written language has almost nothing to do with the spoken one

adding much more letters tan you pronounce is just being a nice doggy!

 

 

as for exceptions, english has nothing on french or dutch, trust me...

 

It depends on what language family a language belongs to.

 

Someone who speaks German and wants to learn English should be able to learn it easier than other languages and vice versa since they're both Germanic languages.

 

Someone who speaks Japanese and tries to learn English or German will think they're the hardest languages in the world.

 

A language "difficulty" is all based on the structure that you're used to since you're subconsciously going to try and find similar language rules from your native tongue.

 

it doesn't make that big a difference wether the languages belong to the same family or not, you just understand more words from the beginning but that's it, dutch, english and german both have different grammar types for example so it gains you nothing

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the fact that the written language has almost nothing to do with the spoken one

adding much more letters tan you pronounce is just being a nice doggy!

 

 

as for exceptions, english has nothing on french or dutch, trust me...

 

It depends on what language family a language belongs to.

 

Someone who speaks German and wants to learn English should be able to learn it easier than other languages and vice versa since they're both Germanic languages.

 

Someone who speaks Japanese and tries to learn English or German will think they're the hardest languages in the world.

 

A language "difficulty" is all based on the structure that you're used to since you're subconsciously going to try and find similar language rules from your native tongue.

 

it doesn't make that big a difference wether the languages belong to the same family or not, you just understand more words from the beginning but that's it, dutch, english and german both have different grammar types for example so it gains you nothing

 

Aye, German grammar is a nice doggy! to understand. :(

 

And it doesn't always help with pronunciation either, I can't pronounce Dutch at all, in fact I'm terrible at a lot of pronunciation, however there are cases where it'd help, like the South Slavic languages. :P

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I like English. It seems so different.

It sounds more like a combination of a few other languages and rules than it does as it's own language.

That is because the language actually is a combination of many other languages.

 

If you ever want to see the origin of a word, do check out http://Etymonline.com

 

If you actually bother to sit down to test words that does not make sense compared to each other, you will quickly discover that they tend to have vastly different backgrounds stemming from certain periods of English/British history. :P

 

Personally, I have never had a problem with learning English as a second language, but that is primarily because a significant portion of my language was copied and incorporated into the English you would experience 1100 years ago. I would imagine that many people that has French as a mother tongue would also see striking familiarities between French and English in terms of vocabulary, not so much in grammar, I would imagine. I will not assume that though, even if I imagine it. I chose German as a third language so I have no clue about French. :P

Edited by Yuanrang

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The exceptions to rules makes English hear ghost being said I learned English in about 3 months when I was 7 but it was easy as I moved to America and was surrounded by English. It is hard for my parents as we are from Ukraine and Russian and English are complete opposites.

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To be honest, I didn't find English particularly difficult because after getting basic lessons about it, I also got surrounded by English-speaking people. It's my second language after Dutch and I'm more fluent in English now. To be honest, I greatly prefer English because Dutch is such a coarse language :P If there was anything really difficult about English for me it was the vocabulary, though as soon as I had to speak English often that was no longer an issue.

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Dutch is such a coarse language
I've never found it that coarse, but keep in mind that my perception of Dutch is heavily influenced by yours truly's adolescence in a place popular with Dutch tourists, and with such an abundance there was a large supply of eye candy that can be summed up as "holy plenty of awesome gazongas, Batman!"

 

That said, I've started learning English a fair bit before being formally taught the language, and as such I can easily make grammar-related mistakes (YOU try and learn correct grammar from Bob Dylan, the Who, Queen, Beatles, etc.). Having already learned an anglo-saxon language (German), probably it's been easier than learning it from scratch. The most difficult part has been - so far - the correct usage of different tenses, which is why I try and keep to those I know. :P Oh, also the fact that you can't leave out the subject because so many tenses are identical. :(

Edited by Arianna

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Dutch is such a coarse language
I've never found it that coarse, but keep in mind that my perception of Dutch is heavily influenced by yours truly's adolescence in a place popular with Dutch tourists, and with such an abundance there was a large supply of eye candy that can be summed up as "holy plenty of awesome gazongas, Batman!"

 

That said, I've started learning English a fair bit before being formally taught the language, and as such I can easily make grammar-related mistakes (YOU try and learn correct grammar from Bob Dylan, the Who, Queen, Beatles, etc.). Having already learned an anglo-saxon language (German), probably it's been easier than learning it from scratch. The most difficult part has been - so far - the correct usage of different tenses, which is why I try and keep to those I know. :P Oh, also the fact that you can't leave out the subject because so many tenses are identical. :(

I think you mean Germanic. English and Scots are the only "Anglo-Saxon" languages. :P

 

I don't find Dutch to be very coarse, I quite like Dutch. The written form doesn't look too hard to learn.

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Dutch is such a coarse language
I've never found it that coarse, but keep in mind that my perception of Dutch is heavily influenced by yours truly's adolescence in a place popular with Dutch tourists, and with such an abundance there was a large supply of eye candy that can be summed up as "holy plenty of awesome gazongas, Batman!"

 

That said, I've started learning English a fair bit before being formally taught the language, and as such I can easily make grammar-related mistakes (YOU try and learn correct grammar from Bob Dylan, the Who, Queen, Beatles, etc.). Having already learned an anglo-saxon language (German), probably it's been easier than learning it from scratch. The most difficult part has been - so far - the correct usage of different tenses, which is why I try and keep to those I know. :P Oh, also the fact that you can't leave out the subject because so many tenses are identical. :(

I think you mean Germanic. English and Scots are the only "Anglo-Saxon" languages. :P

 

I don't find Dutch to be very coarse, I quite like Dutch. The written form doesn't look too hard to learn.

Ah, yes. Anglo-saxon is used colloquially, in Italian, to refer to the lands up north (Germany, Netherlands, English-speaking countries, etc.), which explains my mistake. Another difficult thing to add to the list: "false friends"! :D

 

Example:

DutchEnglishfalsefriend.png

 

In Dutch, "Mommy, (I want) that one, that one, that one. Please.". In English, h*ck yeah matricide

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Dutch is such a coarse language
I've never found it that coarse, but keep in mind that my perception of Dutch is heavily influenced by yours truly's adolescence in a place popular with Dutch tourists, and with such an abundance there was a large supply of eye candy that can be summed up as "holy plenty of awesome gazongas, Batman!"

 

That said, I've started learning English a fair bit before being formally taught the language, and as such I can easily make grammar-related mistakes (YOU try and learn correct grammar from Bob Dylan, the Who, Queen, Beatles, etc.). Having already learned an anglo-saxon language (German), probably it's been easier than learning it from scratch. The most difficult part has been - so far - the correct usage of different tenses, which is why I try and keep to those I know. :P Oh, also the fact that you can't leave out the subject because so many tenses are identical. :(

I think you mean Germanic. English and Scots are the only "Anglo-Saxon" languages. :P

 

I don't find Dutch to be very coarse, I quite like Dutch. The written form doesn't look too hard to learn.

Ah, yes. Anglo-saxon is used colloquially, in Italian, to refer to the lands up north (Germany, Netherlands, English-speaking countries, etc.), which explains my mistake. Another difficult thing to add to the list: "false friends"! :D

 

Example:

DutchEnglishfalsefriend.png

 

In Dutch, "Mommy, (I want) that one, that one, that one. Please.". In English, h*ck yeah matricide

:xd: Oh dear, in my German class one of the girls (there were only two) kept pronouncing "die" as "die" rather than "de", which was half annoying and half funny.

 

I know in Denmark, my Danish friends don't like the term Germanic very much as they thing that Germanic just means German, which is wrong, and then some refuse to admit that Scandinavians are Germanic people.

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Dutch is such a coarse language
I've never found it that coarse, but keep in mind that my perception of Dutch is heavily influenced by yours truly's adolescence in a place popular with Dutch tourists, and with such an abundance there was a large supply of eye candy that can be summed up as "holy plenty of awesome gazongas, Batman!"

 

That said, I've started learning English a fair bit before being formally taught the language, and as such I can easily make grammar-related mistakes (YOU try and learn correct grammar from Bob Dylan, the Who, Queen, Beatles, etc.). Having already learned an anglo-saxon language (German), probably it's been easier than learning it from scratch. The most difficult part has been - so far - the correct usage of different tenses, which is why I try and keep to those I know. :P Oh, also the fact that you can't leave out the subject because so many tenses are identical. :(

I think you mean Germanic. English and Scots are the only "Anglo-Saxon" languages. :P

 

I don't find Dutch to be very coarse, I quite like Dutch. The written form doesn't look too hard to learn.

It's not that Dutch is a bad language in any way, it just lacks something that English has. I cannot listen to any form of Dutch lyrics, because it seems to be impossible to not make the sound off in one way or another. English doesn't have that. But maybe that's just me.

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