English is the most learned language in the world because it is the worldwide language of commerce, science, and academia. There are people who have learned English as their second language and native English speakers worldwide, which means that English is spoken by almost a quarter of the world’s population.
English is a very difficult language to master, despite its importance in world affairs and trade. The language has many broken grammatical rules, an alphabet that might be confusing to anyone who is used to a character-based system, and spelling and pronunciation inconsistencies that even native speakers find perplexing.
Why English is Hard to Learn?
Here are some of the grammatical anomalies that make English difficult to master for non-native speakers, and why it’s still advisable to seek further assistance when learning English (or any other foreign language) in your business or organisation.
- Words with the identical spelling might be pronounced in a different way. Context and parts of speech are extremely important in English pronunciation. The same word (“present”) appears twice in sentences like “It’s time to present her the present,” yet each time is pronounced differently (pree-ZENT and PREZ-ent). Non-native speakers may struggle to recall which pronunciation to use at what moment in both speaking and reading. It’s useful to remember that words with the same spelling often have a verb and a noun form (“produce and produce,” “present and present,” and “record and record”), with the noun form stressing the first syllable and the verb form stressing the second syllable.
- Non-native speakers may find it difficult to recall all of the exceptions to the norms in English spelling and grammar. The best answer is to memorise irregular verbs and irregular spellings, which can only be achieved via practice and frequent exposure to the language.
- Spanish, Korean, and Japanese have varied verb conjugations depending on the formality of the language. Because the English language does not have a direct counterpart, some non-native learners and speakers may consider it “too casual.” Formal, semi-formal, and casual levels of formality in English are dependent on vocabulary rather than a particular tense or verb conjugation, which can be difficult for foreign speakers to adjust to when speaking English in the office or other professional situations.
- The English language is not supposed to be taken literally in every instance. Idioms, metaphors, and other figurative languages in English can be perplexing to a new speaker. Idioms, like irregular verbs, need memory and practice.
- American English is distinct from British English, which is distinct from Australian English. Dialects can differ even among regions and countries. To refer to the second person plural form, someone from the southern United States could say “y’all” (short for “you all”), although most other sections of the country would just say “you.” The American word “toilet” becomes the English word “loo,” while the “garbage” becomes the “rubbish.” Non-native speakers are often taught one of the “mainstream” dialects, but depending on the situation, they may need to adapt to a different dialect to communicate with the right audience.
- If you are a native English speaker, you’ll recognise the word order right away. Beginners have a hard time comprehending this well. It’s tough to explain why words are arranged in a logical order. Moreover, distinguishing between a right and unfitting order might be obscure at times. It’s hard to describe how the word order influences the overall tone. You can say “a charming tiny cup,” but “a tiny charming cup” does not sound good. Although it may be grammatically acceptable, the way it sounds makes a minor difference in the delivery. Native speakers, for example, have an instinctive understanding of the language’s intricacies.
- Learning English is challenging in many ways, including spelling. The learner must also deal with issues of pronunciation. In certain languages, such as Spanish, the words are spoken exactly as they are written. There are various ways to pronounce words with almost identical letter combinations in English, such as through, bough, rough, and trough. Silent letters can also be found at the start, middle, and end of some words.
- The style a speaker emphasises or stresses a phrase or words causes variations in the meaning subtly. The meaning of a sentence diverges dramatically each time the focus is placed on a different term. It is often simpler to pick up the intended idea when the emphasis is fairly evident. However, there are situations when the emphasis isn’t clear, which might lead to confusion. Emphasizing a single word is a common way to convey emotion.
- In addition to the aforementioned, homophones appear in the English language. These are words that are written the same way but have various meanings due to differences in pronunciation. This is a challenging concept for English learners to comprehend.
- Many English words, such as see and watch, have the same meaning. However, swapping them is not always possible. It is OK to say “see or view a movie” or “watch television,” but never “see television,” as the word does not sound correct. To make things more complex, when you watch TV or a movie, you’re not considered a “watcher,” but a “viewer,” which has a whole different meaning. You can’t say “view television,” but you may say “viewer of television.”
Several factors make learning English tough and perplexing. It is tough to understand its grammatical structure, spelling, meanings, and rules that contradict established rules. However, keep in mind that the scenario is the same for English speakers learning a foreign language. What matters is your passion to study and your commitment to mastering the fundamental rules. Although learning English is difficult, numerous languages are more difficult to master than English. Download the Entri app to make your English language learning process easier.