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March 27, 2014

English as a foreign language is one of the hardest to learn. The small nuances in speech, the seemingly unlimited number of grammar rules, and the amount of synonyms each word has all add up to why learning English is so difficult.

Students who are just now starting to learn the language can feel inundated by the amount of grammar rules English speakers have put into place. Word placement is one of the hardest things to understand. Most languages have little to no strenuous rules on placement. However, in English, a simple statement could be misconstrued as a question if the ordering is wrong. People learning English as a foreign language also have to learn the complex system of irregular verbs, how they are spelled, and when they change. It’s easy to get lost.

Spoken English produces its own challenges as well. There are countless sounds that are not present in many other languages. Spelling also affects this, as there are very little indicators of how a word may sound. The tone and placement of emphasis native speakers use throw many students off. Tone in the English language conveys different meanings than what is being said, such as in sarcasm or when being dramatic. There are also problems when making statements into questions, such as when saying, “It is good?” Transitioning from strictly reading to speaking is hard for many, as written words cannot convey the tone and emphasis of spoken words.Learning English - The Hard Language Truths, American Language Communication Center

Synonyms may come naturally to native speakers, but those learning English as a foreign language do not understand that some words can be used to replace others while some may not. English has borrowed words from throughout the world and therefore has a complex system of synonyms.

 


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