Wednesday 20 March 2019
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4 Reasons English is hard to Learn as a Second Language

Many people who come to the United States from another country are racked with great difficulty as they try to learn the English language. As a matter of fact, English can be quite difficult to learn, thanks to its layered complexity. For example, the English language has Germanic roots but also adopts cognates from the Romance languages too; not to mention the many different slang variations.

There are about 360 million people in the world who speak English as their native tongue and, interestingly enough, about 500 million who speak English as their second language.  The proficiency by which people all over the world speak English is a big reason why it is the most commonly used language among international business circles even though it is only the third most commonly spoken language, globally.

Foreign natives who learn English, even though excellent Institut Linguistique schools, often experience the same difficulties. Again, English can be difficult to learn because of its complexity. Here are a few of the shared difficulties non-native speakers encounter when learning the English language:

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Admittedly, many native English speakers are not too keen on grammar but when you study things like sentence structure, syntax, punctuation, and other grammar rules, it is easy to see why it is so hard to understand.  Proper English grammar can be pretty tricky for someone who does not speak English naturally, especially in conversation.


Another difficulty non-native speaker’s encounter when learning to speak English is vocabulary. While verb conjugations, variations, and verb tense, alone, can be complicated, English can be hard because it borrows word roots from several language classes throughout history.  


Between the Queen’s English and American English, there is a lot of slang and colloquialism to wade through.  Proper English is one thing, but most people who speak English do so in some kind of dialect.  This makes it extremely hard for people who are new to the language to follow conversations, as they might get caught up on words or terms or phrases that they have not heard in any class or other conversational experience.


While this is not quite as important as other aspects of language, pronunciation of English words can be hard for some new speakers.  Again, English is complex; and in no way is it, perhaps, more apparent, then in the use of silent letters (like the “k” in “know”) or the variations between “tough” and “dough”.