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Why Is English Hard to learn? 8 Challenges of learning  English

by William Reid

There is no absolute answer to the inquiry, is English hard to learn? Just as some skills are more complicated than others to understand, learning some languages is hard for non-native speakers to speak and write fluently.

is English hard to learn

English is considered one of the most studied languages in the world, with its implications in business, science, and of course, literature. An extensive set of vocabulary, challenging pronunciations, tricky grammar, and confusing punctuations make it difficult to absorb proficiently. Most English words come from ancient Latin and greek and are spoken in most parts of the European and American continents. It is also one of the world’s most used languages, making it hard but necessary to learn.

English is, fortunately, a non-tonal language, unlike Chinese or Vietnamese, and doesn’t require pitch to distinguish sounds. There are various sources to learn English from, including television shows, music lyrics, and movies. However, many linguistic inconsistencies make it hard to learn for non-native speakers.

Although if you’re still asking yourself: Is English hard to learn? We can tell you precisely what makes it challenging, with a few tips to make things a bit easier for you!

Why is English hard to learn? 8 things that make English hard to learn!

From words with similar spellings having different meanings to synonyms that can’t be used as synonyms, here are the eight crucial contradictions which make English hard to learn and understand.

1.     Grammar and punctuations

“I before E, except after C” is a famous phrase used to explain the grammatical order rule, but what about the word their or science? E indeed comes before C in those. Aren’t it?

With all the tenses, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs, etc., it is hard for a non-native speaker to get ahold of the language within a bit of time, especially when all these grammatical rules are often inapplicable in sentences.

Similarly, putting a comma, semicolon, colon, brackets, or full stops is a rather sensitive task. It changes the structure of the sentence and makes gripping the rules of English linguistics even more challenging.

2.     Vocabulary

Open a dictionary and try to calculate the words present in it. It’s a hell of a task. The English language has picked up words from various other languages, which made its horizons dynamic and comprehensive.

26% of English vocables are of German origins, 30% are french, and 30% are Latin. It’s a rough mix, which makes it easier for a few nationalities to learn and even harder for others.

3.     Pronunciations

Some words are silent, others have different voices, and all this fiasco makes it hard for non-native speakers to learn English as a language. For example, with the words knife or know, the pronunciations make it hard to understand the spelling.

Si and C give the same sound, just like F and Ph are equally feracious.

There also is a variety of verbs that don’t have any vowels in them, making them even hard to read, such as tsk, shhh, brrr, hmm, etc., and you can even spell them differently!

Compound words with more consonants than vowels, or vice versa, are also hard to understand and use. Gypsy, photosynthesis, encyclopedia, and crystal are a few examples.

4.     Homophones

“The door was too close to the table to be close” what does close mean? It is a challenge that raises a question: is English hard to learn? The first close is pronounced with a soft S, meaning near, while the second close means shut and is pronounced with a hard S.

Homophones are words that have the same sounds and pronunciations but different meanings and spellings. Some homophones have more than seven meanings. Others have two or three, e.g., Their, there, they’re, all have the same sound but are very different.

5.     Synonyms

Synonyms are words that can be used in place of each other. It means that the synonyms should have similar meanings, right? But in reality, synonyms aren’t interchangeable.

For example, google synonyms of the word “tired,” and it will show comments like annoy, bore, and sick as synonyms. Now make a sentence with the word. He’s tired after a day of laborious work or sick after a day of laborious work. Tell us if you think they are similar after reading both sentences?

6.     Idioms

Some words are used in a literal sense, and some cannot be used in their exact meaning. Metaphors, idioms, and irregular phrases need practice and determination to get ahold of. For example, the idiom “piece of cake” doesn’t literally means a piece of cake, but rather it refers to something being easy.

Similarly, “break a leg” and “stabbed in the back” are not as violent as they sound. These idioms mean to work hard and be betrayed by someone respectively. Another good example is “raining cats and dogs” tell us what you think it means?

7.     Dialects

Multiple national and regional dialects are associated with English, making it even tougher to comprehend. Take, for example, the difference between English in the UK and the US. Various words, their spellings, pronunciations, and accents are different. The same goes for Irish, Scotland, Scandinavian, and other Mediterranean regional dialects.

8.      Order and emphasis

If you are an English speaker, you’d know how to place words to structure an appropriate sentence. However, it is not that simple for a non-native. You are structuring a sentence according to the grammatical rules. Placing verbs before adverbs and so on is an exhausting task. Saying a beautiful short dress is correct, but rearranging the words to tell a short beautiful dress has no standing in the literature dictionaries.

The emphasis on using “a” and “the” is another critical concept that makes English difficult to learn and speak. How a speaker stresses a word in a sentence changes its meaning. It often expresses how someone feels about something.

Bottom Line- Keep learning

Is English hard to learn? Yes, it is tricky to pick up, but the important thing is how ambitious you are to learn this beautiful language. It’s undoubtedly not easy, but with determination and constant effort, you can learn it within a month or so. It doesn’t matter if you’re french, Indian, or Japanese by origin. You can do it if you want to!

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