JOHN B asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 1 decade ago

What have non- English speakers found most difficult about learning the English language?

Would especially like to hear about specific examples ( I teach English as a second language so it helps me!)

12 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Accents, pronunciation, reading.

    Accents - with so many English speakers spread out in the world, sometimes new English learners cannot even tell two accents are the same language.

    Pronunciation - The "th" sound is not a very common sound in many languages around the world, and takes many people years to perfect (and some never can). "R"s are also hard as English is (maybe? to the best of my knowledge?) the only language to pronounce "R"s with changing the shape of their lips instead of a flick of their tongue.

    Reading - English (and French sometimes too) are incredibly hard to read, as you must memorize the spelling of pretty much every word as there are multiple ways you could (technically) write them and they would still have the same pronunciation.

    Source(s): life, i was born in japan, and have traveled to many different countries, and these are the most common problems i see everywhere for English-learners.
  • 4 years ago

    This is my personal opinion, being a native English speaker, that because they are so far from English it makes them hard to learn. For example, the accents are different, the verbs probably conjugate differently, and like you said, the different character systems. I don't know if other English speakers feel the same way, but I would think these would be some of the main reasons.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Each non-English speaker has problems stemming from their geographical region, (Chinese have different problems than Mexicans for example when forming the correct mouth shape/tongue position for pronunciation).

    To use everyday English and slang, is a general problem the World over, learners use formal language in every situation, this really makes them sound out of touch and awkward when talking to native speakers, many of whom often get impatient or confused by the strange choice of vocabulary.

    It's the same for us learning other languages, we learn formal language, and direct translation, (wo qu shangdian - I go shop for example) rather than literal translations or any local inferences or ulterior meanings, which when used unknowingly, can completely change the way the statement is taken.

    If people pick up profanities, (which let's face it, is one of the first things we learn when starting a new language) it is often used incorrectly and at the wrong time to appear cool amongst fellow learners, and if used in the wrong time or place can get them into trouble, that their basic vocabulary may not be able to get them out of.

    Source(s): Experience whilst traveling and teaching.
  • truly
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    I never had any sort of problem while learning English, it all just came to me naturally. And yes, I did learn it at school, at the uni and also, way before that, from records and movies. If I had to say something, anything though, I'd probably say being orally fluent.

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  • 1 decade ago

    There are many difficult things about learning English, but one of the hardest is being able to put the words in the right order, like when you say in Spanish "Tu casa nueva" it translates in English "your house new" but you are supposed to say, "your new house" Its kind of hard to get used to that. What I tell my friends is that you are not supposed to translate, if you want to speak English, you have to THINK in English! and make sure you practice the vowel sounds ALOT! "A" = "ah" or "ay" &&& Please make them mingle with regular students, don't segregate them, it will help them in the long run!

    Source(s): Survivor of ESL! one year in it, second yea in AP English GO ME!
  • 1 decade ago

    accent!! that is really hard, i tried several word that i pronounce wrong so many times, but it just does not sound right to my friends! drives me crazy!!

    i have lived in west coast for more than 4 years, when i was on vacation in Florida, i felt like my english was poor, i just could not understand what they said, i think they way the Southern people speak English is kinda different fromthe way the West Coast people do....

    Source(s): personal experience
  • 1 decade ago

    Pronunciation: non-native sounds such as "V", "TH", "CH", "SH", etc

    Tenses: many Asian languages do not have tenses like in European languages

    Word inflection: unify --> unified --> unification

    Word stress during pronunciation: paraSITE, paraSItic, etc

    Concept of word infinitive: even most Westerners don't know what infinitive is! I guess they didn't have to learn it in grammar school!

    Source(s): Non-native English speaker here, learned many Asian languages (Vietnamese, Mandarin, Taechew, Thai, Japanese) and English.
  • 1 decade ago

    I had a friend who hard to learn English, and she said it was difficult because we have so many words that are spelled the same, but pronounced different, and also words that are pronounced the same, spelled different. all with different meanings.

    ex: read (i read the book....please read this book).

    ex: know/no (i i dont.)


  • 1 decade ago

    Definitely the pronunciation.

  • 1 decade ago

    Regional accents.

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