Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 6 months ago

Why do people say English is a hard language, when it's not?

Pronunciation may be hard, but not grammar. Other languages have genders and conjugate future tense; English does not. German: die, der, das, den, etc. French: le, la, a été vs était, and sometimes you pronounce the last letter, other times not. I have cousins who grew up in Switz. (French) and Germany, and they speak English like it's nothing.

Update:

And I'm bilingual. English is my second language.

Update 2:

My first language is Vietnamese. In Vnmese, we don't have past, present, or future tense. No plural markings. And no conjugation. Words never change their spellings (no run, ran, running, runs). But I think English is easy.

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  • 6 months ago

    Well the answer is Yes and NO.

    Basic English is rather easy.A person can be reasonably fluent with a vocabulary of only 1,000 (thousand) words

    The problems with English are mainly in spelling.Some oddities are the use of the verb to do in asking questions and the ' ing ' endings of verbs.

    Languages like Spanish have an easier spelling but the grammar of verbs can be very confusing.

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  • Anonymous
    6 months ago

    It's not so hard, as it is strange!

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  • 6 months ago

    When they stop teaching all that i before e except after rubbish it will get easier, i never understood that,

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  • MARK
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    Good for you! However, you claim English is an easy language to learn then go on to list the things that make it difficult. That is what is called contradictory in English.

    Yes, pronunciation is difficult to match to orthography. Verbs can be difficult. They will be a real challenge for languages where tenses are not used at all. They can be a challenge for people who speak French. For example, the present tense of the indicative mood in French as one form, e.g. je joue, but in English there are three forms, i.e. I play, I am playing and I do play.

    You cite German has having multiple words for the definite article. It can be difficult for someone learning English who say speaks Czech where there is no articles. So not only do they have to learn the articles they have to learn the concept of articles.

    All languages are hard in one way or another because you have to accept the language you are learning does not work in the same way as yours. Even if you learn a language which is almost phonetic, i.e. its orthography usually matches its phonology you will have to learn sounds your language does not have. It can be come even more of a challenge when a language has aspects of pronunciation yours does not, e.g. tones, or the language is written in a different script.

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  • 6 months ago

    English is as difficult or easy as any other language. The difficulty level will depend on whether it resembles more or less your native language, or other languages you're already fluent in.

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    • Big Mama
      Lv 6
      6 months agoReport

      I'm not a linguist, but I suppose that context helps a lot when two words sound alike. Also, English has a writing system.

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  • Zirp
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    Because there are many languages that don't have irregular verbs, spelling contests for native speakers, nor tons of homonyms, homographs, homophones, synonyms...

    If you think English is easy, learn some Esperanto

    • RE
      Lv 7
      6 months agoReport

      Spelling bees are just a cultural/social activity. In the US, we also have spelling bees for the Spanish language. Maybe you should get this particular bee out of your bonnet.

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  • Anonymous
    6 months ago

    English is closest to Norwegian (some say Dutch). If it's so easy then why so SO MANY foreigners make so many basic mistakes? The verb conjugation might be easy, but the possible combinations of verb tenses, moods & aspects far outweighs any other language that I've studied (and that's several).

    Even highly educated Europeans who speak other Germanic languages natively, you'd be surprised at how often they make basic verb mistakes in English.

    Even the present tense of many/most (maybe all other) European languages only has one form. In English there are THREE forms of the present tense. For example: I eat/I am eating /I do eat. And they are not interchangeable–they each have a specific use. And that's just the present tense, I haven't even added aspect or mood ("By the time you arrive, the deer will have been being eaten by the tiger"). I speak German, some Dutch & French, but I don't think any of them have an exact equivalent to that example–especially not French, which has probably the most complex verb conjugation system of them all.

    Even non-native speakers who've been speaking English 20-30 years still mess up verbs. Why? Because in English verbs can be complex (by comparison), despite the simple conjugation.

    Anyone can stammer out a sentence and the meaning would be understood, even if it's full of mistakes. But it takes someone very smart & well-studied to master English verb use. It is extremely rare that I hear a foreigner always use verbs correctly. Even the basics.

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  • Pontus
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    Difficulty of English depends on the languages the learner already know (how similar or different they are).

    Many languages do not make a distinction between "do" and "make".

    DO - is also a helping verb, to form the emphatic aspect of the present and past tenses, and required for questions and negatives instead of the simple/neutral present and past (except it can't be used for BE, as either a main or helping verb).

    English has roughly a dozen helping verbs. Some languages have two or three or even none. There can be 0, 1, 2, or 3 helping verbs. Some languages only allow one helping verb at a time.

    The main verb can be in one of three forms.

    There are two kinds of infinitive: bare and full. Most languages that have infinitives have only one kind (but there are exceptions).

    English expresses tense, aspect, mood, modality, and voice. Sometimes those attributes are not clearly separated but are combined within a "tense" (a combination of some of those attributes). There are languages that express fewer of those attributes, as well as ones that have them clearly separated.

    Even though English is only mildly inflected, the verb system in particular is very complex (of the 5 languages I speak, all of them have complex verb systems, but they can be very different from each other).

    English has a dizzying array of tense, voice, mood, aspect, and modality combinations. Many of those combos have more than one use, and some of them share uses.

    Word order often changes meaning, and even when it doesn't, is often just wrong. There are languages were word order is less important (or even almost entirely free).

    English has two grammatical cases for nouns (common and possessive). Some languages have no grammatical case at all. English also has remnants of two other grammatical cases for some personal pronouns (subjective and objective). Even among languages that do have grammatical case, there are some where the cases are exactly the same for nouns, personal pronouns (and other pronouns).

    Agglutinative grammars are often considered easier than analytic (word order) or inflectional grammars (but again, the grammar types the learner already knows or doesn't know can change his/her perception of difficulty).

    There are languages where verbs do not change form for any reason (word order particles, and specific structures/phrases express ideas like aspect, etc).

    French pronunciation rules are numerous and complex, but far more consistent than in English. Exceptions to the rules are very few. English has hundreds of sight words (where the pronunciation does not match the spelling and thus must be memorized). French has a handful, once all the rules are learned. Those rules include whether or not the last letter(s) should be pronounced. French also has diacritics, some of which specify a pronunciation. Sometimes they distinguish homographs.

    English has phrasal verbs. Many other languages do not, and even among those that do, the phrasal verbs are often very different from English. The meaning of a phrasal verb is often not clear to a foreigner from the words themselves, and is even more difficult when a family of phrasal verbs (with the same verb as the root) would be translated by a host of seemingly unrelated verbs in their native language.

    For some foreigners, English is fairly easy. For others, it's very difficult.

    You cannot objectively state that English is easy for all foreigners.

    Some languages make absolutely no distinction among: I work; I am working; I do work. Trying to understand that can initially very difficult for speakers of such languages.

    I know you're trolling, but I can't sleep. :)

  • 6 months ago

    if your not from a western country. English would be totally foreign, to say a Chinese , japanese, or Korean person

    your speaking on a western biased perspective since even though English is quite different than say German or French. they are still indo-european languages so they share a similar cultural heritage in that regard

    German and English are both germanic languages so they have some words that are similar to each other. French is romance language and has more latin influences yet French is older than say English, so english was influenced a lot by medieval French

    a lot of people that speak only western languages would probably say japanese is a hard language when its nothing for the Japanese and even to a certain extent, a Korean person

    languages like mandarin, japanese, or Korean is totally different and from a different part of the world, so English would be completely foreign to them assuming they have no exposure to the language

    Source(s): English wouldn't be as hard for a european where English is not their 1st language vs. a Chinese person where English is totally foreign to their culture and their language roots since its in a totally different part of the world
    • Joe6 months agoReport

      My first language is Vietnamese. In Vnmese, we don't have past, present, or future tense. No plural markings. And no conjugation. Words never change their spellings (no run, ran, running, runs). But I think English is easy.

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  • susan
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    I think it is because English has rules, but so many exceptions to the rules, which have to be learned one at a time. But hey, if it's not hard for you, then great!

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