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Thread: Difficulties in learning English as a second language.

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array PsiKik's Avatar
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    Default Difficulties in learning English as a second language.

    I want to ask people who have learned English as a second language how hard they found
    it to learn.
    There are many inconsistencies and 'exceptions to rules' in the language.

    e.g. the plural of foot is not 'foots' - I can imagine this sort of thing
    confusing many non English speakers.

    Consider the following site as an example:

    http://www.beautifulperth.com/dumbenglish.html

    So how hard did you find it to learn English?

  2. #2
    ..-. ..- -.-. -.- Array LastRailway's Avatar
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    I still struggle with some past tenses and I am resigned to the fact that I will never really learn to use correctly phrasal verbs and expressions. But what has actually been frustrating in the beginning was the complete lack of pronunciation rules.

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    Senior Member Array Dark Razor's Avatar
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    I don't remember how difficult it was in the begining, since that's now about 15 years ago. I do know that my English skills really developed after I first got access to the Internet. Before that, television and radio also helped, though. My experience has been, that English is so ubiquitous in various forms of media, that effective total immersion is possible without ever visiting a country where English is the mother tongue of the population (I have never visited any such country). Learning English from media might even be superior to spending time abroad because people on TV/radio are more likely to use a more refined/official version of the language, while in daily life you're mostly surrounded by hick-slang.

    The most difficult part of learning English to me is spelling and also pronounciation, it requires a lot of listening to pick up how some words are pronounced. I am still occassionaly suprised to hear some words that are pronounced totally different from how I thought you would pronounce them.

    English also has very easy grammar, overall it only uses minor amounts of inflection. Though I do not recomend using English/ American music to learn the language, as you ain't be usin no good grammar if you do that.
    "If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, its yours. If it doesnt, it never was." 8w7 sx/sp

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    Senior Member Array PsiKik's Avatar
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    Interesting. I had not thought pronunciation would have been one of the biggest problems.
    I assumed spelling would be a problem - it is even for some English speakers.
    I should have asked in the OP for the respondents to list the specific areas where they had encountered difficulty.

  5. #5
    Member Array Ace_'s Avatar
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    English was pretty easy to learn for me cause it's all around me. Hollywood movies, tv shows, the INTERNET... you're crippled if you don't know it.

    It isn't that complicated either. My first language is Bosnian so anything after that is easy.

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    Junior Member Array MisterAlic's Avatar
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    To not be original, I too would say that the hardest thing is the pronunciation. Not because words are hard to pronounce, like in Chinese, but because their pronunciations are unpredictable.
    When I want to pronounce a new word, I try several pronunciations hoping my interlocutor will "get it", unfortunately I often have to give up and just spell the word out loud.

    My listening skills are also low compared to my reading skills. I have a hard time following casual conversations, especially when they occur within a group of English speakers (one-on-one communication is not as bad). Lectures in English are easier to understand IMO since teachers make efforts to speak clearly and be understood.


    I wouldn't place spelling at the top of my list. I believe my spelling is actually better than the average Joe's, particularly when it comes to "big words". Though this is primarily due to the fact that my native language is French.


    Learning English from media might even be superior to spending time abroad because people on TV/radio are more likely to use a more refined/official version of the language, while in daily life you're mostly surrounded by hick-slang.
    Ever watched the Jerry Springer show?

    "She/he don't" is commonly used and I remember a guy who kept repeating "I don't love you no more".

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    Senior Member Array PsiKik's Avatar
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    How difficult is it for a non first language English speaker to interpret
    amphibolies i.e. syntactically ambiguous sentences that can be read in different ways.

    e.g.

    Miners refuse to work after death

    Stolen painting found by tree


    http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/amphib.html

    Many of these had me laughing. Not LOL but just a chuckle.

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    Senior Member Array Dark Razor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MisterAlic View Post

    Ever watched the Jerry Springer show?

    "She/he don't" is commonly used and I remember a guy who kept repeating "I don't love you no more".
    No, I never watched the Jerry Springer show. I was mostly refering to persons like TV-Anchors, radio moderators and voice actors. Sure, if they interview someone who complains that "'cause of Obama and the soshializts I dont got no more gas to be puttin in ma truck" you are still exposed to bad English, but then you immediatly notice the contrast.

    One example for unpredictable pronounciation I encountered was the State of Arkansas. Which I thought was pronounced like Ar-Kansas, while it seems it's actually pronounced Ar-ken-sore or Ar-ken-saw. For the longest time I actually thought that Arkansas and Arkensore were two different states..
    "If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, its yours. If it doesnt, it never was." 8w7 sx/sp

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    bachmachine Array YHWH's Avatar
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    Third language, learned it mostly intuitively since it's all over the place, music, TV, interwebz, etc.
    I still have to endure having a terribly poor vocabulary. (and repetition as you can clearly witness)
    YHWHYHWHYHWHYHWHYHWHYHWHYHWHY
    Remember, this is a comedy

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    Senior Member Array PsiKik's Avatar
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    What are your first 2 languages? What did you find hard about English? What do you think you could improve upon?

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