Learning English – The Challenges

Published 22nd March 2017
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English is the most used language in several fields such as science and international law. It is the most widely learned second language and an official language of the United Nations and the European Union. English has become the leading lingua franca. It is a great asset to be in a better position to secure work, or communicate more effectively with more people from around the globe. English might be a popular choice, but that doesn’t mean it is an easy language to learn. We are about to delve into the biggest challenges one faces when attempting to learn and master English as a second language.


English Grammar can be complex, making it difficult to remember, master and use logically. English grammar is full of subtlety. Especially when in conversation, using the correct grammar can be tricky. However, it is extremely important to make good use of it! Grammar mistakes can confuse the person you are talking to and change the meaning of what you intend to communicate.


Vocabulary can also prove to be a challenge since it has one of the biggest vocabularies of all languages. On top of that, spelling words is not an easy task in English. It is often difficult to guess how to spell an English word based on how it sounds. Although there are plenty of recurring patterns, there are also a lot of exceptions. To make matters even harder, there are numerous homophones, words that are spelled and/or pronounced the same, but that have different meanings.

Idioms and Slang:

Due to the already vast vocabulary and its rapid evolution, it is hard to catch up with slang and idioms. In every day conversation it is not uncommon to hear a bunch of slang words. Slang words can make keeping up with the interaction quite difficult if you are not familiar with them. Idioms can make it hard to understand the comprehension as, not only do you have to learn the phrase and meaning, but also when to use it.


As opposed to other languages, pronunciation is not always obvious in English and cannot always be guessed from the way a word is spelled. Let’s look at the words southern and soup, they both have the vowels -ou- so you could think they are pronounced the same, however the same vowel combination has a different pronunciation in both words. The spellings for identical sounds can be very varied. One letter combination can represent more than one sound. Just like different combinations represent one sound like in the words book and blood, the first one pronounced as u and the second one as a.


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