Introduction and Why English is So Hard To Learn? by Lauren Callaghan - Profesora de inglés

Introduction and Why English is So Hard To Learn?

Introduction and Why Learning English is Hard.

Hello, I am Lauren Callaghan. I’m 24, I live in England in the UK and thought I would put my introduction with another blog post as I couldn't possibly talk about myself for the length this needs to be. 

I have been working in the Education sector for five years, in paid jobs for the past two years. My experiences teaching generally centre around young children as young as 0-5, though I do have experience with children up to the age of eight, I am a Level Three Qualified practitioner in Children’s Play, Learning and Development, as well as holding a Level Five Higher Education Diploma in Early Childhood Studies. These qualifications mean that I am a Nursery Practitioner, usually working with children aged 2-3. 

I grew interested in teaching English as a foreign language when my sister moved to China to do so. I have completed the 180-hour TEFL certificate and I am currently looking for students to teach.

So, moving onto the main reason for this post.

Why Learning English is so Hard?

A Brief Background of The English Language

The English language is made up primarily of three other languages mixed together. Latin, French and German. These three languages are stacked on top of each other and have become such a part of the language that it is hard to tell what words are not originally ‘English’. There are over 100 words in the English language, words used in everyday conversations that are French and over 70 words that are German in origin. This can make learning English hard as some words follow the Latin grammar rules and some follow the two other language rules.

Plurals: Plurals are an example of what I mentioned above as man becomes men, woman becomes women, but human does not become humen. This is because man is a Latin word and follows the Latin grammar rule for plurals to become men, but human is Germanic and so follows the German plural rule and becomes humans instead. Other examples of confusing plurals are sheep is singular but also is plural. Dog become dogs when plural, but goose becomes geese when plural. These are all just examples of words that can be confusing when learning the English language. 

 Common Mistakes in the English Language:

Their, There, They’re: Their is belonging to someone, There is a place or location, They’re is a contraction of the words They Are, so if wanting to explain something about people They are patient, you could say They’re patient.

It’s and its: It’s is used to say It Is whereas its is used to talk about belongings.

Confusing Are and Is: The list of items is on the desk when it should be the list of items are on the desk because the list of items is a singular list therefore are is used instead of is. (and I made mistakes writing that sentence and it confuses me too.)

Look, See and Watch: Look: to look at something directly. See: to see something that comes into our sight that we weren’t looking for. Watch: to look at something carefully, usually at something that’s moving.

Since and For: You use “for” if you don’t have to calculate the period of time, because the amount of time is indicated in the sentence already. You use “since” if you have to calculate the period of time, because you only have the starting point.

Homographs: Words that are spelt the same but are pronounced differently. This can apply to many words in the English language such as:

  • Read- you read a book (Present Tense) Read- You have Read a book (Past Tense) (Pronounced like the colour Red)

  • Lead- This pencil is made out of lead, Lead- You can lead the group today

  • Desert- to leave, Desert- Something you eat after your main course

  • Close- You are stood too close, Close- I am going to close the shop soon.

  • Stress patterns on different parts of the words also have this effect in words such as Contract.

  • Contract- You sign a Contract for a job, Contract- You might Contract the disease.

Accents on words: Accents on words in the English language are not common, they appear when the words are borrowed from the other languages such as façade which is borrowed from French but other than that the English language does not really have accents on words or letters.

Formal and Informal language: There is a difference between the wording of informal and formal English. Formal language does not use shortened versions of words, different verbs will be used for explanation, recovered from illness not got over the illness. Slang and regional words would not be used. Formal language would not use first person pronouns. Informal language is the opposite of informal language shortened versions of words would be used, simpler verbs would be used, and slang and regional words would be commonly used.

 Sayings- are sentences that are a way of passing on wisdom but are not obvious unless you understand the saying. Such as: In the doghouse- someone is mad/angry/upset with you. The pot calling the kettle black- this is used when a person says something mean about a different person, but it could be true about the person saying it. A watched pot never boils- If you are waiting for something to happen, it will not. Better late than never- it’s better to do something late than not at all. Knowledge is power- The more you know, the more power you have.

So that explains some of the reasons why English is hard to learn, and I hope you still want to! I will leave you with this final confusing English saying: English can be weird. It can be understood through tough thorough thought, though.

Bibliography:

Potter, S. and Crystal, D., 2019. English Language | Origin, History, & Characteristics. [online] Encyclopedia Britannica. Available at: <https://www.britannica.com/topic/English-language> [Accessed 13 May 2020].

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