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English must be difficult for non native speakers

英語を勉強している方のためのフォーラムです。練習のために英語の文章を投稿してもかまわなく、英語の文法・語彙に関する質問をしてもけっこうです。

RE: English must be difficult for non native speakers

Postby emingygurl » Thu 08.24.2006 10:21 pm

Yeah, if you're having fun with a language, it's easier to learn. I'm dropping Spanish this year, since I only need two years of it to graduate. =P And I'll have no use for it, since I have plans for college and after that. I haven't really looked at English from a foreigner's point of view...I guess it would be challenging, with the slang and spelling and all. o.o
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RE: English must be difficult for non native speakers

Postby CajunCoder » Fri 08.25.2006 1:44 am

requemao wrote:
I think the major difficulties in English are:

1) Spelling and pronunciation are almost unrelated, so for every word you have to learn both its spelling and its pronunciation.

2) Also, the sounds used in English are quite uncommon, difficult to learn to pronounce, and also difficult to understand in normal speech. It is said that English is best understood when spoken by speakers of almost any other language.

3) There's a lot of idiomatic expressions in daily use. They're a pain in the neck for students because they take blood, sweat and tears to learn, and because trying to understand "real-life English" without them is a lost cause.

4) Huge number of phrasal/prepositional verbs. Same as above, you can't do without them. You come across them constantly, they turn up in almost every sentence, and their meanings are often hard to find out unless you look them up in a good dictionary.



Haha. English is my native language, but that sounds very accurate. All of the things you mentioned about english also irk me, despite speaking it all of my life.
Native English speakers generally have very poor spelling. While mine isn't horrible, it isn't that great either (and I swear, it has been deteriorating since I began studying Japanese! After typing Japanese for a few hours, I'll start mixing up english vowels subconciously, wanting to spell things as they sound :p).
I definitly find that foreigners who have learned (and become fluent in) english have both better spelling and pronunciation than most native speakers, especially here in America.
After reading the original version of Ivanhoe, it is sad to see how much english has deteriorated. I find old English to be somewhat beautiful, but I cannot say that for it's modern evolution (especially in America). It is simply one of the ugliest languages - both in grammar and sound, in my opinion.

On the other hand, I absolutely love Japanese. Pronunciation of vowels is beutiful and consistant, grammar and vocabulary are logical. I also like how you don't have to constantly direct everything using pronouns, subjects and objects - which gets to be a pain in english, and does not allow the language much flexibility to be indirect.
I love the flexibility of structuring Japanese through particles, rather than position of words. I constantly have to reword things in English because my thoughts come out in the wrong order, which messes up everything completely. In Japanese however, grammar is rather forgiving in this regard and you can mix things up.

Learning a language so different from my own has really given me a great perspective on it, and continues to fascinate me.
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RE: English must be difficult for non native speakers

Postby Torunamu » Mon 08.28.2006 8:43 pm

In Gaelic similar words sound nothing like each other (run, running, ran), each word has only one meaning. Absolutely every word must be learned individually.
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RE: English must be difficult for non native speakers

Postby Shibakoen » Mon 08.28.2006 8:48 pm

emingygurl wrote:
Yeah, if you're having fun with a language, it's easier to learn. I'm dropping Spanish this year, since I only need two years of it to graduate. =P And I'll have no use for it, since I have plans for college and after that. I haven't really looked at English from a foreigner's point of view...I guess it would be challenging, with the slang and spelling and all. o.o


I take it you're going with Japanese for your uni language requirement?
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RE: English must be difficult for non native speakers

Postby Frumious Boojum » Tue 08.29.2006 12:04 pm

clay wrote:
Maybe it is this link:
http://www.nvtc.gov/lotw/months/november/learningExpectations.html

Notice Japanese has an *

The * means:
* Languages preceded by asterisks are typically somewhat more difficult for native English speakers to learn to speak and read than other languages in the same category.


I'm rather surprised about this... arabic is listed without an asterisk! That language has a lot harder pronuciation and a lot more quirks to it than Japanese! My brother-in-law's native language is Arabic and he doesn't even consider himself fluent in the language.

Modern Japanese at least has a lot in common with English, thanks to loan words. The pronunciation is not difficult if you have a background in Spanish. It doesn't have all those voice tones that Mandarin Chinese requires. Keeping the conjugations straight, the particles, and the backwards speach are probably the hardest parts of the language. And, besides, it sure does have a lot less characters to learn than any Chinese language!

I'd actually think it'd be a somewhat good introduction to east asian languages, not the hardest of them.
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RE: English must be difficult for non native speakers

Postby emingygurl » Tue 08.29.2006 6:56 pm

I take it you're going with Japanese for your uni language requirement?


Ah, yeah. Didn't realize until now I forgot to actually type in 'japan' =P
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RE: English must be difficult for non native speakers

Postby zengargoyle » Tue 08.29.2006 8:09 pm

requemao wrote:
I think the major difficulties in English are:

1) Spelling and pronunciation are almost unrelated, so for every word you have to learn both its spelling and its pronunciation.


i don't think so, i think it depends on the way it is taught. like way back in the 1970's i learned to read mostly on my own through a program called 'Hooked on Phonics'. maybe some other people will have learned this way. back then, it was a bunch of LP records and some books and flashcards and the like. if you learn that way, spelling and pronounciation isn't that big of a deal. but the 'Phonics' method ran afoul of some of the educational community for "teaching how to read but not teaching the meaning of the words" and sorta got thrown by the wayside. evidently some teachers/classes/schools or whatnot would stop after just the reading part, leaving students who could read a complex piece of text but have no comprehension of the words. so in the backlash against that, the baby got thrown out with the bathwater and the idea that you had to learn how to spell, pronounce and learn the meaning of the word at the same time came about.

anyway, from my memory of learning, Phonics made spelling and pronounciation trivial, and definately enough to take something you heard and look it up in a dictionary, or to be able to sound out a word that you have never seen before. sure there are a bunch of odd pronounciations and such, but it's not as bad as people make it out to be.

the worst... French. i took three years of that in high school and by the third year it was down to every week/chapter being a new verb that was somehow irregular in conjugation. so you learn a few new vocabulary words, and a new verb that doesn't conjugate like any other verb you've learned before... such a pain. :)

every language has colloquialisms and slang. not much difference there.

Chinese is supposed to be close to English in it's word order and grammar construction. the few times i've tried to translate some bit of Chinese... once you get the rough meanings of the individual characters it's mostly understandable. i think Japanese gets the '*' for difficulty for English speakers because of the difference in word order and grammar construction, but i don't have a good benchmark for that because i've learned a few programming (computer) languages that go backwards like Japanese. where modifiers go after words/phrases (learning pretty much any RPN language like Postscript or Forth will make Japanese a bit easier to digest).

so, is English hard? i guess it's really hard to say when it's your native language...
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RE: English must be difficult for non native speakers

Postby john2 » Tue 08.29.2006 8:23 pm

Go to Amsterdam and you'll notice that most of people can speak english very well! In Paris or Berlin, they would look at you with high open eyes!! :o

have you treid to speak slower germans have probelms understanding you when you speak fast(dont ask why) but most germans do udnerstand some english or am i missinformed all germans i met understand a bit of engli.
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RE: English must be difficult for non native speakers

Postby requemao » Wed 08.30.2006 9:59 am

zengargoyle wrote:

i don't think so, i think it depends on the way it is taught. like way back in the 1970's i learned to read mostly on my own through a program called 'Hooked on Phonics'. maybe some other people will have learned this way. back then, it was a bunch of LP records and some books and flashcards and the like. if you learn that way, spelling and pronounciation isn't that big of a deal.


If I understand correctly, that program taught you to read and spell, that is, to relate pronunciation and spelling. In that case you are making my point: you need to be taught that.

In any Romace language and in almost any Germanic language, that is innecessary: you can flawlessly and consistently pronounce ANY word you haven't seen in your life. All that it takes is learning the pronunciation of consonants, vowels and diphthongs and perhaps a few exceptions to the rule. Also, in many of those languages (French being the big exception) you can spell a word only knowing its pronunciation, or at least make a good guess.

In English, on the other hand, rules are the exception.
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RE: English must be difficult for non native speakers

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 08.30.2006 10:56 am

john2 wrote:

have you tried to speak slower? Germans have problems understanding you when you speak fast.(don't ask why) Most germans do understand some English, or am i missinformed? All germans i have met understand a bit of English.



fixed.

What I didn't fix what the MOST and ALL statements. You can use one or the other, but not both in the same sentence when referring to one source. I would suggest going with MOST as this is a better representation.
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RE: English must be difficult for non native speakers

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 08.30.2006 11:04 am

requemao wrote:
zengargoyle wrote:

i don't think so, i think it depends on the way it is taught. like way back in the 1970's i learned to read mostly on my own through a program called 'Hooked on Phonics'. maybe some other people will have learned this way. back then, it was a bunch of LP records and some books and flashcards and the like. if you learn that way, spelling and pronounciation isn't that big of a deal.


If I understand correctly, that program taught you to read and spell, that is, to relate pronunciation and spelling. In that case you are making my point: you need to be taught that.

In any Romace language and in almost any Germanic language, that is innecessary: you can flawlessly and consistently pronounce ANY word you haven't seen in your life. All that it takes is learning the pronunciation of consonants, vowels and diphthongs and perhaps a few exceptions to the rule. Also, in many of those languages (French being the big exception) you can spell a word only knowing its pronunciation, or at least make a good guess.

In English, on the other hand, rules are the exception.



to answer here, it wasn't HOOKED on PHONICS in the 70's but it was phonics and phonetics. Hell, you could see phonics on Sesame Street and The Electric Company, both childrens shows that would explain how word sounds happened.. by sounding out each letter and then sounding out how the letters would sound when put together.. in the 80's a company put this together and the called it HOOKED ON PHONICS. this Hooked on Phonics was geared towards adults that were iliterate but later, it became obvious that the method taught to kids "WHOLE LANGUAGE" was failing and now Hooked On Phonics is being sold as a helpmeet to those kids that aren't getting the new fangled way of teaching..

My kids learn WHOLE LANGUAGE and when they come home, I have to unlearn it for them and then teach them properly.. I really makes me angry.

Basically Whole Language teaches a child to geuss at spelling from sounds and there are no "remarks" or " corrections" if the child misspells the word.. later, as they get older, they will learn to spell properly as they learn to use dictionaries.. (so riddle me this, how does a child who can't figure out the spelling and can't phoneticallysound things out determine where to look in a dictionary? honestly they can't and their scores show this time and time again)

anyways, you can see I am not to happy with the current way of teaching it, and am happy with phonics.. it worked for me dammit.
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RE: English must be difficult for non native speakers

Postby mteric » Wed 08.30.2006 11:06 am

I think pronunciation must be the most difficult part of learning English. Just look at words like sugar, pronounced "sheu ger", or butter, pronounced "bud der". :D
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RE: English must be difficult for non native speakers

Postby kuroi » Wed 08.30.2006 11:35 am

It puzzles me how people find English hard, might be because it is my native language and it just flows from my mouth. Haha

I'm guessing English slang must be hard, I mean.. once you get so used to the FORMAL language you'll end up coming across dialects and slang.
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RE: English must be difficult for non native speakers

Postby AJBryant » Wed 08.30.2006 12:41 pm

Native English speakers generally have very poor spelling.


Correct that for "Ignorant" or "uneducated" native English speakers, please. If you're educated, if you're literate, you *don't* have poor spelling. Sadly, I've seen a serious decline in the past ten or fifteen years in the English curriculum. Spelling, grammar, and syntax no longer seem to matter.

After reading the original version of Ivanhoe, it is sad to see how much english has deteriorated. I find old English to be somewhat beautiful, but I cannot say that for it's modern evolution (especially in America).


Dude, Ivanhoe was written in 1819.

Do you *know* what Old English sounds like? SHAKESPEARE is "Early modern English."

As for Old English: Here is an mp3 file of a famous passage -- "Byrhtwold's Speech" -- from a long OE poem called "The Battle of Malden." Recognize any of the words? ;)

Here's the first part of what that looks like:
Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre,
mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað.
Her lið ure ealdor eall forheawen,
god on greote. A mæg gnornian
se ðe nu fram þis wigplegan wendan þenceð.


Chaucer is classical Middle English. Here's the mp3 prologue to the Miller's Tale from "Canterbury Tales." I'd bet that less than half the words sound familiar to most people.


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RE: English must be difficult for non native speakers

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 08.30.2006 12:59 pm

mteric wrote:
I think pronunciation must be the most difficult part of learning English. Just look at words like sugar, pronounced "sheu ger", or butter, pronounced "bud der". :D


BUTTER is only pronounced budder by someone who does not use enunciation. some call it sloppy speaking.

alot of people let t become d as they get lazy when they speak.
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