3 Surprising Reasons English is Hard to Learn

3 Surprising Reasons English is Hard to Learn

3 Surprising Reasons English is Hard to Learn

English is hard to learn for many, contrary to popular belief. First and foremost: learning any language is no easy feat. But, many mistakenly believe that learning English is easy because of it’s simple grammar structure and because it’s widely spoken. That’s true, however, English has some unique curveballs.

Whether you’ve already fluent in English or are going to start your journey learning English, here are the three main reasons why English is hard to learn.

1. English Is Hard to Learn Because It’s Not Written as It’s Pronounced

English pronunciation is tricky for many new learners – and even many native speakers. Because English isn’t spoken as it’s written, it makes English harder to learn than other languages that are pronounced exactly as they are written. While English grammar is relatively simple since there aren’t many verb conjugations, the challenging part for many new learners is speaking English properly.

To give you a helping hand, here are some tips for better English pronunciation:

  • CH – CH isn’t always pronounced as the diphthong “ch” but can be a hard “c”. For example, “ch” at the beginning of character and chameleon is pronounced as a hard “c,” while it’s pronounced as a dipthong in “charming” and “charged,” for example.
  • A – A can be tricky for non-native speakers. It’s always pronounced as the a in “apple” at the beginning of words (for example: avocado, anaconda, etc.) but make a softer, rounder sound (like “ah”) following constants (e.g. hard, tarp, card, etc.)
  • EA – EA is always “e” as in “keen”. Some examples include: ear, clean, mean, team, etc. You do not pronounce “ea” as the soft “e” and “a” separately (one exception of this is Seattle, though it isn’t an English-rogin word).

And there are plenty more examples that show that English is hard in terms of its pronunciation. While you’ll begin to recognize patterns and memorize words, the pronunciation makes English a hard language to learn. 

2. English Is a Germanic Language with Heavy Latin Influence

English is technically classified as a Germanic language, though many linguists believe it should be categorized as a hybrid language because it has heavy lative influence (in fact, we’ve written a post on this. See our blog post here). Because English is basically two separate languages wrapped in one, many find English is hard to learn because of its wide vocabulary and mix of languages.

As a general rule of thumb, a lot of technical and medical vocabulary stems from latin. You’ll also know a word is Latin-based if it ends in “-ion” (e.g. condition, remission), or “-ive” (e.g. relative, supportive) and other suffixes.

3. English is Hard to Learn Because of New Slang

Not only are there different accents that make English hard to learn (you’re likely most familiar with American English and Standard British English i.e. “BBC” English, but there are some English and Scottish accents that are hard to understand), but there are also tons of slang words added to the language constantly.

Even for me (my name is Ryan and I’m an SEO specialist at RyanScottSEO.com), someone who was born in 1995, I find it hard to keep up with modern slang. The words tend to be divided by different nationalities, ethnic groups and age groups.

For example: “cool” is commonly used in the entire Anglosphere, however there are new words like “lit” which is commonly used in the US now (although it sounds incredibly immature and makes the speaker seem uneducated). Other terms are “finna” or “tryna” which are used by certain groups in the US to mean “fixing to” or “trying to”.

English Is Hard to Learn…But It’s Worth Learning!

If you think English is hard to learn; don’t be frightened! Millions of people have learned the language – and if they can do it, so can you! The truth is learning any language is hard, but English has some unique difficulties: namely its pronunciation, mish-mash of two language groups, and slang.
If you need help navigating the tough parts of English grammar or other, try using our English learning language program (plus, you can even access a personal tutor!). Find out more here.