English is the most commonly spoken language globally, with over 1.35 billion people speaking the language. Over time, it has become an important skill for business professionals since so many countries around the globe use English at work.
In fact, of the 1.35 billion English speakers today, only 360 million of them learned English as their first language. So this tells you just how many people have worked really hard to learn English for social and business purposes.
Learning to speak English fluently is not an easy process. So if you’ve been struggling to master English, you are definitely not alone.
Why is English Hard to Learn?
Here are the top 13 reasons your English language skills may not be improving as fast as you would like them to:
1. Language Families
Language families are groups of languages that are similar in structure and have often come from a common parent language. For example, English is a West Germanic language from the Indo-European language family which means it is very similar to other languages like German and Dutch.
If your primary language is not a member of the same language family, it can be more difficult to learn English.
Dialects of a language are differences found in the spoken and written forms of that language. Geographic regions or social groups often influence these dialects.
English has an estimated 160 different dialects, which makes it even harder to learn the language fluently. For example, the pronunciation, spelling, and slang will be very different for English-speakers in the United States than for English-speakers in Australia.
3. Grammar Rules
An estimated 3500 grammar rules exist in the English language. It would take a lot of time and determination to learn these grammar rules for any English speaker. So try not to be too hard on yourself when you stumble over grammar while reading, writing, or speaking English.
When you think you’re getting a handle on the English grammar rules, you find out just how many exceptions there are to every rule. This can make it a lot harder for non-native speakers to feel confident when practicing their English skills.
5. Word Order
There are 6-word order possibilities for different languages, so you may struggle if your primary language uses a different word order than English.
In English, the subject comes first, then the verb, and then the object. But in Korean, the subject comes first, then the object, and then the verb.
So in English, you would say a sentence like “I love cats.” But when translating Korean into English, it would read, “I cats love.”
Spelling English words can also be very tricky. From long strings of consonants to letter combinations and memorizing the different spellings of homophones, it can be easy to get mixed up when trying to spell English words correctly.
Pronouncing the English language can also be very difficult for non-native speakers. From having sounds that don’t exist in other languages to silent letters and words that look like they should be pronounced a certain way but aren’t, pronouncing English words correctly takes a lot of time and practice.
Emphasizing words in the English language can also be a struggle for people learning the language for the first time. Knowing which syllables to stress during pronunciation is mostly about memorization since the English language does not follow exact rules you can count on.
9. Contradictory Statements
The English language is also full of contradictions leaving learners confused over what certain words or statements actually mean. For example, words like “pineapple” or “hamburger” and statements like “act naturally” or “pretty ugly” are confusing to people trying to learn the language for the first time.
The English language has many idioms that only add to the confusion. Popular sayings like “cool as a cucumber,” “call it a day,” and “in hot water” are all idioms that make sense to native speakers but are super perplexing for English language learners.
A synonym is a word or phrase that has a similar definition to another word. While some synonyms can be used in place of the original word, other synonyms in English can sound strange or even change the sentence’s meaning completely.
While every language has its share of slang words, English has many slang words with meanings that make little to no sense. Plus, different slang words are used by people of different ages and in distinct geographical areas.
Even though English is the most commonly spoken language on the planet, other languages highly influence it. So new language learnings will come across many foreign sayings used regularly when speaking English, such as “ad nauseam” and “carpe diem.”
How to Improve Your English Skills?
After reviewing the 13 reasons why it’s so difficult to learn English, you may be asking yourself if you will ever see improvements in your own English language skills. But the good news is that you can absolutely learn English fluently.
Even students who have tried time and time again to learn English, only to feel like they’ve failed, can see significant improvements in their ability to read, write, and speak English with help from the right educational platform.
Askademic makes learning English both accessible and affordable for everyone. As a result, they’ve helped tons of English language learners, just like you feel like they finally get it.
- Comprehensive online courses that you can access anytime and anywhere
- Supplemental tutoring sessions
- Short refreshers
- Step-by-step tutorials
- Curriculum-structured classes
- Customer support
So join the Askademic community today and learn English on your own schedule and without emptying your bank account. We make it easier than ever to learn basic English, pronunciation, grammar, and conversational speaking skills at your own pace and around your busy schedule.