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Why English is hard to learn

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Lugha' started by Gurta, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. Gurta

    Gurta JF-Expert Member

    Aug 25, 2012
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    Most people would think the most difficult part when learning English language is the grammar, which in its own right, it is true.

    Yet another part that is interesting, and funny too, is the way words are used (phonetically, phonologically and semantically). Now consider the following sentences:

    Source: Why English is Hard to Learn

    You may overlook and think it has to do only with the ambiguity, but a closer look will help you reveal a rather interesting intricacies in learning this language.
  2. mzamifu

    mzamifu JF-Expert Member

    Aug 25, 2012
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    When you say English is difficult to learn, do you mean other languages are easy to learn? if that is what you mean then I do not agree with you. perhaps you would better say why English is difficult but Swahili is easy to learn or to put more general; why is it difficult to learn a language like English? after that you would then put in your example.
  3. Radhia Sweety

    Radhia Sweety JF-Expert Member

    Aug 26, 2012
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    It's not true that English is such a difficult language to learn. The reality is that those who attempt and fail to grasp it are the ones supposed to be described as having difficult understanding capacity. Such are Baba Mwanaisha, who replies ''The same to you'' to someone giving him a happy birthday wish even after he had spent many years as the Foreign Minister, and William Ngeleja, whose budget speeches had been always full of grammar gaffes despite his taking a Law degree at the University. These two--and others with similar disappointing English despite long exposure--I'm sure will remain wanting in their English for the rest of their life and are the same kind of people so prone to blaming English for its impenetrability. The bottom line thus is that to achieve the full mastery of English grammar and usage, and to be entirely conversant with its skills--writing, reading, speaking and listening--hugely have lots to do with the personal devotion and the quickness to catch things.
  4. Mentor

    Mentor JF-Expert Member

    Aug 26, 2012
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    Radhia acha uchokozi.
    Back to the point:
    I think English is easier to learn than most other foreign languages despite ambiguities shown.
  5. pmwasyoke

    pmwasyoke JF-Expert Member

    Aug 28, 2012
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    An English man would probably say Kiswahili is hard to learn. English is to many of us (Tanzanians) a third language. It can not be expected to be easy.
  6. mathematics

    mathematics JF-Expert Member

    Aug 29, 2012
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    Problem is you learn English in the environment which people speak different language from that you learn,

    When mzungu come to Tz and learn Swahili be easy for him/her as she/he is in the Environment which people speak the same language she/he learn
  7. leh

    leh JF-Expert Member

    Aug 29, 2012
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    Radhia Sweety, while you make a sound argument, am afraid that THE English language is a hard language to not only learn, but to master and use appropriately.
    for example, you all fail at it when you say English (rather you should say *the English language*) seeing as the word English is a noun used not only to describe the people living in England- The English People, but also eras in which the English language was different (in dialect, usage and /or spelling) e.g. Shakespearean English and lets not forget when we are talking about the language itself. this rule is applied in all cases expect when the subject is already about English (see how I did that? lol :biggrin:), or to give you another example, *The definite article in English for nouns is THE.* since we are talking about nouns (a part of the English language), usage of the words *the* and *language* is not necessary as it leads to repetition.
    about the article *THE* and why I insist it should be there.
    the language itself, English is something known and not rather new to us (something definite) therefore, the article *the* must be applied especially when talking about the subject in direct tems. usage of articles is among English's first lessons *all common nouns, with some exceptions, are expressed with a certain definiteness: definite or indefinite*

    lastly (no offence meant) your use of tenses is rather lacking and while your argument is both compelling and well thought out, its mere errors further enhance my argument that *the English language is hard to learn* or *English is a hard language to learn*
    having taken my English learning ways to a tertiary level, am more inclined to think that we as Africans do not take the language too seriously and that as we are, are light years from ever truly learning to be true speakers of this aesthetic language.

    feel free to have a poke at my argument :)
    regards, leh
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2016
  8. O

    Octavio MarcAssenga Member

    Aug 29, 2012
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    following the critical age hypothesis by Sapir Whorf in 1959 if not mistaken, any language is difficult to learn after age 11 so any language is simple to learn before age 11 due to language acquisition device that is internalized and inborn, the matter being one be introduced to linguistic environment!
  9. O

    Octavio MarcAssenga Member

    Aug 29, 2012
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    so u are beyond that critical age hypothesis and that is what i believe in..now, at your age u cant learn even the signs that could be used by the chagga, for example to shake hands for greetings..

    u should also include Noam Chomsky if my argument diverges that one i told u concerning Sapir Whorf..
  10. R

    Reginald12 JF-Expert Member

    Aug 29, 2012
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    Why do women irrespective of their age always seem to have it easy when it comes to acquiring additional languages?
  11. Vmark.

    Vmark. JF-Expert Member

    Aug 29, 2012
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    whe it comes to an ease on women acquisition of language, the matter be it the difference on vocal tracts capability between women and men in which women's is very sensitive than men's.. Refer to Noam Chomsky's LAD (language acquisition devices)
  12. leh

    leh JF-Expert Member

    Aug 29, 2012
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    the unlearnability of languages as put forth by Sapir Whorf is based on a too-strict, "worst-case" model of grammar, that is not in keeping with any actual grammar. learning of languages can be done at any age especially when we consider Noam Chomsky's (as u say) theory that all languages have a common structural basis- the Universal Grammar theory