Is English Hard to Learn?
The English language, with its rapidly expanding vocabulary, potentially confusing grammar rules, and diverse dialects, is often perceived as challenging to master. But, is English hard to learn? The answer will surprise you.
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Table of Contents
- Why Can English Be Challenging To Learn?
- Two Revolutions That Make English Fast And Easy To Learn
- How Can I Learn To Speak English With Confidence?
- Try Our Fluent For Life Online English Program
Why Can English Be Challenging To Learn?
Several factors can make Learning English challenging. First, English vocabulary is vast and evolving constantly. For example, the word “bad” can sometimes mean “good.” So keeping up with new words, slang meanings, phrases and cultural references can be hard.
Additionally, listening and pronunciation can be tricky to improve because English is spoken in many places across the world. Furthermore, English has irregular phonetic patterns that often break spelling rules. And words with the same sound but different spellings can cause even more frustration. To make matters worse, most English students learn pronunciation by studying random words, instead of learning them in the order natives use to make pronunciation and spelling much easier.
Learn more about the native approach to listening and pronunciation with our
Frederick: Learn to Read app.
We could continue listing complications learners have, such as with understanding different tenses, remembering words, and finding people to speak with. But, contrary to the popular belief that English is inherently hard to learn, the REAL reason so many learners struggle to develop fluency is because of how English is taught.
Traditional “second language” methods focus on rule memorization, which can make English MORE confusing. The English taught in lessons is also very different from conversational speech, which is why natives sometimes sound like they’re speaking “a different language.” Fortunately, two revolutions have nearly eliminated ALL of these issues!
Two Revolutions That Make English Fast And Easy To Learn
English is now easier to learn than ever before thanks to two revolutionary developments:
The first is the discovery of language researchers like Dr. Stephen Krashen. They found that fluency is achieved through UNDERSTANDING a language well enough to confidently express oneself, rather than by speaking before you feel comfortable.
I know this sounds “backwards,” and likely hard to believe, since many learners are told you must live around natives, and speak every day to become fluent. So let me tell you a quick story to show how easy learning English can be.
When I was a boy, I liked a superhero named Superman. I saw that he was more powerful than a normal man, so I guessed that “super” means “better than something else.” People also talked about “supersizes” of things, like shirts or drinks, which are much bigger than regular sizes.
But one day, while watching an opera at a theater with my mom, I noticed that there were words on a screen above the performance. I said to my mom, “Wow, they have subtitles, like a movie!”
My mom replied, “Those are actually called supertitles, since they’re above the performance. Subtitles are at the bottom of the screen on a movie.”
Almost instantly, I understood that “super” means above, beyond, better than something else. At the same time, I realized that “sub” means “under,” like how a submarine can travel below the surface of water.
YOU now understand “super” more deeply, too, so you’ll use it with greater confidence! Isn’t that cool? Wasn’t that much easier than trying to memorize some definition or translation?
This story proves that we become more fluent as we get more understandable INPUT, rather than through the OUTPUT of saying things repeatedly to ourselves or others. It also demonstrates that the job of the teacher is to make English clear and understandable, rather than to give lists of words or rules that students will likely forget.
I call this method learning English as a FIRST language, as opposed to learning English though translations, or other “second language” methods. Continue learning words this way and you will make super progress, FAST!
The second breakthrough that makes NOW the easiest time to learn English is the Internet.
Of course, apps and platforms allow you to meet natives online. But the real “goldmine” of the Internet is easy access to LOTS of native, understandable INPUT. This allows you to improve you English by yourself anywhere, with examples and stories like the one I gave about “super,” even if you live in some small village far from native English speakers.
Whatever topic you’re interested in, you can get examples of natives talking about this from blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos and countless other sources. You can learn how to give presentations, watch people cooking, get tips for training your dog, see how natives have conversations, and anything else. The opportunities are limitless, and you can usually find exactly what you need for your hobby, personal interest, or career, in a few clicks!
The only problem is there’s really TOO MUCH information available. It can be hard to find exactly what you need to improve for your level of English. So if you want step by step help learning the exact content you need to become a confident English speaker, you’ll love Fluent For Life.
How Can I Learn To Speak English With Confidence?
Learning to speak English with confidence involves various strategies and consistent, understandable input. Here are some tips to help you improve your English, and learn to speak like a native:
- Build a strong foundation, the NATIVE way: Focus on learning basic grammar rules, vocabulary, and sentence structure, with lots of VARIED input. Like I explained above, choose a topic, such as a grammar point or some subject you’re interested in, and get varied examples from blogs, TV shows or websites. This “naturally varied review” makes the language easier to understand, like how you learned your native language, and will give you the true practice that builds fluency. As you understand more, you’ll unlock the confidence to speak!
- Actively listen: Surround yourself with English audio content such as our video lessons. Pay close attention to pronunciation and intonation patterns, while trying to understand native speakers in different contexts.
- Try to think in English: The more you understand things from native examples, the more you will naturally think in English, which boosts your ability to speak without hesitation. Do this by looking for English content you can understand WITHOUT needing translations.
- Practice speaking regularly: AFTER you feel comfortable enough to speak about a topic, find opportunities to engage in conversations in English as frequently as possible. Look for natives who share your interests to speak with, rather than typical language learning groups, because you want lots of natural input from real situations. Find ways to meet natives who are EXCITED to speak with you in Fluent For Life.
- Practice reading out loud: Reading aloud allows you to practice pronunciation and improve fluency without feeling self-conscious or being judged by others. You can also listen to audiobooks and try to mimic the sound of native voices. Make this even easier by trying to mimic their voice in your head before saying things out loud.
- Expand your vocabulary gradually: Set aside time each day for learning new words, and try to use them when conversing with others. You can do this by learning about new topics, or by going deeper into topics you want to know more about.
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If you KNOW a lot of English but still struggle to communicate, “Let us show you the fastest way to learn English. Our program will help you speak confidently by making English understandable. That’s the REAL secret to speaking success. So if you forget words, worry about pronunciation, have trouble understanding natives, or experience any other frustrations with English communication, click here to unlock your ability to speak with Fluent For Life!
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