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The Challenge of Learning English as a Second Language

The Challenge of Learning English as a Second Language | ITTT | TEFL Blog

The process of learning a foreign language is not an easy one because they are expected to cover various aspects, and the challenges faced could cause a learner to take a longer time to learn the new language.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Payton P. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Students’ Feelings

One of the difficulties that learners face is their attitude towards learning the language. An individuals' attitude relates to how they feel about something. Some of the learners have to learn English for job purposes and their reaction towards the language may be negative. Their negative attitude may arise from stress, fear, or even anxiety.

These feelings result in the individual developing a negative attitude and their ability to grasp the language is affected. The pressure to learn English can also be overwhelming for a foreigner, and if the process is not as easy as they expected, they become frustrated and demotivated to carry on. The solution that works in such situations is for the individual to avoid the negative feelings from distorting their perception about English so that they can learn successfully.

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Language Aspects

The other difficulty that students of the English language experience are grammar and vocabulary. There are many rules of English grammar and each is applicable in a specific situation and time. These rules can become confusing, especially when a learner is trying to construct a sentence or hold a conversation in English. It is crucial to use the grammar correctly to avoid any misunderstanding because incorrect grammatical sentences can deliver a different message than the one intended by the speaker. Grammar is necessary for giving meaning to communication and considering it can sometimes be a problem even for the native speakers, the challenge is even greater for the foreigner.

I have also noted that pronunciation is not an easy thing. The pronunciation of words is not easy for someone who has just been introduced to English. Pronunciation is what one can use to tell a native speaker and a foreigner apart. The pronunciation problem is the reason a student may take a long time in learning English. The first language of an individual is sometimes the reason for the challenge they experience in pronouncing English words.

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Cultural Specifics

The English language has lots of slang and colloquialism, and these are not easy things to grasp for someone who has been used to using their native language. It takes time for them to master all the colloquialism expressions as well as the slang. The other issue noted is that the accent is also an issue. After years of speaking the native language, it is difficult to speak a second language with the correct accent. This too also takes time for a learner to learn.

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Although these difficulties are many, it does not mean that a learner should give up trying. There are measures that I advise them to take to enhance their ability to understand and speak English. The best way is through practice. A learner that wants to become fluent in English should practice it. They should expect to make mistakes, but from these mistakes, they will learn to speak the language better. The other secret to overcoming the challenges is through reading. They should practice reading some things written in English every day such as magazines to improve their language skills. However, it advisable to start reading simple English before moving to hard English.

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