If you are aware of the biggest challenges of learning English and learn how to overcome them, then you will have a much better chance of becoming fluent in English quickly.
Here are 5 of the biggest challenges of learning English:
This is one of the most difficult aspects of English for students to master. It is a challenge, especially knowing the correct verb variations and understanding which tense should be used in different situations.
At first concentrate on learning the most frequently used English vocabulary for your practical real life needs.
Another effective method for learning English vocabulary is to read extensively about a variety of topics. Start with subjects that really interest you. For example, if you are interested in Personal Development then read magazines on that topic.
English Grammar can be confusing especially when you are having a conversation with someone who talks fast. The way to become good at it is to practise using it until it becomes automatic for you.
Sometimes the correct pronunciation of a word can be confusing. One particular problem is that around 60% of English words contain silent letters. It’s important to know when letters are silent and when they should be pronounced because, to mispronounce a word can change its meaning.
Common examples are knee, knight and knowledge where the k is silent.
There are some rules that explain when letters are supposed to be silent, which you can download here.
Once you start practising these rules it will become easier to remember when letters are silent.
4. Slang, idioms and colloquialism
It is harder for foreign students to learn informal and slang vocabulary than it is to learn formal English vocabulary. It is not taught in school. One solution is to have one-on-one lessons from a native English speaker. Another is to listen to podcasts or watch TV or films on YouTube. Another is to read a modern best-selling book. This is a good method because it gives you time to look up the meaning of a word in a dictionary of slang like the Online Slang Dictionary.
Knowing slang will help you to understand peoples’ conversations. Remember that slang should only be used in informal conversations. It could be embarrassing and inappropriate to use it in a formal situation. For example avoid using it in an IELTS exam.
5. Arrangement of Words
Other challenges in learning and using English vocabulary include the correct order of words in a sentence.
The word order in a sentence is different from one language to another. Because of this students from different countries can experience different challenges.
The solution is to practise reading, writing, speaking and listening to something English every day. One website which is good for this is BBC Six Minutes where you can watch a six minute video of two people having a conversation. Watch the video, stopping frequently and repeating what you have just heard. Listen again and write out what you think they were saying and compare it to the transcript beneath the video. This will develop all four skills, reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Do something every day and you will quickly make progress.
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When I first started to learn English, the order of words was so much a problem for me! In Spanish it does not work with the adjective second, but in English it does, and it’s very confusing! It took a lot of practice to get it right, but I understand it very well now.