Of all the many hundreds and thousands of languages around the world, English can be considered as one of the most difficult to learn. There are many reasons why learning English is such a difficult task. The following are some of the most frequent obstacles a learner of English may encounter:

Motivation
This is the most common of the external factors that a learner may feel discouraged about learning. Many learners give up because of low self esteem as they develop self defeating thoughts such as “I can’t learn”, “I am too slow”, “I’m too old” or “I don’t think I’m cut out to learn”. Other reasons include: poor teaching methods of schools, insufficient time to learn because of jobs or other activities and a lack of an adequate support system.

Organisation
In most English language schools, the learning materials used and the teaching methods are not adequate. Learners are often left to study on their own, leaving them confused as to what they are supposed to learn.

Method of Learning
Most methods adopted by language schools are doing writing exercises and reading texts from books. This can be boring and unexciting. Instead learner should be encouraged to take advantage of new and innovative methods of learning. Such as the internet and electronic learning devices where they are able to learn English whenever and wherever they like. Participating in forums and chat rooms also allow them to further improve their learning of the language.

Grammar
To most learners, this is the most confusing part about learning English. This is because nouns, adjectives and adverbs are very different from those of their mother tongues. Since there is no specific order in grammar, learning and understanding the usage of the many different sentence structures takes time and effort.

Pronunciation
Another confusing and frustrating aspect of learning English is in pronunciation because it can vary depending on the situations. For example, vowel sounds and consonant can vary in words like “the” and “thought”. Some letters can be pronounced in many different ways while some are silent.

Verb Tenses
The English language consists of many varied nuances in the use of verb tenses. These nuances are difficult to comprehend for new learners. For example, the correct usage of verb tenses such as sing, sang and sung can be both complex and frustrating.

English Slang
There are so many slangs, phrases and jargons in the English Language that can give learners a hard time. And when these are mixed together, it becomes even more complicated. An example is the phrase: fanning the issue.

Expectations
Many learners have unreasonably high expectations. They start an English learning program thinking that they can easily pick up the language. However, they usually become discouraged and lose interest when they start to encounter difficulties.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to learning the English language. It is important that learners must enjoy the experience by seeking out new, fun and creative methods of learning English. The result is tremendous satisfaction in conquering the language.

About the Author

CY Lack is an experienced educator. He has been teaching English and Mathematics for more than 15 years. His mission in life is trying to improve the English standards of students in Singapore. His website is at Learn English Singapore

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