Luckily for them, there are now, more than ever, a plethora of great resources on the Web to make this challenge easier.
English contains a number of sounds and sound distinctions not present in some other languages. Speakers of languages without these sounds may have problems both with hearing and with pronouncing them.
Native speakers of ArabicTagalogJapaneseKoreanand important dialects of all current Iberian Romance languages including most of Spanish have difficulty distinguishing [b] and [v], what is known as betacism.
This is present in some English registers—known as l-vocalization —but may be shunned as substandard or bring confusion in others.
Languages may also differ in syllable structure ; English allows for a cluster of up to three consonants before the vowel and five after it e. Japanese and Brazilian Portuguesefor example, broadly alternate consonant and vowel sounds so learners from Japan and Brazil often force vowels between the consonants e.
Similarly, in most Iberian dialects, a word can begin with [s], and [s] can be followed by a consonant, but a word can never begin with [s] immediately followed by a consonant, so learners whose mother tongue is in this language family often have a vowel in front of the word e.
Grammar[ edit ] Tense, aspect, and mood — English has a relatively large number of tense—aspect—mood forms with some quite subtle differences, such as the difference between the simple past "I ate" and the present perfect "I have eaten".
Progressive and perfect progressive forms add complexity. Functions of auxiliaries — Learners of English tend to find it difficult to manipulate the various ways in which English uses auxiliary verbs. These include negation e. He hasn't been drinking.
Has he been drinking? Modal verbs — English has several modal auxiliary verbswhich each has a number of uses. These verbs convey a special sense or mood such as obligation, necessity, ability, probability, permission, possibility, prohibition, intention etc.
These include "must", "can", "have to", "need to", "will", "shall", "ought to", "will have to", "may", and "might". For example, the opposite of "You must be here at 8" obligation is usually "You don't have to be here at 8" lack of obligation, choice.
This complexity takes considerable work for most English language learners to master. All these modal verbs or "modals" take the first form of the verb after them.
These modals most of them do not have past or future inflection, i. Idiomatic usage — English is reputed to have a relatively high degree of idiomatic usage. Another example is the idiomatic distinction between "make" and "do": Articles — English has two forms of article: In addition, at times English nouns can or indeed must be used without an article; this is called the zero article.
Some of the differences between definite, indefinite and zero article are fairly easy to learn, but others are not, particularly since a learner's native language may lack articles, have only one form, or use them differently from English.
Although the information conveyed by articles is rarely essential for communication, English uses them frequently several times in the average sentence so that they require some effort from the learner.
Vocabulary[ edit ] Phrasal verbs — Phrasal verbs also known as multiple-word verbs in English can cause difficulties for many learners because of their syntactic pattern and because they often have several meanings.
There are also a number of phrasal verb differences between American and British English. For example, the prepositions "on" rely on, fall on"of" think of, because of, in the vicinity ofand "at" turn at, meet at, start at are used in so many different ways and contexts, it is very difficult to remember the exact meaning for each one.
When translating back to the ESL learners' respective L1, a particular preposition's translation may be correct in one instance, but when using the preposition in another sense, the meaning is sometimes quite different. Min is the Arabic word for "from", so it means one "from" my friends.
Word formation — Word formation in English requires a lot of rote learning. For example, an adjective can be negated by using the prefixes un- e.
Size of lexicon — The history of English has resulted in a very large vocabulary, including one stream from Old English and one from the Norman infusion of Latin -derived terms. One estimate of the lexicon puts English at aroundunique words.English Language Articles.
Articles about learning, using and teaching the English language, including advice, tutorials, opinions and lesson plans from various authors and contributors. ESL go is a free English community of ESL students and ESL teachers.
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