Even though it does not have many of the most difficult language features other languages have like grammatical gender, grammatical cases, adjective inflection, etc. it still contains some headaches to face while learning it. In this article we are going to talk about a few of them:
1 - Spelling
Even English native speakers know that English spelling is a mess. There are many different causes for this mess like the influence of Latin and French languages, gradual vowel changes, etc. As the result, we see a language with so many irregular spelling cases that you have to learn the spelling of each word one by one.
However, English can become easier for more advanced learners and those familiar with French or Latin. If you are an elementary learner do not be disappointed by a few spelling errors, spelling mistakes in English are very common and it takes time and effort to learn English spelling.
2 - Pronunciation
English Pronunciation is also affected by influence from other languages and vowel changes. If you are an English learner, learning IPA or “International Phonetic Alphabet” is a must for you. It is difficult to guess word pronunciation just by looking at them, you need to learn pronunciations one by one because of the number of exceptions and irregularities.
Apart from that, the English language has one of the most complicated vowel systems among all languages. Depending on the accent you are learning there are between 15 to 20 different vowels with a sound very similar to each other and hard to recognize for non-Europeans.
3 - Auxiliary verbs
Using auxiliary verbs is common among Indo-European languages but the English language uses auxiliary very excessively. There are tenses in English like future perfect continuous that use three different auxiliary verbs, one after another and if you try to make a passive sentence in this tense you will face four.
Auxiliary verbs also play a key part in the sentence. Apart from showing tense, the mood of passive/active voice, they are used to negate the sentence (make it negative) or make questions. It may be surprising for you to see how much English grammar is about learning how to use auxiliary verbs.
4 - Tenses
Instead of using moods or adverbs, English uses tenses to show conditions and situations. Tenses in English do not only show time, they can also be used to show the effect of your action in time or whether you are assuming something in the future or planning something.
For non-English speakers, even native speakers of a European language, one of the challenges in learning English is to recognize how and when to use each tense and the difference between tenses in the English language.
5 - Vocabulary
No one can claim that they know all the words in one language, but in English, that claim is even more absurd. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, English contains more than 170 thousand words. Even though you will be able to communicate with around 10,000 words, as an advanced English learner you will face new words all the time. Even English native speakers need to look up words from time to time.
Mastering English vocabulary can be a difficult task that needs years of practice and even then you always need a good dictionary available because there is always something to learn.
6 - Homonyms
Homonyms are words that are written the same but have different meanings; Like the word ‘kind’ (if it’s an adjective describing a person it means ‘warm-hearted’ and if it is used as a noun it means ‘type’). Almost all languages contain homonyms but English uses them far more frequently. One of the reasons is the lack of verb suffixes in English. Many languages have verb conjugation from which verbs and nouns can be easily differentiated, but English does not have this feature and it makes it much more common for you to encounter Homonyms.