For those that learned English as a second language, What was your biggest challenge?

For those that learned English as a second language, What was your biggest challenge?

What do you think?


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  1. When talking of an action done in the past, when you use “did” the verb that follows needs to be in present tense.
    So not “he did went”, but “he did GO”, for example.

    I know native speakers do that naturally, and when you get the language it makes sense, since the word “did” already indicates past tense, but that used to confuse me all the time when I was a kid.

    Also the spelling can seem completely random at times.

  2. Pronouncing words that have groups of letters that can be read in a number of different ways, and you just have to know which one applies in each case.
    And disguising my accent so people can’t immediately tell where I’m from. My aim was to lose it entirely but it’s become clear to me that that ain’t happening…

  3. Sentences where you got a variation of “th” sounds and normal “t” or “d” or others. I find “th” to be difficult to speak and when you have multiple “th” sounds in one sentence i tend to fall over them or say the typical german “ze” instead

  4. Pronunciation. English-speakers don’t realize this, but English has exactly 0 (zero) rules about how things should be pronounced.

    My native language is phonetic. That means you just need to learn how to pronounce 30 letters, and you can instantly read my native language. You will have 0 idea what you’re reading, but you can read it out loud with minimal problems. In English, you need to learn how to pronounce around 1000 words before you can start reading something that’s written in English.

    It’s completely unintuitive. Humans naturally expect syllables to be pronounced the same regardless of the word, but the English language is packed full of heteronyms. Read, read, tear, tear, lead, lead, object, object.

    In my native language, these would all be homonyms (spelled the same, pronounced the same, different meanings).

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