G'day everyone..
As a native English speaker, I'm often reminded of the how in the English language there seem to be so many exceptions to grammatical rules, or of strange methods of spelling, for example cough, versus rough, versus plough..
or
wright, versus rite, versus right,..
Because of this, we're told that English is a difficult language to learn.

I'm just wondering how hard non-native speakers found English to learn. Does the lack of a gender system make it easier / harder? Are the inconsistencies in spelling / grammar difficult? What about irregular verbs...

My feeling is that all languages would have these inconsistencies to some degree...(wasn't it Mark Twain who said that in German there are more irregular verbs than regular verbs???), and in fact English is not necessarily an especially difficult language to learn.

Firstly, I'm interested in the thoughts of European (French, German, Italian, Spanish etc etc) speakers on this, and..

especially of other languages (Asian, African, Native American etc etc)

Thanks all, Stupot
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I'm just wondering how hard non-native speakers found English to learn.Does the lack of a gender system make it easier / harder? Are theinconsistencies in spelling / grammar difficult? What about irregular verbs...

I'm not commenting as a native speaker but as a teacher of EFL. With regard to irregular verbs, often they don't even come into the equation as they just don't get used in any tense apart from present simple. I'm talking here about learners whose native language doesn't have a tense system such as ours, in particular (in my experience)Chinese and Japanese.

With many Europeans I find that the progressive tenses get overused. Both Germans and French tend to put past events into present perfect, directly translating from their own languages.
Three things learners of English find mind-boggling:-

~ Phrasal verbs. Take a common verb - say, 'get', and add one or more prepositions - get off, get away, get over, get off with, get with it, get through, get in with, and a million others, each of which functions as a semantic verb in its own right and may have little connection in meaning with the base verb. Students are sometimes told that there is a single word synonym for each phrasal verb but either there isn't (synonym for 'get over' as in 'recover from a bereavment'?) or if there is you'd sound a dork if you used it ('got in with' the crowd in the pub or 'became assimilated with them?'-which isn't really even an exact synonym)

~ articles - The Atlantic Ocean, but not *The Everest, Modern Society but The permissive society etc ad infinitum
~ more than one tense system, especially perfect v simple aspect - 'I've put the kettle# on' (it hasn't boiled yet) v 'I put the kettle on' (this morning), 'I've seen Lord of the Rings' v 'I saw..'

Not from Hampshire are you?
#(automatic and not possibly available in the US).
DCC - also an EFL teacher
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
~ articles - The Atlantic Ocean, but not *The Everest, Modern Society but The permissive society etc ad infinitum

No - articles don't cause a problem - they just don't get used!! I've had advanced Polish/Russian/Finnish as well as Asian students who completely ignore them in speaking. Even immigrant Eastern Europeans who have been here since after the war and can otherwise speak good English don't get to grips with them. Writing's a different matter - students do try to use them but don't get them right.
The Japanese have a problem with yes/no in reply to a negative question or statement, e.g.
Have you ever seen a play by Shakespeare?
No, I haven't.
So you haven't seen the film Romeo and Juliet?
Yes.
It seems as though the Japanese agree with the speaker rather than the fact.
The Japanese have a problem with yes/no in reply to a negative question or statement, e.g. Have you ever seen ... the film Romeo and Juliet? Yes. It seems as though the Japanese agree with the speaker rather than the fact.

That's how it works in Japanese. For example:
Don't you know who he is?
Yes, I don't.
whereas in English, we expect 'No, I don't.'
G'day everyone.. As a native English speaker, I'm often reminded of the how in the English language there seem to ... to learn. Firstly, I'm interested in the thoughts of European (French, German, Italian, Spanish etc etc) speakers on this, and..

I was relatively young (around 15) when I learned English, and I found it to be very easy to pick up. My native language is Latvian (it has very complex grammar), and at the time I started learning English I was also fluent in German (with easier grammar than that of Latvian). My main problem was mixing German into my English, because of the many similarities in those languages.
Enlish spelling has never given me problems, and the grammar, compared to Latvian, is child's play. I never actually studied English grammar I just picked it up naturally and intuitively.
I have been said to have a knack for languages, so others might not agree with my evaluation.
Now my German is quite poor (foreign languages tend to become that after 50 years of non-use), but my Latvian is still passable (I have used it on a few occasions in the last 50 years).
especially of other languages (Asian, African, Native American etc etc)

Skitt (in Hayward, California)
www.geocities.com/opus731/
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Enlish spelling has never given me problems

If you say so.

Mike Nitabach
Enlish spelling has never given me problems,

Me neither, except for license, judgment, concomitant, discrete, desperate, Quran, and Delaware.
\\P. Schultz
Enlish spelling has never given me problems,

Me neither, except for license, judgment, concomitant, discrete, desperate, Quran, and Delaware.

Oh, and also Cincinnati and Albuquerque.
\\P. Schultz
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