There are many good reasons to learn English as second language. There are more than 6,000 different languages spoken all over the world, but English is and will continue to be a common means of communication for speakers of all languages.
According to the most recent statistics, English is the mother tongue of more than 375 million people. English is the official language in 54 countries that cover Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Australasia, and which include countries as diverse as New Zealand, South Africa, Belize, India, Malta, and Singapore. This means that English is a truly universal language that makes communication across the globe easy and convenient.
In addition, English is the world’s most popular second language choice. The British Council estimates that more than 1 billion people are learning English as a second language at any given time. English is taught at school as a second language in hundreds of countries all over the world, from France to Thailand, Israel to Malaysia, in Sweden, China, and in many other countries. Because English is taught all over the world, you will never feel alone during your learning process, and it will be very easy to find other English learners who can share their experiences with you during your wonderful journey through the world of ESL.
Difficulties for English Learners
So you have decided to learn English as second language. Are you afraid of making mistakes? If you are, don’t let your fears become an obstacle and stop you from achieving your goals. You’re not alone: Language learners often make mistakes because they are influenced by their native language. The best strategy is to become familiar with the most common difficulties that you face when learning English as second language. This will help you avoid them and develop successful learning patterns.
Do you feel frustrated every time you try to communicate in English and people fail to understand you? It’s possible that you are pronouncing certain sounds incorrectly. For example, English vowel sounds are notoriously difficult to master for speakers of languages like Spanish or Italian. Why? There are only 5 vowel sounds in Spanish, but there can be up to 20 vowel sounds in English. Chinese speakers may have problems pronouncing the different “r” sounds in English, and Arabic speakers find it difficult to pronounce the “p” sound, as it doesn’t exist in their mother tongue.
Syntax and grammar
Many learners transfer the grammatical patterns of their first language into English. For example, many Asian languages do not use articles (a, an, the), which results in incorrect sentences like “My mother is doctor”. Spanish speakers might translate directly from Spanish into English and say things like “I have 20 years old”. French speakers may have problems with word order and construct incorrect sentences like “I play sometimes football” or “he is your brother?”.
Problems with vocabulary
The incorrect use of vocabulary is another common challenge. English has dozens of “false friends’: Words that are similar in your mother tongue and in English but which mean different things. For example, “piles” means batteries in French and the word also exists in English, but it doesn’t mean batteries at all (it actually means hemorrhoids). Spanish speakers might misuse the word “sympathetic” (which means compassionate in English), thinking that it means the same as the Spanish word “simpatico” (friendly).
At Lingoda we believe that difficulties are opportunities to learn and we can help you improve your English language skills with our interactive learning methods and experienced native teachers.
Benefits of Learning English as a Second Language
Learning English as a second language could be one of the best decisions that you ever make. Being fluent in English can help you in many ways, whether you are planning to travel, study in an English-speaking country, emigrate, or improve your career prospects. Think about the following:
- English is the most popular language on the Internet. In 2010, the world wide web had more than 536 million English-speaking users. Nearly 5.5 billion websites are available in English.
- Approximately 66 per cent of the world’s scientists and researchers use English as a second language.
- Twenty-five per cent of the world’s population speak English at basic-intermediate level.
- You simply can’t get into some professions unless you are competent in English. Some of these professions include air traffic controller, the diplomatic sector, and some jobs in the computing or information technology industry.
- If you want to live and work in an English-speaking country, immigration authorities will ask that you have a certificate that proves your English language skills.
To sum up, we live in a globalised world where only competent English speakers have the best opportunities to progress and get ahead in their personal and professional lives.