Is learning English easy or difficult?

Many people believe that English is a difficult language to learn but is it really? When you compare English with some of the other most spoken languages in the world we can see that there are difficult things about the English language but there are also some very simple aspects.

What makes English difficult to learn?

Spelling: The spelling of English words is particularly difficult because the English alphabet has only 26 letters yet there are 44 sounds. For this reason English has phonemes which are 2 or 3 letters working together to represent a sound. For example, in the word “light” the letters “ght” together make a sound.

Pronunciation: Learning the pronunciation can be quite challenging for new learners. English is not a phonetic language like Spanish. In Spanish you pronounce a word the way it is spelled. In English, we often pronounce a word differently than it is spelled.  For example: THROUGH and THREW are pronounced the same, while DOUGH and TOUGH have very different pronunciations. The only way to master the pronunciation is through practice, lots of listening and trying to imitate the native speakers´ way of speaking.

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Homophones: How do you pronounce these two words: BLUE and BLEW?

 Which of these two grows in a garden: FLOWER or FLOUR? Have you ever read a word in English and you are not sure how it is pronounced? Or you need to write a word in English but you can’t remember how it’s spelled?

Homophones are two words that have the same pronunciation but have different spellings and different meanings. The English language has many homophones and they often cause a lot of confusion to English learners.

Here is a list of some of the more commonly used homophones and some examples to help you understand the different meanings:

Children, you are not allowed to stand up on the chairs!
Don’t say it aloud, it’s a secret!

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