What makes one language harder or easier to be taught than another? Sadly, there is no such thing as a one simple answer. There are some languages which have a number of traits that make them relatively difficult to learn. But it relies upon a lot more on what languages you already know, particularly your native language, the one (or ones) you grew up speaking.
Your native language The language you have been surrounded with as you grew up (or languages, for these lucky sufficient to develop up speaking more than one language) is the most influential factor on the way you be taught other languages. Languages that share a number of the qualities and traits of your native English shall be simpler to learn. Languages that have very little in frequent with your native English will likely be much harder. Most languages will fall somewhere in the middle.
This goes each ways. Although it is a stretch to say that English is harder than Chinese, it is safe to say the native Chinese speaker probably has practically as hard a time to be taught English as the native English speaker has when learning Chinese. If you’re learning Chinese right now, that’s probably little comfort to you.
Associated languages Learning a language carefully related to your native language, or one other that you just already speak, is way easier than learning a very alien one. Related languages share many characteristics and this tends to make them simpler to be taught as there are less new ideas to deal with.
Since English is a Germanic language, Dutch, German and the Scandinavian languages (Danish, Norwegian and Swedish) are all carefully related and thus, simpler to be taught than an unrelated tongue. Some other languages associated in some way to English are Spanish, Italian and French, the more distant Irish and Welsh and even Russian, Greek, Hindi and Urdu, Farsi (of Iran) and Pashto (of Afghanistan).
English shares no ancestry with languages like Arabic, Korean, Japanese and Chinese, all languages considered hard by English standards.
Related grammar A type of traits which are typically shared between associated languages. In Swedish, word order and verb conjugation is mercifully just like English which makes learning it a lot simpler than say German, which has a notoriously more complex word order and verb conjugation. Although both languages are related to English, German kept it’s more complicated grammar, the place English and Swedish have largely dropped it.
The Romance languages (French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and a number of other languages) are famous for sharing many characteristics. It’s not stunning since all of them developed from Latin. It is very widespread for someone who learns one of these languages to go on and learn one or two others. They’re so similar at occasions that it seems which you can learn the others at a reduced cost in effort.
Commonalities in grammar don’t just happen in related languages. Very completely different ones can share similar qualities as well. English and Chinese actually have relatedities in their grammar, which partly makes up for among the other difficulties with Chinese.
Cognates and borrowed vocabulary. This is a type of characteristics that make the Romance languages so similar. And in this, in addition they share with English. The Romance languages all have the huge majority of their vocabulary from Latin. English has borrowed much of its vocabulary directly from Latin and what it did not get there, it just borrowed from French. There is an enormous amount of French vocabulary in English. One other reason that Spanish, French and Italian are
considered simpler than different languages.
There are always borrowings of vocabulary between languages, and not always between associated languages. There is a stunning amount of English vocabulary in Japanese. It is a little disguised by Japanese pronunciation, however it’s to discover it.
Sounds Obviously, languages sound different. Although all humans use basically the same sounds, there always seems to be some sounds in other languages that we just don’t have in our native language. Some are strange or tough to articulate. Some can be quite subtle. A Spanish ‘o’ isn’t precisely the same as an English ‘o.’ And then there are some vowel sounds in French, for example, that just don’t exist in English. While a French ‘r’ may be very totally different from English, a Chinese ‘r’ is
actually very similar.
It may well take some time to get comfortable with these new sounds, though I think that faking it is acceptable till you will get a greater handle on them. Many people don’t put sufficient effort into this aspect of learning and this makes some languages appear harder to learn than they should be.
Tones A number of languages use tones, a rising or falling pitch when a word is pronounced. This might be very subtle and tough for somebody who has never used tones before. This is likely one of the main reasons Chinese is hard for native English speakers.
Chinese isn’t the only language to make use of tones, and not all of them are from unique far-off lands. Swedish uses tones, though it just isn’t practically as complex or difficult as Chinese tones. This is the kind of thing that can only really be discovered by listening to native speakers.
By the way, there are examples of tone use in English but they’re only a few, often used only in specific situations, and aren’t part of the pronunciation of individual words. For instance, in American English it’s widespread to boost the tone of our voice on the finish of a question. It isn’t quite the identical thing, but for those who think about it that way, it may make a tone language a little less intimidating.
The writing system Some languages use a distinct script or writing system and this can have a major impact on whether or not a language is hard to be taught or not. Many European languages use the identical script as English but in addition include a few different symbols not in English to signify sounds specific to that language (think of the ‘o’ with a line by way of it in Norwegian, or the ‘n’ with a little squiggly over it in Spanish). These are usually not tough to learn.
However some languages go farther and have a unique alphabet altogether. Greek, Hindi, Russian and most of the other Slavic languages of Japanese Europe all use a different script. This adds to the complexity when learning a language. Some languages, like Hebrew and Arabic, are also written from proper to left, further adding difficulty.
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