Related posts

5 main difficulties ESL students have to face

Posted in English Language by Cristina on 08 Jul 2016

While studying English you may have noticed that there are certain areas which cause difficulties. You have been learning the language for years and keep making mistakes again and again. Rest assured that you are not the only one - there are millions of students around the world who face the same problems.


Depending on your native language English pronunciation may seem either complicated or very complicated. First of all, when you just start speaking, no one seems to understand you. You want to get a tall medium roast coffee at a coffee shop, but you get a grande cup of hazelnut cappuccino. Well, it might be a slight exaggeration, but I hope you know what I am talking about. Secondly, there are tons of silent letters (you have to spell them, but you don't pronounce them), for example, knee, knight, psychology, to name a few. You can hardly figure out the pronunciation from spelling. Say, -ough in dough, bought, and through is pronounced absolutely in different ways.


English has a vast number of words and therefore, students find it tricky and challenging. It has various roots and has been influenced by so many languages (like Latin, Greek, French, etc.) that it actually has one of the biggest amount of words. Some words may have exactly the same meaning to you, but they are used in different situations. You can also realize that some words have positive or negative connotations and they are used accordingly.


I have met so many ESL students who hate Grammar that it is hard to count. I cannot agree more! There are active tenses and passive, there are infinitive and gerunds, there are adjectives and adverbs and they have a strict order. Let's not forget all the exceptions to the rules! I'll tell you what, it is a real challenge not only for the learners of English, but for the native speakers as well. "I have done" or "I did"? Or may be "I had done"? Or "I had it done"?


One of the most common complaints I have heard from ESL students of higher levels is related to these two aspects. It's actually a part of vocabulary, but I decided to separate it here. Once you master basic things and rules in the language, you feel more confident about expressing your thoughts and ideas. You can participate in conversations with native speakers and they totally understand you! But then someone says, "hit the sack" or "go cold turkey" and you get as confused as one can be.


We all know there are English-speaking countries where English is the primary language and all people can communicate in it. The problem is, the English they speak in New Zealand, for example, is different from the one they use in Canada, Scottish English is different from Australian, while American is different from Irish English. Pronunciation, vocabulary, even grammar rules can differ, though it is considered to be the same language.