English Grammar

English grammar not easy, but rewards are great

It is a fact that the English language is far-reaching and influential around the world: in commerce, literature/media, and even in everyday vernacular. It’s not unusual to hear English terms sprayed about in other languages, especially with media and film-savvy youngsters. “Cool” is probably used in almost every language in a developed country. Therefore, English grammar is taught in almost every country.

There are differing theories regarding the difficulty of English grammar for speakers of other languages. A native speaker of Chinese may have more difficulty in learning English grammar as opposed to a native German speaker because German is very closely related to English, and Chinese is not. Same with Spanish — many words in that language are written and used the same way as in English grammar.

The main problems for non-English speakers trying to learn the language is the mistakes of pronunciation and syntax, which is believed to be the result of confusing vocabulary items, known as “false friends,” or failure to apply the third person to the present singular “s” verbs, such as “she make.” There are also cultural perceptions that can come into play. For example, Chinese learners do not view interaction and discussion in the classroom as important as do American and British students.

Active classroom participation helps learning the English grammar

Active classroom participation helps learning the English grammar

Also, learners of the language whose first language has fewer sounds may have difficulties in the pronunciation. The words with “th” in them are somewhat rare in other languages, and many have difficulty pronouncing “th.” The Japanese have problems with “r” and “l,” and the distinction between “v” and “b” can be difficult for Tagalog, Spanish and Korean speakers.

English can have as many as three consonants in a row (with consonsants meaning sounds not letters: “ng” and “th” are two letters respectively representing one sound), such as “strengths” or “desks,” whereas in Japanese, there are vowels put in between, such as when “desks” becomes “deukusu.”

English grammar has a large number of tense and mood formations with subtle differences, such as “I have eaten” and “I ate,” which can be problematic for non-English speakers.

English also has many idiomatic uses, such as “make” and “do.” One makes a mistake, but does not do a mistake. The amount of articles is also high in English grammar. The definite and indefinite articles, for instance. Then there are the zero (or no) articles. Indefinite and zero articles can be easier for non-English speakers, but the others are not because the native language may lack articles or use them differently.

It is very important that non-English speakers interact with native speakers to learn English grammar. This includes interacting in the classroom and with teachers. Teacher-led discussion is not as productive as classroom participation, and extra-curricular activities aid the learning of English grammar tremendously.

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