English is failry easy to learn for other European speakers due to the simpler grammar compared with German, Italian, French etc, but for Chinese and Japanese speakers it will be difficult because they also have to learn a new alphabet and the sounds of each letter.
Actually, it has nothing to do with the letters. The Chinese have already approapriated the Roman letters for Pinyin, so even if they stopped learning English, they would still need to learn Roman letters as an aid to learning their own native language. Most Chinese can already read Pinyin by the age of six. As for sounds, Chinese and English actually share a good handful of phonemese in common. The real difficulty is in all the exceptions to the rules. They're looking for reliable rules to follow, yet there often are none.
But, even though, in terms of grammar, English is easier than other European languages it is the most difficult European language to learn to read (Finnish and Italian are the easiest) Rates of dyslexia are higher in Britain, the US and other English-speaking countries than it is in other European countries.
It shouldn't surprise anyone. English spelling is worse than I've ever seen in Pinyin, Arabic or Persian. The only thing I've come across so far that is worse than English spelling if Chinese ideographs! I'm not joking either, and I can read English, French, and Esperanto and Pinyin fluently. I can recognise Arabic and Persian words and read basic ones. And can read some Chinese characters. So I think I know waht I'm talking about.
I also don't need to give logical reasons as to why we ought to promote English for global communication as English is ALREADY the world's lingua franca.
If that were true, my Chinese wouldn't be as good as it is now. I've been to busy to study it methodically, but because those who study it for 9 yeasrs straight still can't speak it, I've had no choice but to pick up the local lingo.
It is the 2nd-most spoken language after Chinese and the world's most widespread language.
That's open to interpretation. In one study in Europe, respondents were expected to fillin a form declaring all languages they spoke, and then take a test in their proclaimed second language. I can't remember the exact percentages, but the claims to bilingualism ranged in the mid 50%, yet test scores took it down ten percent! And that was only testing BASIC fluency, and in ANY foreing language (not necessarily English). So remember, claimed fluency is not the same as real fluency.
The main language of worldwide business and politics in English. When international airline pilots talk to each other, most of them use English.
And it's well recorded that some plane crashes were cuased by miscommunication. this is life and death.
English is THE international language of the world.
English is toughest European language to read
15:30 04 September 2001
From New Scientist Print Edition.
Despite being the world's lingua franca, English is the most difficult European language to learn to read. Children learning other languages master the basic elements of literacy within a year, but British kids take two-and-a-half years to reach the same point.
In the most extensive cross-national study ever, Philip Seymour of Dundee University and his team compared the reading abilities of children in 15 European countries. They found that those learning Romance languages such as Italian and French progressed faster than those learning a Germanic language such as German and English. "Children do seem to find English particularly complex and problematic though," says Seymour.
The team focused on the earliest phase of learning to read. They tested the children's ability to match letters to sounds, their capacity to recognise familiar written words, and their ability to work out new words from combinations of familiar syllables.
Seymour's findings might explain why more people are diagnosed as being dyslexic in English-speaking countries than elsewhere.
In languages where sounds simply match letters, some symptoms just would not show up, says Maggie Snowling, a dyslexia expert at the University of York. The condition would be more difficult to diagnose in children who speak these languages, though subtle symptoms such as impaired verbal short-term memory would remain. "People might be struggling, but no one would notice," she says.
The Germanic languages are tricky because many words contain clusters of consonants. The word "sprint", for example, is difficult because the letter p is sandwiched between two other consonants, making the p sound difficult to learn.
Another feature of English that makes it difficult is the complex relationship between letters and their sounds.
In Finnish, which Seymour found to be the easiest European language to learn to read, the relationship between a letter and its sound is fixed.
However, in English a letter's sound often depends on its context within the word. For example, the letter c can sound soft (as in receive) or hard (as in cat). Many words like "yacht" don't seem to follow any logic at all.
However, the things that make English difficult to read might have contributed to Britain's rich literary tradition. Words like "sign" and "bomb" are difficult because of their silent letters, but these hint at relationships with other words. The connection with words like "signature" and "bombard" is obvious.
Mark Pagel, an expert on language diversity at the University of Reading, acknowledges the irony that despite being the international lingua franca, English is the most difficult to learn. The dominance of English has more to do with historical accident than any innate superiority of the language, he says.
"People who speak English happen to have been the ones that were economically and politically dominant in recent history. Those forces greatly outweigh any small difficulties in language acquisition."
'Fit' is a perfectly acceptable past participle in the US, yet incorrect in Canada, whereby it must be rendered 'fitted'. Little is spelt as it's pronounced,
Just like in the US they say "I have gotten", whereas in Britain we say "I have got."
The Americans can only say "spelled", whereas the British can either say "spelled" or "spelt".
I think British English is more difficult than North American English. The Americans and Canadians, especially the Americans, speak a more simplified form of English.