Think Learning English is Easy? Think Again.
There is a general misconception about the #English_language: that it's one of the easiest languages to learn. This assumption probably comes from the fact that English has become the global language by default, the official language of international trade, economy, law, political treaties, education, entertainment, and so on. Today, 20% of the world population speaks English (although less than 5% are native English speakers).
But hold up! This doesn't mean that #learning_English is an easy thing to accomplish!
On the contrary. Here is why.
Irregular spelling & pronunciation
Most native English speakers don't realize this, but #English_spelling and pronunciation is extremely irregular and unpredictable. Take words like ‘dough’, ‘tough’ and ‘bough’—they all have the same spelling, but are pronounced completely differently. Not easy for people learning English as a second language! (#ESL).
Or, as shown here in the image to the left, notice that in 'Pacific Ocean', each 'c' is pronounced differently.
If English had a completely regular spelling system, as Finnish and Korean do, it would have no more than 44 spelling. Learning to read and write English is exceptionally difficult because it has 185 spellings for 44 sounds (source: English Spelling Society).
Another reason is that English has a peculiarity: the phenomenon of phrasal verbs—a verb whose meaning is changed by a small word added to it. Language and communication consultant Vyvyan Evans explains: ''Take the verb ‘run’ for example. We can ‘run over’ someone, have a ‘run in,' we can ‘run something down,’ or ‘run up a bill,' or even ‘run something by someone.’ On each occasion, when you add a word like ‘in’ or ‘over’, you’re changing the meaning—and it often seems to be with no rhyme or reason.''
The importance of language immersion
So, now knowing that English is a very difficult language to learn, the importance of #language_immersion becomes even clearer: as you practice speaking English, all that irregular spelling and pronunciation gradually come together, and that strange grammar starts to make sense. This is why we created the #OCTB platform: so that anyone who wants to learn English (or any other language) can practice it in real time with native speakers, wherever in the world either party may be. This year, we introduced this #language_exchange to high schools, so that #K12 students can get that one-on-one interaction that is vital in language learning.