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“How Is English Similar And Different From Other Languages?”

673 words - 3 pages

It has been said that English is one of the hardest languages to learn: therefore it must be different from other languages. This paper explores the similarities and differences between English and other well-known languages.
Philology is the study of languages and language families. While no one knows the exact number of languages in the world, philologists estimate there are between 6,000 and 7,000 living languages in the world today. Out of this number of languages, there are about 100families that exist (Shoebottom). A language family is a group of languages that are closely related to each other (A P Definitions). For example, English belongs to the Germanic language family, which explains why a German student would have an easier time learning English than a Swedish student would (Shoebottom).
According to the information above, it is easier to learn a second language that is a part of the same language family as your native one. “English has many ...view middle of the document...

French students who try to learn English have problems in the following areas: verb tenses, articulation/pronunciation, stress patterns, asking questions, and spelling. In French, “I” is pronounced with a long “e” sound; therefore the student writes the letter “I” when the teacher is saying “e”. This is also true for the letter “j” in French as well. French people do not pronounce the “h” in their word when it come at the beginning so they do not pronounce it when they speak English either (Shoebottom).
French students also have a hard time pronouncing English words because they do not use the tip of the tongue for this purpose, which only makes sense that they would have trouble pronouncing words that begin with a “th”. The French do not use the verb “do” and for this reason, they have a difficult time asking questions since English relies heavily on the helping verb “do”. Finally, French people invert their subject and verb sometimes. For example, in English we say, “How often do you see her”? The French would say, “How often see you her”.
Chinese has many differences with English because they are not in the same language family. The Chinese alphabet is not made up of individual letters, but symbols to represent the whole word. This is the main reason the Chinese have a hard time learning English. Reading and spelling are the two main areas that are most difficult for them.
The Chinese language used pitch to distinguish the meaning of a word, whereas English used pitch for emphasis and emotion. Chinese has less vowel sounds than English and causes the Chinese student to mispronounce the word “ship” as “sheep”. They also have difficulty hearing the difference between the consonants “l” and “r”. Unlike English, Chinese is uninflected and conveys meaning through the word order of the sentence, instead of by pitch. For example, the Chinese student would say, “What do you do?” which translates to “What are you doing” in English. They just used the wrong tense of the verb. Chinese does not use articles either so when they say, “English is a very hard to learn language”, instead of “English is a very hard language to learn” (Shoebottom).

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