Learning a new language is one of the hardest things your brain can do. Not only do you have to mentally transfer linguistically complex structures between the two languages, you also need to learn how to think in a different language.
For this reason, learning English takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and is best done as a part of a specialized course that has been optimized to solve the challenges students face in an effective manner.
Here are the 4 biggest challenges English students face:
Many words that are otherwise unrelated and are spelled differently sound the same when spoken (for instance, "pair" vs "pear"). This isn't a big problem in speech as people can usually understand what you mean from the context of what you're saying, but grasping these spelling differences is vital if you want to be an effective written communicator.
English isn't a phonetic language, which means words are spelled differently from the way they're spoken. Words that are spelled exactly the same may be spoken completely differently (for example, "I'll read the newspaper" vs "I read the newspaper"). Understanding these words is crucial in order to understand both written and spoken English.
3. IDIOMS AND SLANG
This area tends to be especially problematic for students because it's hard to teach in the classroom. Slang encompasses all the casual language that's used in day-to-day speech. It isn't necessarily grammatically correct, and may even sound nonsensical if you don't know the context it's spoken in.
The best way for students to master slang and colloquialisms is through talking to native speakers, listening to pop culture (movies, TV, etc.), and doing other things to immerse themselves in the English language. This will serve a natural learning process that will help them pick up on cues such as voice tone and nonverbal cues.
4. VARIATIONS OF THE LANGUAGE
When it comes to the sheer number of native and non-native speakers, English is the biggest language in the world. Over time, this has caused many variations of it to appear and evolve differently in different parts of the world. Accents, dialects, local phrases, slang, and other variations all play a role in this.
This can be a serious problem for English students who encounter distinctive variants such as Scottish English for the first time. Being aware of these differences beforehand and taking them into account when communicating is crucial in order to avoid confusion.