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CHALLENGES SPANISH PEOPLE FACE WHEN LEARNING ENGLISH

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English is said to be one of the most popular languages to learn, perhaps the most spoken language around the world is English, and many people choose to learn the language simply to place them in a better position to secure work, or communicate more effectively with more people from around the globe. English might be a popular language to learn, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it is a simple language to master, there are many challenges people face when learning English and if you are aware of these beforehand you stand a much greater chance of mastering the language.

Here at World Choice Education most of us are Spanish, and we Spanish speakers, do not only share our mother tongue, but also the mistakes we make when learning English. When learning a new language, everyone makes the same mistakes. But truth be told, this is the fun part of learning a language! When you make mistakes you can learn from them, so here are 7 of the biggest challenges Spanish people face when learning to speak and write English:

1. PLACING ADJECTIVES

The Spanish language is more flexible in syntactic structures and sometimes it allows us to use an adjective before and after the noun. That’s why we forget that the English language is more restrictive and an adjective is always placed BEFORE THE NOUN. So when describing, we keep saying “the dog black is running after the girl blonde” instead of “the black dog is running after the blonde girl”.

placing adjectives

2. USING PREPOSITIONS

The use of prepositions in the English language always creates confusion for Spanish speakers.

For those sentences when we use the preposition “En”, the Anglo-Saxons use up to three different prepositions: In, On and At.

X In the Beach On The Beach

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3. PRONOUNCING VOWELS 

How many vowel sounds are there in Spanish? How many in English? In the Spanish language we have 5 vowel sounds: a, e, i, o, u. However, the English language has 12 vowel sounds: /æ/, /e/, /ʊ/, /ʌ/, /ɜː/, /aɪ/, /aʊ/, /eə/, /eɪ/, /ɪə/, /əʊ/, /uː/

The other problem is that the length of the vowel sound is not an important feature which leads to classic misunderstandings such as: In Spain, there are many hot bitches!

pronouncing vowels

4. FALSE FRIENDS

That awkward moment when your teacher asks for your homework and you try to explain to her that you forgot to bring your carpet but you meant folder.

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5. CONFUSING GENDERS

As good Spanish speakers we often confuse the pronouns “he” and “she”. For example, when asked to describe a picture of a man, we say “She is tall”. When this is pointed out, we usually correct ourselves quickly, but we often make the mistake later on that day or that week, even if the problem is addressed immediately with drilling.

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6. CONTRACTIONS

The Spanish language doesn’t really have contracted forms in the same way as English. This means that we can’t always hear them (I’ll see you tomorrow: Yes, I see you tomorrow) or we misuse them (Are you Pedro? Yes, I’m).

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7. CONVERSATIONS WITH NATIVE SPEAKERS

One of the most common ever is that awkward moment when you are in a conversation with a native speaker and you resort to the smile-and-nod tactic to pretend you know what they’re going on about.

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