By creating an account, you agree to our terms of service.
I'm curious about what people find challenging when learning English grammar, and how their native languages are different.
I originally wrote this discussion asking about what people find challenging when learning English, but I completely reworded it to include other languages. Also, when I'm answering a question about English, it'd be a lot be a lot easier if I knew how the asker's native language does it differently, if at all.
What distinctions, concepts or structures are in your native language that aren't made in a language that you're learning (or that you know), or vice-versa? What does your language do differently?
Here's a few really quick examples comparing German and English, to give you an idea:
-To an English speaker, declensions are an entirely new concept. Declensions are endings of adjectives that vary depending on the corresponding noun's gender, case and some other factors. For example, 'blau' (blue) can become 'blaue', 'blaues', 'blauen' etc. depending on the the aforementioned factors.
-German and English both have articles, but sometimes use them differently. For example, when...
-German doesn't differentiate between continuous and simple tenses. For example, "Ich spiele die Gitarre" can mean both "I play the guitar" and "I'm playing the guitar." When I speak German, I don't need to worry about the difference between the two. If I really want to emphasise one over the other, I can use adverbs like 'oft', 'jetzt', 'gerade' etc.
A German speaker might say the opposite: that when speaking English they don't need to consider declensions, but they do need to think about whether to use present simple or present continuous.
The differences can be as major or as subtle as you'd like. They don't necessarily have to be conceptually challenging, just different. Feel free to use as much detail as you need!
As a native English speaker I can tell you that the tense means a lot to people. They will definetly correct you if you use the tense or use an incorrect ending such as "I speaked English" when it is "I spoke English". It can get confusing, because the first one doesn't sound too wrong but it is.
For me, I have a hard time in German with things changing when reffering to "direct subject". I am confident I can figure it out. Most of all though, I get frusterated and remember genders of nouns. I don't even understand why languages have this, lol!
Croatian is very different from English (you, Jmat, know that because you learn it and you wrote on some other discussion about that).
The easiest thing in Croatian is reading. You read exactly as it is written. Always. The same letter is pronounced always on the same way.
We have 7 cases, we change verbs through persons and tenses (and we don't have any schema to do it so it's not easy to know endings of every verb - the same is with nouns and cases).
We have 3 gender (musculine, femenime and neuter).
We don't have articles and we don't have so much tenses. We have 4 past tenses but we use only one.
We don't change tenses when we change quoted sentences into reported ones.
I've got problems in English and in Spanish with almost everything that we don't have in Croatian (articles, so much tenses, direct/indirect speech...).
And we don't have "real" subjunctive mode so it is very difficult when someone is learning Spanish.
l am student learning English at school,and l think l have known some mistakes when we are speaking English.
l see those common mistakes like:l like play basketball,l want play basketball,she want to speak English with you,l can do good thing ,and many wrong sentences in our English classes.
The biggest difference between English and Chinese is that we dont need to change tenses and verbs according the subject,we just add an adverbial in a sentence to express the tense,and we also dont change the verb,l ,you,he,she,and it use the same verb!
Sometimes we are trying to speak English without the influence of Chinese,but we know our language longer than the language we are learning,so l do not think l could get rid of the inflyence of Chinese.
lf l make some grammar mistakes,please help me correct them,thank you very much!
The difference between present simple and present continues is not known in my language Dutch.
For the rest the languages are quite similar. Like you we have no conjunctive verb forms, and no grammatical cases. We have a little left over from gender. Female and male are united in one form, but neutral is still there. So we have two genders, sexless and hermaphrodite.
I agree with you @Jmat and @Mackenzie. Both my native languages English (Indo-European language family) and Filipino/Tagalog (Austronesian language family) don't use "gender nouns". I'm having fun learning but at the same time having a hard time with German gender nouns, declensions, and inflections. Fortunately, I've gotten the gist of German not having the gerund form. I'm still getting the hang of pluralization. I'm learning Spanish and French too at the same time and it's these gender nouns that get me every time. Tagalog has a lot of Spanish words and the accent used is similar to that used in Latin America (no lisps). False cognates also do exist between Tagalog and Spanish. For instance, the word "seguro" means "sure" in Spanish, while in Tagalog "siguro" means "maybe". The Tagalog word for "sure" is "sigurado". Tagalog also has a word that consists of two pronouns or "double pronoun". "Kita" is such an example. Ki (I) + ta(You) is used in this example: I need you. (Kailangan kita.) In Filipino, we only have one article, "ang". It covers a, an, and the. Pluralizing a word in Filipino is done by putting "mga" after the article. Filipino expresses verb tenses by using prefixes, infixes and suffixes. Verbs normally come before the pronoun. The verb "to be" (ay) is seldomly used in a conversation and is frequently contracted with the pronoun, such as; Ako'y (I'm), Ika'y (You're), Siya'y (He's/She's), Tayo'y (We're) and Sila'y (They're). These are just a few of what I can say regarding Filipino/Tagalog. But there's a whole lot more. Knowing Tagalog makes learning Spanish a bit easier and vice-versa.