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Why is learning English easier for certain Nationalities? (Or is it?)


About two weeks ago, I posted a discussion, asking all of the English language learners on iTalki why they like to learn English (here's a link to the discussion if you're interested:


Within the responses, an interesting side discussion popped up: Why do people whose native language is X, have an easier time learning English? For example, why do Germans have an easier time learning English than Italians (not that this is true, I only say it for the sake of the example)?


So, students, help me out here.


Why is it easier for some people (for example Dutch, Scandanavian) to speak English than others (for example Chinese, Arabic)?


Possible reasons that come to my mind are:

- The education system in which one is raised

- How closely a certain language is related to English

- The amount of American/British TV and Music listened to


What do you guys think?




Hey Paul. Nice discussion, by the way. I read the previous one as well. I just want to say that, it doesn't depend only on being able to speak a language that is related to English, it also depends on one's abilities. Let me ask you this, is it easy for an American to speak with a British accent? You may think that this irrelvant to your topic, but I think it it isn't. For example, I think that it's easier for the Japanese to learn English, only if they learn the British accent. But it could be so difficult to learn the American one. Now, for me, one can say that I've learned a language only when one is being able to speak it. Reading and writing are another skills, in my humble opinion. In other words, you can be a native speaker yet you can't read nor write and thus, you're only an illiterate in this case. The education system plays a big role, but won't stop you of course. I've managed to reduce my accent and speak almost like a native all alone decpite the bad education system. Here in Egypt, American and British movies are accessible. We can easily watch them. I don't think it helped me in reducing my accent at all. .



Sorry, but I had to split my answer. Maybe it's too long, but remember these two pragraphs are fruit of 3 or 4 years of hard work. Sorry for the very long answer........

Of course maybe my unconscious mind was effected by these movies who knows, but I don't think so. I remember reading an interesting question in a body building book. The question was, why people who do a lot of physical effort like fisherman, workers who lift heavy objects and so on, don't have " well and big develeped muscles like body builders"? The reason was that the workers are not paying attention to the body, they're Focusing on their job not their muscles. The same with languages. I did the same thing with my tounge muscles, jaw and vocal cords to help me reduce my accent.I've bought a lot of books about these things to help me train my mouth to perfect these sounds. So to sum up, I think the personal abilities are more important than watching movies, bad education system won't stop you from reaching your goals and being able to speak English almost like a native didn't help me at all with my German. Personal experience


All vers are easy, for the future : will, for the past: ed!

That's easy =)


I expect most language except Arabic, Japanese , Chinese, Russian... Etc.

are similar letters -/+, little different grammers & pronounciation.

you can say: English should be eaiser in Europe than in Africa& Asia



Well I think the fact of the language be from same family is more easy, Tv and education system. In Portugal all things non-native in TV have subtitules and is mandatory study 11 years English.

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