What are the disadvantages of learning English? Are there any? Let’s find out and discuss them in this post.
Learning how to speak, read, and write in English can be more complex than any other language. Furthermore, the difficulty of learning English can depend on where you live. For example, if you’re a native English speaker, you will have more difficulty learning Japanese than someone from an Asian country. On the other hand, if your native language is Nihonggo, you’ll have an equally difficult time learning English.
But what are the disadvantages of learning English? Read more on this topic below.
What Are the Disadvantages of Learning English
Learning how to speak, read, and write in the English language is not easy.
English has been considered a universal language. It is recognized as a speaking language in most countries. You could even visit some of those countries without learning the native language, equipped only with your English skills to communicate with the locals. Furthermore, most schools around the world have integrated English learning as part of their curriculum. But still, while English offers different advantages to those who have successfully learned it, English also brings certain disadvantages.
If your native language uses the same kind of script as English, like most European nations, learning English would still be difficult. However, it still wouldn’t be as complicated as some countries that use logographs and alphabets (e.g., Kanji) in their language. The competency of different Asian populations with English is also different. The Philippines, Hong Kong, and India even have many native English speakers.
Learning English Demands a Considerable Amount of Your Time and Complete Dedication.
So what are the disadvantages of learning English? Nobody who truly wants to learn English takes up an English Learning Course and expects to master it within a short amount of time. Learning English is a lengthy process that requires potential learners to invest substantial time and effort. If you’re a complete beginner, it will take an average of one year to learn how to speak, read, write, and listen in English.
Depending on how much time and effort you can invest, it may take you a shorter or longer time to learn the language. Thus, you can expect someone who manages to study and practice English skills five hours a day would master it faster than someone who could only spare five hours a week studying.
English can Lead to Language Extinction.
What are the disadvantages of learning English? One of the most unfortunate things that can happen is people abandoning their native language. Non-native speakers who have consistently used English in their every day lives may find that there isn’t any opportunity or practical use to speak, write, read, or listen using their native language anymore.
This disadvantage is primarily experienced by people who end up working in another country or immigrating there altogether. Since they must communicate in English more often than their mother tongue, they experience a complete shift of their primary everyday language. Suppose that person has not met someone who speaks the same native language or hasn’t maintained regular contact with their families in their home country. In that case, they may find themselves slowly losing fluency in their native language.
Joe Kloc of motherjones.com pointed out that languages are dying out around the globe. As more people emphasize the advantages of English, they may inadvertently accelerate the loss of additional languages by abandoning their native tongues. For Kloc, the loss of language is equivalent to the loss of culture since language can provide a sense of authenticity to a people and is part of how people express themselves and their beliefs.
Once You Have Learned The Basics, It Can Be Difficult To Notice Your Proficiency Without Taking Tests.
Suppose we say you have finished learning the basics of speaking, listening, reading, and writing in English. You feel confident and ready to engage yourself in some conversations, read a book, listen to music or a podcast, or write in your diary in English for the first time. The thing is, no matter how proficient you think you are with English already, you won’t exactly know much you’ve improved or where you currently stand without taking an English proficiency test.
English can be such a complicated language that people who already have extensive experience in using it still may get subpar scores than they expect in an English proficiency test. In that case, even if you feel confident in your English skills, there’s no harm in adding to your wealth of English grammar and vocabulary. And every time you feel like you’ve made some progress, take an English proficiency test to know how much you have improved.
If You Are Not Consistent With Learning English, All Your Efforts May Go To Waste.
If you ask yourself, what are the disadvantages of learning English, you may find that investing time and effort alone wouldn’t lead to mastering the language. Consistency is one of, if not the most crucial skill you must have when learning English. While putting in effort goes a long way when studying how to read, write, speak, and listen in English, if that effort is not met with consistency, then your pursuit of learning English may already be in vain.
Suppose two people started studying English at the same time. Up until a certain point, they each devoted one hour a day to studying English. However, Student A decided to change his study plan. He would study 10 hours a day during Saturdays or Sundays instead of studying every day for one hour like Student B does. Who do you think would have more progress in learning English?
Surprisingly, even though Student A seems to have invested more time than Student B, he would have a more challenging time retaining what he has studied during that time since he would only be practicing once a week. On the other hand, even though Student B studied for a shorter time than Student A, his strategy will help retain and absorb what he had learned through repetition and everyday exposure.
Pronouncing some English words can be tricky.
What are the disadvantages of learning English? The English language is a complicated language. While some words are pronounced the same way they are spelled, other words aren’t so straightforward. Try pronouncing Colonel, Anemone, Scissor, or Worcestershire. Proficient speakers may be capable of pronouncing these words correctly. However, beginners would be left dumbfounded, wondering how to attempt pronouncing these.
The English language is filled with such words. For complete beginners, these words that are difficult to pronounce can prove to hinder their goal of attaining English proficiency.
Becoming fluent in the language is even more difficult.
As an English language student, you may want to pat yourself on the back when you manage to master the basics. Your hard work until now has paid off. You have managed to get a firm grasp on speaking, writing, reading, and listening in English. However, knowing the basics does not equate to fluency. After familiarizing yourselves with the basics, you will face more challenging aspects of the English language. As mentioned, you have to consider pronunciation, proper writing forms, subject-verb agreement, and so on if you want to achieve fluency. You should also consider applying your English skills more practically to test just how fluent you have become. And as mentioned above, taking an English proficiency test can be advantageous. This step serves as a concrete standard of measurement for your progress.
People with certain accents may find it challenging to communicate in English.
When people ask, “what are the disadvantages of learning English?” one of the things that may pose a challenge is communicating when you have a heavy or unique accent. Accents can hinder smooth communication if certain words aren’t pronounced correctly. If your accent is heavy enough, the person you are talking to may not clearly understand what you are trying to convey. It can lead to miscommunication, and consequently, misunderstandings in conversations.
However, with enough practice, even people with heavy accents can work around this challenge and communicate in English more effectively. All it takes is time, effort, and consistency to improve this skill.
Some people don’t become proficient in English even while working abroad.
English is a complex language. Even if people try to learn how to speak, read, write, and listen in English, the reality is that not everyone will achieve the same amount of proficiency. Even if you’re working abroad and using English as a means of communicating every single day, you may not be as proficient as everybody else. However, that’s not so much of a bad thing. When studying how to read, speak, write, and listen in English, you must also define your goals. Let’s say you want advanced mastery of the language because you plan to teach English yourself. It will undoubtedly be challenging to achieve it. However, if you’re not seeking a job in that field and only want to use English more practically, it wouldn’t make sense to set the bar too high for yourself.
If you set a nearly impossible goal, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. You may end up doubting yourself and your English ability. So another thing you can do to make learning English easier is to set up an end goal. Divide that goal into a series of smaller objectives. This way, you feel like you’re making more progress. As your confidence grows, you can say for sure that you can eventually reach that end goal.
If you don’t use English often, it will be hard to remember the words.
English, like any skill, needs to be used from time to time to improve or maintain your proficiency. If you do not use English regularly, there is a possible risk of it deteriorating over time. Suppose such a thing occurs, all your time, effort, and dedication would be in vain. If you want to prevent your English skills from deteriorating, you must try to integrate English into your daily life.
The first thing you should do is to set aside some time to do a quick English study. You’re not only polishing your English speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills. You may also find yourself improving upon them as well. At the end of each session, you can use an English Proficiency Test available online to measure if you’ve maintained your current level of proficiency or if you managed to improve your English skills.
The second thing you can do is to insert English into your daily routine. Something as simple as watching more English movies, tuning in to more English television series, or listening to more English music or podcasts can go a long way into maintaining or improving upon your current English proficiency. You can also consider writing diary entries or short stories in English, reading English novels, news articles, magazines, etc. The important thing is that you’re continuously exposed to English in your daily life.
Confusing Idioms Make English Difficult To Learn
Another disadvantage of learning English is that you must also learn English idioms to become more proficient. Idioms are another tricky topic to learn. They are part of every language. Idioms aren’t meant to be taken literally, but a beginner in studying English may not be able to identify an idiom at first glance.
For example, the phrase “she bit the dust” means “she died.” When it comes to idioms, all you have to know is what the entire phrase means.
‘She got a taste of her own medicine,’ or ‘He went on a wild goose chase,’ are two other examples. Remember, when it comes to idioms, the literal sense is not the exact wording. Also, Idioms include words like ‘all of a sudden,’ which a language learner does not understand.
In English, there are tens of thousands of these. Idioms exist in all languages. The length, variety, and unpredictability of English idioms characterize them. Idioms in English are tricky for non-native speakers to grasp.
People with Poor Vocabulary Will Find Learning English to be more difficult.
Multiple words in the English language are not initially English words, to begin with. In reality, English has adopted a lot of these words from other languages. German, Latin, French, and Greek are the most common roots of these borrowed English words. As a result, you may find many words that may fit the same concept. For example, a person may say “book” or “volume” to refer to a bound set of written pages. While one of those terms may seem familiar for a non-native speaker, he may be confused and unable to discern the term’s true meaning if a more unfamiliar word is used to describe it. It means that to be genuinely fluent in English, a person has to work on amassing an extensive vocabulary compared to some other languages. In addition, one may need to understand root words before fully comprehending an English term’s meaning.
To make matters even more confusing, people learning to speak, write, and read in English may encounter “British” English and “American” English. British English has different vernacular terms and spellings than American English. So, English learners must understand and differentiate between these two forms of English every time they write and choose vocabulary.
Flexibility and Rigidity Of The English Language Is Not Consistent
So, what are the disadvantages of learning English? Besides what has already been mentioned, prospective English learners also need to consider the more technical aspect of the English language. For example, when it comes to written English, it has very rigid syntax rules (e.g., subject before predicate). If you focus on learning how to write in English, you must strictly adhere to these rules and proper forms. Textbooks provide examples based on this “proper” form.
However, hardly any native English speaker talks the way that he writes. For example, speaking English is perfectly acceptable to say “I wonder what he’s up to,” ending with a dangling preposition. While this may be unacceptable in written form, hardly anyone would pay attention if they heard such a phrase in real life. This duality of rigidity and flexibility can be highly confusing for ESL students, especially given the extent of English vocabulary. For instance, an ESL student who trusts what he hears everyone say may write improper syntax. Additionally, English teachers may unintentionally miss these linguistic errors simply because they are used to vernacular syntax misplacement.