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S.B. - U.S.A. said:
Problems for learners in SPAINSpanish learners are sometimes a little reluctant to learning english or any other foreign language. They generally understand more than what they speak. This handicap can be due to shyness or being too worried about making mistakes and/or being made fun of. Some wish to express themselves in the same manner as they do in spanish and therefore it can sometimes sound unnatural. When they are young learners at school, the learning procedure is usually based on grammar rather than speaking and listening. Teachers at most schools are non-native speakers, so perhaps this is why there is a preference in writing and focusing on grammar instead of focusing on speaking skills. The number of hours for english at any state school is of three hours a week. Teachers tend to teach their students in spanish and not in english. However, today more and more teachers are starting to use english in their lessons due to the new educational system approved recently. Common mistakes made by these learners are as follow: Quite a few false friends appear when speaking in english. For example, they might say ‘I have approved my exam’ instead of ‘I have passed my exam’. This is since “approved” sounds very similar to the word meaning “passed” in spanish. More common errors are those words that sound very similar (although spanish learners, do not appreciate the different sound in pronunciation) but are spelt differently such as ‘loose’ and ‘lose’ or have problems to identify one meaning or another due to the same pronunciation or sound but different spelling for instance, ‘see’ and ‘sea’. This is why the phonemic alphabet is important so as to help learners with english pronunciation. Here, we can say that stress, rhythm and intonation are essential. If non-native english speakers use the wrong stress or rhythm when speaking, it can become troublesome for a native english speaker to understand what is being said. A big concern is the pronunciation of regular verbs in the past. Learners forget the fact that there are three particular “ed” sounds when using the past simple, which are /t/, /id/ and /d/. The pronunciation of “S” when followed by a consonant is complicated for them to pronounce, as they normally add an “E” to the beginning of the word. “Spain” would be pronounced by a spanish learner as “Espain”. Many translate literally and as a result say ‘I have 20 years old’ and not ‘I am 20 years old’. Unlike english, spanish has one vowel sound. spanish is written the way it is pronounced and thus, is phonetic. Learners usually have a strong accent which is often hard to correct and modify. They pronounce the word written the way it would be read in spanish. Another added complication is British and American english accents, spelling and usage of different words for the same item that is being referred to. For example, candy (Am. E.) and sweet (Br. E.) or cab (Am. E.) and taxi (Br. E.). There are no set rules in english. You will always or just about always find an exception to a rule. spanish learners find this hard to accept, as they have set rules and when there is an exception, this one is clear. Yet another drawback is for learners to see one word and then discover it has more than one meaning. Phrasal verbs, idioms, collocations, colloquial expressions are all challenging goals to achieve in learning. english and spanish are two completely different languages. This causes spanish speakers to sometimes find difficulties when learning how to communicate and to be understood in english. By not knowing english appropriately, this becomes a disadvantage when one is looking for a job position that requires english or when travelling abroad.