Problems for learners in JordanDuring the past four years of my life, I have tutored english
language and literature to students from different ages, but with the same background, and that is them being native speakers of Arabic, in Jordan. The methods when teaching english
is may differ depending on the group, their age, aims, etc. However, the problems encountered for them as Arab students learning english
are the same.
One of the main problems native speakers of Arabic encounter when learning english
is pronunciation. A common mispronounced letter is the ‘P’, which is pronounced as a ‘B’ instead. Therefore, instead of saying ‘people’, they pronounce it as ‘beoble’. I believe that the reason behind such a problem is that because the Arabic alphabet sounds are heavy on the tongue more than the english
alphabet sounds. The sound ‘P’, which involves less effort pressing on the lips, does not exist in the Arabic alphabet sounds, which makes it harder on the native speakers of Arabic to lift their lips a little, and pronounce the ‘P’.
Other problems that native speakers of Arabic encounter when learning english
are matters related to structure and grammar. This is normal, for every language has its own grammar system. One of the main problems is the use of verb ‘to be’. Native speakers of Arabic tend to forget to use verb ‘to be’ when forming sentences in general. For example, they would say, ‘She smart’ instead of saying ‘She is smart’ and they would say ‘She writing a letter now’ instead of saying ‘She is writing a letter now.’ The reason behind this is easily explainable. In the Arabic language grammatical system, sentences are categorized into two kinds; sentences with verbs and sentences without verbs. A statement like ‘She beautiful’ is considered completely correct in Arabic. It does not need a verb, for in such form in Arabic, the verb is not needed, and adding a verb to ‘be’ is either odd or additional. Also, a sentence like ‘He writing a letter now’ is completely correct in Arabic, therefore; students tend to forget to add ‘is’ and find no wrong in the sentence as it is.
Word order is another problem that native speakers of Arabic encounter when learning english
. First is the difference in word order of subject and verb. In english
, the sentence format is (subject + verb + compliment), while in Arabic, it is (verb + subject + compliment). Therefore, a sentence like ‘Plays Lara tennis every day’ totally makes sense to a native speaker of Arabic learning english
for the first time. Second is the difference in word order of adjective and noun. In english
, an adjective precedes a noun, for example, ‘big bag’. However, in Arabic, the adjective follows the noun. Therefore, a native speaker of Arabic would create a sentence like ‘The bag big is in my room’ and would actually think it is correct.
The problems that encounter native speakers of Arabic when learning english
are many. I have mentioned the main problems in the account above, that I have experienced and faced on constant basis every time I tutored english
. My only concern and advice though is for these students to stop thinking in Arabic and start visualizing the english
language as a system of language on its own.