English uses some difficult sounds, like those in thing or soothe. These sounds are, in my opinion, impossible to master perfectly unless you have lived in an english-speaking environment before you turned 16-18.
Pretty logical and not very difficult to master. Adjectives do not vary, conjugation is almost esperanto-like, but orthograph is tricky. The problem is that with such a weak verbal system and such easy rules to turn adjectives into verbs, the beginner may be puzzled by some phrases. Another difficulty is that of the verbs that use a separate particle like to set off or to pop out. I advise the learner to review lists of common verbs to save time, because they are especially tricky to look in the dictionary.
The english language has one of the most extensive vocabulary around, with more than than 460'000 different words in the Webster Dictionary alone. This comes from the french/german origin, and means that you often have at least two words with almost exactly the same meaning. However, most of the dictionary only lives in litterature and scientific publications.
I rate this language as ÐÐ, that is, quite easy to learn, because of its ubiquity, and grammar. Almost everyone will tolerate a bad english if they still understand you, and anyway they will have heard so much of it by the time you talk to them that they won't mind. In most parts of the world, you only have to go to the cinema, open the TV or buy newspapers to have the language imposed on you so there's really no excuse for not speaking it at least decently.
The big question, I think that two years of moderate study should be sufficient for all but the most lazy people, and you can definitely learn it in 6 months. As to the number of hours, I think that 250 hours is a safe estimation.
Foreign learners usually get that set of sentences to learn when studying the English pronunciation. I've had to learn them several times. Basically, if you know the meaning of all the words in the sentence, you should have no difficulty in pronouncing them....that's my own experience, at least.
Malcolm wrote:I think I'd never have been able to learn English at school. Thank god we speak it at home. In France, English is taught like a dead language, like Latin or Greek. That is, no talking, just grammar. After 7 years od English learning at school, a kid doesn't even know that English is a spoken language. For him it's just boring texts and newspaper articles.
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