Jump to content
Linguaholic

What is Hardest- Reading, Writing, or Speaking?


Recommended Posts

What is most difficult for you in a foreign language- reading, writing, or speaking? For me it is definitely writing, especially as I progress in a language.  Very early on, while I am still getting used to new sounds and pronunciation, I sometimes find speaking harder, but that usually lasts a few months at most.

What is hardest for you and why?

Link to post
Share on other sites

For me it's speaking, and also listening. I've always preferred reading and writing to listening and speaking... I'm just that kind of person. That's why it's more difficult for me to speak than to write. I'm rather shy and extremely afraid of messing up.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It has to be the writing component of the language.  You can easily look up the translations of words when reading a foreign language text but it is much more difficult to express yourself in the written form without making a mistake in tenses, conjugation and grammar.  I think that speaking is probably the second toughest because it demands that you think on your feet very quickly.  I remember dreading my French final exam in college because it was a verbal exam.  Reading is definitely the easiest component of language.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hardest:  Listening comprehension.  Native speakers speak the language "fast" compared to what you're used to hearing in class or language-learning materials, and it can be very hard to pick out sounds when you're not a native speaker.

Second-hardest:  Speaking.  You have to "think on your feet," and if you don't know the right word and can't think how to circumvent your need for the right word and still be understood, you're out of luck.

Easiest, by far: Writing.  You can compose at a slower rate than you must while speaking.  You're not communicating in "real-time" as is the case when you're speaking and listening, so if you don't know a word, you can look it up.  You have time to use a dictionary, so you can communicate *effectively*-- for example, if you don't know the word "latitude", you can look it up instead of saying "the, uh, you know, I don't know the word for it, but, in geography, the lines that go around the earth and say that one area is farther north or south than the other..."  Your meaning gets lost less, and it's generally less stressful.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hardest:  Listening comprehension.  Native speakers speak the language "fast" compared to what you're used to hearing in class or language-learning materials, and it can be very hard to pick out sounds when you're not a native speaker.

Second-hardest:  Speaking.  You have to "think on your feet," and if you don't know the right word and can't think how to circumvent your need for the right word and still be understood, you're out of luck.

Yes, I can relate.  I find speaking the new language to be the most difficult and challenging.  It brings together so many different skills, including pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar.  You also have to keep pace with the conversation which means you are also listening even as you must formulate the words and sentences to respond. And, as you point out, native speakers are speaking "fast."  That's a lot of work for the brain! 

In contrast with reading and writing -- which I rank as roughly equal as far as difficulty -- I can work at my own pace.  I can look up words in a dictionary if and when I need to.  Obviously, the goal is to become less dictionary dependent, but in the learning process I find that looking up words also helps me to retain them.  It also helps me in learning the fine points of grammar.  Generally,  I am the type of learner who does best with the written text rather than the spoken word. 

It's interesting to see the diversity of responses here.  It shows that the challenges of each of these components of language will vary from person to person. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking and listening are definitely the hardest things for me. Reading seems to be a breeze, even if I don't know half the words. I get this magazine in the mail sometimes, I'm not even sure WHY or what I ordered to start receiving it in the first place, but there's always one or two articles right in the middle that are fully in Spanish. I enjoy getting to read those. I can usually understand them fairly well, and it makes me feel like I know more of the language than I do. It's somewhat of an ego boost, I suppose, even if it's just fooling myself that I have semi-fluency for a few minutes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Whenever I learn a new language, speaking and sometimes listening gives me the most challenge. I get very conscious when speaking a foreign language, especially when trying to converse with someone whose native tongue is that language. Listening though depends. It depends on the accent of the person I am talking or listening to. Reading or writing has never been a problem for me. It's the easiest part for  me :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think writing is the easiest. You can see how it looks on the paper next to everything else and you can figure out the spelling to make sure it is perfect. Speaking is what comes hardest to me. I have a hard time remembering and pronouncing properly. Like Jellyfish said about, It is about time. You have less time to think about what you are saying when speaking.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you ask me, it really depends on the language and also on the person. In German, I would go for "writing". In Chinese, I am struggling most with Listening. It is not very surprising, as Chinese is a tonal language and you need to listen very very carefully in order to understand. Writing in Chinese is definitely the most time-consuming activity, however I do not think that it is particularly difficult.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had the most trouble with speaking. Coming from the south, I already have an accent which muddles any other language I attempt to speak. It gets easier with practice. I wish I could learn how to get rid of my drawl to speak more fluently, haha.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For me it is speaking, but also listening.

Speaking - whenever presented with the chance to speak Spanish, or any of the other languages I am learning, I choke up. Sometimes I do know the correct reply, but I get too insecure.

Listening - native speakers speak fast and sometimes takes away letters. Therefore, whenever I listen to a language I am learning, I miss out.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In my experience studying Japanese, I'd have to say writing is the hardest part. Doing this by hand, with all those similar kanji, can get really difficult. Next comes speaking, but that's probably just me, since I have enough trouble speaking in my native language without stuttering. After that comes listening, which I don't find as hard in comparison, even though there's plenty of words that are pronounced the same way. I was able to translate a Kana Hanazawa song by ear with decent accuracy before the official lyrics came out, but I can't write many kanji without a visual reference in front of me, and I have trouble speaking.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Before I can say speaking is the hardest part, I'm more confident in writing than speaking. I can express myself more in writing. But then living in other country for years and using that language everyday makes me more confident with myself. I find speaking easier now. But nonetheless, I can say in learning new language speaking part is the hardest for me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Writing on a whim seems to be the most difficult for me as I will often understand and know verbal words, but may not fully know how to spell or add the correct accents in written form. It seems as though it should go hand in hand, but I find that I am much more fluent speaking verbally.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's harder to speak a foreign language than to read or write it.

To speak a foreign language, you must be able to think on your feet.

It's easier to read or write in another language because you can always consult a dictionary or other reference as needed.

If you are fluent in a foreign language, you might find speaking easier than reading or writing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking is generally easier for me than reading and writing. I find that the more I interact with people on a daily basis the more I get a feel of the pronunciations, word order and general sentence structures used in a particular language.

This depends on different people. Some are visual learners and need to visualise how a word is spelled in order to learn a new word or phrase. These people often prefer reading and writing to speaking.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Reading is the easiest while writing skills come from experiences over the time, but speaking with a fascinating accent takes years. Sometimes, people can't adapt to a particular accent no matter how much they want it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, English and German ,I'd vote Writing. I remember having to follow certain rules of grammar for the sentence to make sense. Speaking seems to be the easiest for me especially with the help of internet nowadays. For example, I may not be able to speak Mandarin fluently but I sing the songs fine. We grew up having 'Karaoke' party all the time with Mandarin songs. We also watch a lot of Chinese movies.

I perfected my speaking by joining chat room back in the day and just tried to talk to people. My husband would try to correct me and told me how to pronounce certain word.

Listening is tricky for me because each area has their own accent. It's harder for me to understand people from the South such as Texas. I also don't like the announcer in airport,their voice is echoing half of the time that I have to stop what I am doing and just sit there to try to listen carefully.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I find speaking to be the most difficult. It's relatively easy to wing it when you're writing because either you know what you're doing or you don't and reading can be eased when you recognize cognates. Speaking though is unforgiving especially in non-phonetic languages. There are unique sounds, silent letters and stresses in certain tongues. It can be tough.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Based on my experience, the hardest thing to to would be writing. When learning a new language, most of the time learning a new language starts with speaking or reading. Writing is more difficult because it requires an understanding or speaking and reading.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...
The popup will be closed in 10 seconds...