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What's the most challenging about learning a foreign language?

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On 11/5/2015 at 1:38 AM, anna3101 said:

For me, the most challenging thing in all languages (sometimes that also includes my native language!) is putting the right accent inside the word. There are some languages where the rules are fairly simple: always the second syllable from the end or the last one, and bingo. But even in those languages there always will be exceptions...

The second place in the "most challenging" competition I would give to speaking skills. Writing and reading come more or less easily, listening is more difficult, but speaking fluently - that takes more time and effort. Much more. At least, that's the case for me.

I agree. Learning conversational language is the most difficult part of learning any language. If you learn language by reading, it is likely that your language will be stilted. Therefore, in order to develop language skills you need to learn spoken language. On books you will not find "I am gonna do this" kind of language.However, while speaking people wil be using this kind of phrases.

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for me it is speaking with the proper accent and pronunciation that is the most difficult. I can memorize words and phrases fairly easily but being able to speak them correctly as I hear them in my head is another thing entirely. I try to sound as much like the locals as I can when I speak a foreign language and even though I know it's impossible I just try and be as accurate as possible not only so that there will be as little misunderstanding as possible but also just for the sake of being accurate in itself. 

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When it comes to pronunciation of the language I'm trying to learn, one of the things I enjoy most is finding movies or television shows in that language, and then watching them with the closed captioning or subtitles.  Once I know what the story is about, what's going on, I focus then on inflection and accent, the natural way to say the phrases, not just the vocabulary (although vocabulary is important!). 

Oftentimes, in trying to pronounce the words correctly and accented properly, that we speak with emotion in our voices in our mother tongue, so we would also speak with emotion in any other language we communicate in.


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On 11/4/2015 at 8:24 AM, xTinx said:

Is it the accent? The pronunciation? The sentence structure? For me it's the pronunciation.

You do need to be able to speak in the same way as the natives. I remember learning this when I started to learn about French.There is no way to say French words properly unless you are using their accent, or native pronunciation. I believe that learning the words is pretty easy, but learning how to say them correctly is another thing. 

I got really good at it thought because I don't let myself feel embarrassed when trying to pronounce the words like the natives do which was my problem in the beginning. I didn't want to sound like foreigners, but I love it now, and doing so helps with learning quicker. 

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1 hour ago, hades_leae said:

You do need to be able to speak in the same way as the natives.

It actually differs from language to language.
It's true for Polish, Mandarin and (as you already said) French, because native speakers may have problems understanding you otherwise, but languages like Dutch, English and Spanish don't require you to have a perfect pronunciation, those people will understand you any way.

There might be some pattern.
Polish, Mandarin and French don't have nearly as many varieties of the same languages as Dutch, English and Spanish have.
In the Netherlands alone we have around 27 dialects, then add the amount of dialects in Belgium and Surinam to the mix, I don't think I need to talk about English and Spanish ey?
Because these 2 have far more dialects.

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I think for me it's the accent. All the other aspects of learning a new language come easy to me, but when it comes to the accent, I actually get a lot of native speakers telling me that I sound 'funny' or that they can tell from a mile away that I am not a native speaker. That really puts me off. When I learn a language I want to become fluent in it and speak it in a perfect accent. 

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The accent for me is really the last thing I worry about. The hardest thing honestly is the very basic words and structure of the language, everything else will come easily after that for me once you get a hang of the very basics. 

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