Have you ever thought that your language could seem strange to a foreigner?
When you are in your own country you don’t really care about your language, you speak it and that’s it. The important thing is to communicate a message, in a plain or in a more refined way.
But imagine that a person is trying to learn your language and tells you what he thinks about it. The things he could say might be regarding these points:
– Pronunciation: is there a rule in your language to understand how to pronounce the words (e.g. accents)?
– Sentence structure: what about the position of subject, verb and object in a sentence?
– Gender: how can you understand if a word is a masculine or a feminine one?
– And most important, how about exception to rules?
It is much easier to pay attention to these “details” when you are learning a new language.
On the other hand when you were learning your language at the primary school you did and had to pay attention to grammar, pronunciation and so on. But years go by, and once you can speak correctly and without thinking – about the structure of the sentences, grammar etc. – in your language it is not a problem any more. So you never think again about how difficult it was to learn it.
On the contrary, your foreign friend who is learning your language does think about all this stuff, and you are surprised by the fact that it’s so natural for you to speak it without concentrating on it…while for him it is not! But if you see the thing from his point of view, is it really clear (without knowing it before) how to pronounce a word, or write a sentence in a correct way? Is there a precise rule for this?
Have you ever thought about this? Which is the most difficult thing to learn about your language?