Why the English Language Is Hard to Learn (part 2 – the poem)


– Hello, this is Jack from tofluency.com and this is why the English language is hard to learn, part 2. Now, be sure to stay until the end, because I have an
important lesson for you. And, basically, I’m
going to give you the key to why I am making this video. Now, today, we are going to read a poem by Gerard Nolst Trenite. And, it was written in 1920 by this Dutch writer,
traveler, and teacher. And, it’s called “The Chaos” and it says that this
is a poem demonstrating the irregularity of English
spelling and pronunciation. So, it’s outlining the fact
that English isn’t phonetic, that you can’t know how a word is said just from the spelling alone. So, it’s going to give
us some examples of where you’re going to see words
that have similar spellings but different vowel sounds. Okay? So, let me read this poem to you, but before I do, know
that I had to look up quite a few of the words
here, because I didn’t know what some of them meant and I didn’t know how to say some of them. And I’m probably going to make
one or two mistakes in this, and I’ll let you know in the
comments section if I do. So, I’m going to read you this poem now. And then, like I said, at the end, I’ve got an important
lesson from this poem. Okay. Here we go. “Dearest creature in creation, “studying English pronunciation, “I will teach you in my verse “sounds like corpse,
corps, horse, and worse. “It will keep you, Susy, busy, “make your head with heat grow dizzy, “tear in eye, your dress you’ll tear, “So shall I! “Oh, hear my prayer. “Pray, console your loving poet, “make my coat look new, dear, sew it? “Just compare heart, beard, and heard, “dies and diet, lord and word, “sword and sward, retain and Britain. “Mind the latter, how it’s written. “Made has not the sound of bade, “say, said, pay, paid, laid, but plaid. “Now, I surely will not plague you “with such words as vague and ague, “but be careful how you speak, “say break, steak, but bleak and streak. “Previous, precious, fuchsia, via, “pipe, snipe, recipe, and choir. “Cloven, oven, how, and low, “script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.” Okay, so that is the poem. It is difficult to read. Something that is interesting is if we go back to this part here. Just compare heart, beard, and heard. When these words are part
of a different sentence, for example, we have a
heart, and grow my beard, he heard that, then I have no problem saying them automatically. But, when they’re all together,
you have to think about it a little bit, and think, “Okay, what? “Oh yeah, that word, that
word, and that word.” So, the first thing is
that, while this poem is fun and it is difficult to read, it’s not representative of normal English. So, it has been written in a way to make it difficult to
read to outline the fact that when you have the word
combo or letter combinations, such as E-A-R, there
could be three different vowel sounds here. Now, another example
which isn’t in this poem is O-U-G-H. There are many different
ways that you can say, I think there are eight in total, O-U-G-H, like though, through, plough, thought, for example. I don’t want you to try and read this poem and then feel down about it. I don’t want you to say,
“Ugh, English is too hard,” because the key is this. If you do the right things in English, and if you get lots of listening practice, and if you learn how words are pronounced, either through online
dictionaries, or by listening, or by reading and
listening at the same time, then you’re just going to naturally know how to say these words. Don’t think about this
as a logical problem, the fact that we can have
these letter combinations that have different vowel sounds, because if you do that,
you’re just going to feel down about the fact that logically, English is difficult to learn. So, do the right things in English. Do things like listening and
reading at the same time. Look up how a word is pronounced. Listen a lot to English. And then, you’re just going to internalize the way that words are said. Just like everyone else
who has learned English has done in the past. So, again, this poem is a bit of fun, it’s like a challenge, but
don’t take it too seriously. Don’t feel down and don’t
get upset about the fact that, yes, English can be heard to learn. But, just focus on doing the right things and you are going to
make fantastic progress with your English. Now, just another quick thing on this. There are other languages in the world that are difficult to learn
because of a certain reason. For example, in Spanish,
you can conjugate a verb in various different ways. So, I see memes and pictures that say, like, a verb in English,
the different ways to conjugate the verb, okay? And then, you have the verb in Spanish and the different ways
to conjugate the verb. And, when I was learning
Spanish, I looked at this and thought, “Ugh, this is difficult. “How am I ever going to learn it?” But, I used methods like
the To Fluency method just to internalize the conjugations, to learn Spanish through sentences, and then, learn the most
commonly used phrases and internalize that type of grammar. So again, it’s just about
doing the right things and don’t worry about
why something might be difficult to learn. Just do the right things on
a daily and consistent basis and make fantastic progress. Okay, if you have enjoyed this lesson, please like and share it. Go to the description
and check out lessons that are similar to this one. And also, I’ve got some
great resources for you. Things like my book “The 5-Step
Plan for English Fluency”, which is free to download, and
also, the To Fluency program, which teaches you things like how to say vowel sounds,
consonant sounds, minimal pairs, the schwa sounds, connected
speed, relaxed pronunciation, everything you need to know in order to be able to
speak English fluently. So, go check that out too. Thank you so much for watching. Buh-bye for now. (upbeat electronic music)

18 thoughts on “Why the English Language Is Hard to Learn (part 2 – the poem)

  1. Thanks Jack. I'm on vocation in England. I was a week in Scotland (Edinburgh/Stirling/Dundee) and now I am in Northhampton-birmingham. The English here is better to understand.😊
    Have a nice day.

  2. Thank you, Jack, your tips and recommendations are very good!
    Regards and a Hug from Nicaragua!

  3. Oh My God!!The Poem is perfect if you can memorize it and say it fluently!!!But it needs work!!Imagine it to saying it like a song-poem!!!

  4. Here is the complete poem.
    Anyone that can correctly pronounce it will get a PHD in English pronunciation
    LOL
    http://ncf.idallen.com/english.html

    PS: the good thing is that you can download the PDF with has the complete British IPA transcript

  5. The English language is not hard as he says. English is the easiest language around the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *