The English love Spain, not only for its gastronomy and its climate, but they also love its language. Learning Spanish for English people is relatively easy because of its phonetics, however, they have difficulties with sounds like the initial and intervocalic r and the j. The grammar is not easy either.
Thousands of English people travel to Spain throughout the year, both to the mainland and to its magnificent islands, to enjoy its culture. The gastronomy, the good weather, the events and of course learning Spanish, encourage the English to visit our country.
The English find it relatively easy the fact of learning Spanish because the phonetics are not very complicated. That is, there are five vowel sounds and not ten, like in other languages and the spellings are read as they are written. Practically, each spelling corresponds to a sound, without any tricks, except for some such as the ch or the ll.
But what about with the sounds that the English don’t have in their phonetics? Learning Spanish is difficult when the alphabet reaches the j and the r. As well as being sounds that don’t have in their own language, they are also very strong phonemes and are complicated to pronounce. This is an issue that all English speakers struggle with.
On the other hand, learning Spanish is difficult because of the grammar. There are very basic and obvious verbs for a Spaniard, like estar that English speakers don’t have. In Shakespeare’s language they do not differentiate between ser and estar, which is why we sometimes hear such strange phrases like ‘soy hambriento’ (i am hungry) or ‘soy borracho’ (i am drunk). It is a very difficult concept to inculcate because they have no parallel and it is difficult for them to assimilate it.
The subjunctive is also a new concept for English speakers. Learning Spanish for English speakers means studying more verb modes than they have in their own language. For example, to say ‘i wish you were’, they would make a whole grammatical turn, instead of just one verb. So they have to incorporate it into their conceptual map.
Learning Spanish also involves learning many irregular verbs. In English the list of irregular verbs is shorter than in Spanish and these lists inevitably have to be learnt off by heart.
Of course, a language not all about memory. Learning Spanish, with all its difficulties and irregularities is achieved by studying but of course by speaking it, practising it and living it.