At the age of 14, I’ve already spent uncountable hours studying language. I’m confident enough to put stuff I’ve written on the net, still there is so much left to learn. I love English and I’m grateful for having gotten the opportunity to learn it, for being able to communicate with people on the other side of the Atlantic. Still, I’ve often cried over verbs, cursing my teacher for putting me through it.
Learning a new language is not easy. Although there sometimes are similarities to my native Swedish, English is still weird. There are hundreds of grammatical rules, of which none has anything to do with logic. I wrench my tongue trying to create the foreign sounds and they still won’t come out right. There are more words than could be crammed into a dictionary of reasonable size. It’s full of homonyms, strange prepositions and general uncomfort, still it’s THE most important language.
One of the biggest difficulties English learners find is the many accent. If a person from Texas and one from Yorkshire have trouble understanding each other, how are we supposed to understand them both? I’m not sure wether the English know, but they never pronounce words like they should. Take the word “horse” for instance. In school, at the age of eight, I was taught to pronounce it “hoors”, without the e, and the o-sound as in salt or shore. It took a few years before I found out that British people skip the h and r as well as the e – “oos”. The o-sound is the same, but everything else seem to vanish. American english is a bit easier to understand – “eoors”. Not always though: “wate” is more similar to its original form (water) than “wooder”.
Indian and Australian accents belong to a completely different category, which can only be sniffed upon when the first two are already mastered. I haven’t gotten there yet.
When learning English, you have to choose what type you want to speak – a mixture of Swedish, British and American won’t be accepted once you’re more advanced. Every teacher has their own version, so at some point you have to find the right accent by yourself. This can be tricky, as no one wants to be associated with either stereotype; the arrogant, posh English or the fat, lazy American.
Of course, both English and Americans are too proud to give up their own accent. Why should they? They understand each other perfectly well. And so, we are stuck with two languages – similar but different. Because no one could say a cookie and a scone is the same thing, right? But cookies are biscuits, biscuits are scones, scones are brödbullar and brödbullar are bread rolls. Fuck logic.