When teaching english
it is useful be aware of the challenges one's students faces when learning the various lessons. Although specific lessons may pose more difficulty than others, it is also true that in general, some categories as a whole prove to be more difficult for various language learners depending on their backgrounds. For example, Korean learners of english
tend to have difficulty in spelling, pronunciation and syntax structure due to the large difference from those in their native language.
Interestingly, the two alphabets work very differently from one another. To begin, the way the Korean and the english
alphabet function in opposite ways when forming words. The Korean language and alphabet is phonetic, in the sense that each letter has a sound and any given Korean word, is spelled with those letters that make up those sounds. On the other hand, english
words often have tricky spelling, “exceptions to rules,” and, overall, each word has its own unique spelling; one cannot spell words in english
simply by sounding it out. Thus, this spelling proves to be especially difficult for Korean learners as they must not only learn the alphabet, but also memorize the numerous functions of each letter, and meanings of various combinations such as “sh,” “th,” or “tion”.
Pronunciation can also be difficult for Koreans to learn since the english
language has sounds and consonants that Korean does not have. Specifically, there is no letter for the “f” and “v” sound in Korean. Another problematic distinction is the difference between the “l” and the “r” since the Korean language has one liquid sound for these rather than 2 different ones. Thus, listening to and speaking these phonetic sounds can be especially difficult for Korean learners. Such information is useful for an english teacher
in Korea so that he/she can emphasize these differences and speak that much more clearly when teaching.
Moreover, Korean grammar is structured differently than english
; this makes sentence structure a semi-complicated issue for Korean learners. While in english
, the proper wording is subject-verb-object, in Korean it is subject-object-verb. Additionally, adverbs typically come before the verb in Korean, whereas in english
it is more natural for them to come after the verb. There are a couple of consequences of this. First, Korean students must make a conscious effort to change around the word structure in sentences. Due to this, they are not only slower at writing it out, but responding orally as well.
Overall, the english
language is extremely difficult to learn. There are endless ‘rules' and ‘exceptions' to memorize. Thus, for advanced Korean students, learning english
can be frustrating due to the language's complex nature, and one's inability to communicate effectively and eloquently, what one wants to say. Being aware of the some of the general issues that your students face can be helpful not only to the teacher
, but to his/her students as well. By coming up with strategies which address these problem areas, a teacher
helps his/her students to gain confidence in themselves, and their skills and ability with english