I don’t know how many times I’ve encountered non-native English speakers telling me how easy the English language is over the course of the last few years. In chopped sentences, with improperly pronounced surety.
When you’re through kneading/needing that bread/bred dough though, take a bow/bough, bow your red/read head, read this carefully, and give yourself a pat on the back, Mack. Cuz you talk the Englishes gud.
Am I being facetious? Maybe sarcastic. I just don’t know now, you read me? Or are you not ready for this line of questioning you reedy little weed? Perhaps you just don’t like being interrogated by a Hoser eh? At least I’m not a Hoosier or you’d really be lost. Like a luge on moss.
I stumble around a bit in a couple of different languages, but I won’t claim to be an expert until I am one, and I wouldn’t say that learning languages is “easy”. Learning enough to suck at a language is easy. And the only reason anyone thinks they don’t suck is because they don’t understand the language enough to realize that they most definitely do. If they did, they would, unless their head was made of wood, or would they?
Language is complicated. And not just English, but pretty near every language I’ve been exposed to thus far. That’s why I use tools like Pimsleur, DuoLingo, fluent forever, foreign movies and series’, and many other useful resources to improve my skills. Which still aren’t good enough to brag about.
The first couple of times I had people tell me English was easy, I argued that it wasn’t until this proved utterly futile because the person I was arguing with didn’t understand English well enough to understand what I was saying. I also lacked skill in their native language, but I never made any claims that their language was easy. I eventually had the sense to abandon the futility of trying to convince a moron of something far beyond their limited ability to grasp.
I talks two language, English, and Fist!
I often refer to the quote by Bill Murray, who said that arguing with a smart person is difficult, but arguing with an idiot is near impossible. Something to that effect anyway. It’s a great bit of truth. I don’t argue with dummies anymore. I have less frustrating ways to spend my time. Like pouring water uphill or calculating the square root of infinity.
Grasping basic rules of most languages and learning key phrases and essential vocabulary is fairly simple, but mastering (or even getting familiar with) the intricacies of any language or dialect can be very difficult. In English, there are rules, just as there are in all languages, but then there are more exceptions to those rules than instances where the rule actually applies.
In English, words are not always pronounced the way they are written, right? Wright? Write? There are words that sound the same but have very different meanings, and there are words that look similar but are pronounced completely different from each other. And yo, you just have to know though! It aught not be my fault if you can’t be taught.
I’m sure I let myself get two carried aweigh with things that dough-n’t matter as much as I let them, but that’s how I roll. Like a doughnut.
There are a small number of cunning linguists out there who have no trouble licking new languages with their masterful tongues, but to the rest of us knobs, slowly sucking our way to passable proficiency is the reality. Like anything worth doing, learning a new language takes plenty of time and effort. And you’re not good at it if you have to tell people you are. If you are good, they’ll know.
So the next time someone tells me how easy English is, in their broken sentences and barely decipherable accent, I’ll just nod patiently, pat them on the head, and tell them a joke they can’t understand. When they don’t get it, I’ll laugh at them and wander off, letting them believe whatever they were going to believe anyway.