Problems for learnners in the UkraineEnglish is the language I love, and if you love something you accept both its negative and positive traits. But the people who have not started loving the language yet, feel entirely different. The moment they encounter a problem, they begin complaining and demand explanations. They cannot accept the fact that languages are different, and just the same as with your mother tongue you have to take the foreign language for granted.
and Ukrainian languages are different. english
is an analytic language, i.e. the connection between the words is provided syntactically with the help of additional words, therefore the word order plays an important role in conveying the meaning. Ukrainian is a synthetic language where the words are linked with the help of inflections – conjugation for verbs and declension for nouns, adjectives and pronouns. Thus, the same word can be placed almost anywhere and the sentence will retain its meaning as long as the inflections are selected properly.
Problem one: pronunciation. Most Ukrainian speaking people find problematic to pronounce the following sounds: [r] as in “rose”, as in “thin”, as in “that”, as in “gentle”, as in “first”, as in “english
”, and they can hardly distinguish between as in “man” and [e] as in “men”. What disturbs them most is why the pronunciation and spelling are so different.
Problem two: word order. The Ukrainian speaking students experience a great difficulty with observing the strict word order of the english
sentence. It is hard for them to understand, that, unlike in their native language, they cannot say whatever comes to their heads without considering the word order first. If they want to speak correctly they have to change the whole attitude to speaking.
Problem three: articles and prepositions. Articles are extremely hard for Ukrainian speakers to understand, because there is simply no such part of speech in Ukrainian, and remembering to use articles all the time is very tiring and exhausting. People don’t like being exhausted, so they forget about them. Prepositions tend to cause problems when their usage is exceptional or, like in “wait for” or “listen to”, the verb is not followed by a preposition in Ukrainian at all.
Problem four: modal verbs. The major problem with modal verbs is connected with the diversity of meanings on one hand, and variety of modal verbs that convey the same meaning on the other hand. The difference is so slight at times, that the students find it very confusing which verb to choose.
Problem five: tenses. There is a saying popular with Ukrainian english
-learners: “Once you have mastered the tenses, you have mastered the english
language.” There are legends about heroes who once conquered “the kingdom of tenses”. The fear of dealing with tenses comes from the fact that there are only three tenses in Ukrainian versus twelve in english
. The most problematic is considered to be the group of perfect non-continuous tenses, probably, due to an absolute lack of equivalent.
Problem six: phrasal verbs and idioms. I suppose that the Ukrainians are not the only english
-learners who experience problems with this part of english
vocabulary, but I have to mention this problem, because from the moment the beginners start learning english
and till the time their level approaches “advanced”, they keep complaining about the hard times phrasal verbs and idioms give them.
Problem seven: listening comprehension. I admit that this problem has little to do with the Ukrainian language itself, but it is worth mentioning, as almost every Ukrainian student faces this problem due to a very limited exposure to the language. As a teacher, I always try to encourage students to attend classes more frequently; to watch news and films in english
; to read books and Internet articles. Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult to find enough time even for things you love.