Around the world it's acknowledged that English, Japanese and Navajo are three of the toughest languages to learn. Since English is the most popular and is used by more countries than any other language in the world, we need to explore why it is so difficult. It is filled with apparent contradictions or oxymorons like "jumbo shrimp," or "the same difference." In addition, some local expressions will give you a better understanding of why newcomers to the language have so much difficulty. "It cost him an arm and a leg to get his car fixed." "We each coughed up a dollar." "She was down in the dumps all day." "The price goes up every time I turn around." "His eyes popped out when he saw the bill." "My grandmother has a green thumb." "He quit smoking cold turkey."
Then you look at a stack of wood and wonder what you would do with it. We frequently call a six-foot-six person "Shorty," an overweight person "Skinny," identify some people as "dogs" and then talk about "a dog's life," when many of them have it much better than some people. We have a tendency to call all black people "African Americans," when they could well be Haitian or third-generation Englishmen.
However, despite all of these puzzling expressions and inconsistencies, the English language is still the most popular language in the world. Those who use it well have a much better chance of winning friends, influencing people and getting ahead in life. So, learn your English but in the process please understand that, regrettably, America is one of the very few nations on the globe that does not require its students to learn another language. Remember, if an immigrant struggles with our language, we need to ask ourselves, "How much of his language do I know?" Something to think about, isn't it?