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Part II. Where did all those Words come ... > Chapter 10. English Today - Pg. 14

14 Chapter 10. English Today Of all European languages, English has the simplest grammar. It is an analytic language, which means that it shows the relationship of words by their positions in a sentence, and by the use of prepositions. In English, a noun is usually followed by a verb, then a direct object. These words are linked by modifiers such as adjectives and prepositional phrases. Most of the time. For all of its assets, English has two serious problems. First, it is full of idioms. Idioms are expressions that vary from the grammar rules or from the usual dictionary meaning. They are unexpected word detours that make no sense unless you know what they mean. A snap is an easy task; to get the brushoff is to be ignored or dismissed; and to get cold feet is to lose confidence. Additionally, English spelling is a mess! We represent the same sound in several different ways. Note how the sh sound is represented in sugar, tension, tissue, fission, motion, ocean, suspicion, nauseous, conscious and shin. English-speaking students struggle to speak and write correctly, and those who learn English as a second language find the task very difficult indeed. For all of its simple construction and its wide range of vocabulary, English is perhaps too complicated ever to be adopted as a world language.