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English Language Learners at Salem

Gloria Pech, left, Leticia Carrizales and Jorge Carrizales listen to Shirley Kocher during an English Language Learners session on a Wednesday night in the Common Grounds building on the Salem Lutheran Church campus.

It’s a tough language

Pat Ludeke and Rahtaya Young know that English isn’t an easy language to learn.

The women help coordinate the English Language Learners program at Salem Lutheran Church in Fremont.

English can be tough for many reasons, which include:

Various words have multiple meanings. For instance: a calf is part of a leg, but it also can be an animal.

There are many grammar rules, like adding “ed” to indicate something has happened.

But there are a slew of exceptions, too.

For example, you have “thought” about something, but you haven’t “thinked” about it.

There are lots of homophones such as: “weather” and “whether” or “to,” “too,” and “two,” which sound alike, but are spelled differently and mean different things.

Slang. Americans love informal language. Whereas the word “cool” means a low temperature, many Americans use it to mean impressive or fashionably attractive like a “cool” shirt.

Changes in slang. The word “sick” means physically ill. Or it can mean something that is displeasing as in “sick humor.”

Now, however, “sick” used as slang can mean “awesome” or “cool.”

Invented spellings through text messaging. Examples include: “wrk” and “tmrw” for the words: work and tomorrow.

Acronyms. FBI and CIA — which stand for Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency — are examples.

These things don’t include products and companies with names intentionally spelled differently. Ever eat “Froot Loops” cereal or “Dunkin’ Donuts”? Ever go through a “drive-thru” instead of a “drive-through”?

Other confusing words. For instance, there’s no ham in hamburger or pine in pineapple, notes the Oxford Royale Academy.

Idioms. Examples can include: “Raining cats and dogs.”

TAMMY REAL-MCKEIGHAN

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News Editor

Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She covers news, features, religion stories and writes the weekly faith-based, Spiritual Spinach column.

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