English, the most Misunderstood Language in the Modern World

A Grain of Salt | ElbyJames
17 min readMar 13, 2022

Speaking English isn’t the hard part, it’s reading and writing, more so writing that’s the problem. Do you agree? Do you disagree?

Editor: This is a long read so get you a cup of tea and settle into your favorite chair.

Learning to speak the English language isn’t hard. If you’re around it all the time, that is if you’re around native speakers, you listen to the radio, watch television, or watch Youtube videos in English you will pick it up. Picking up the language isn’t the issue though, if you’re exposed to a language long enough you will pick it up, later you will see that it’s writing that’s the issue.

I lived in northern Maine — just a few miles from the Canadian border — when I was little. When I was little I watched a lot of television, this was before cable — the late 60s and early 70s — so we didn’t have a lot of channels to choose from. Because we were so close to the Canadian border all the channels we had to choose from were in French; there was only one English speaking channel but it was too boring for a preschool child. Needless to say I watched the Canadian channels.

I watched Popeye in French. I watched Mr.Magoo in French. I watched Mighty Mouse in French. I watched everything in French and before I knew it, my first words were in French. I had to be “broken” of my French speaking by the time I entered kindergarten. We soon moved because my father was in the military; we moved a lot.

The same thing happened when we moved to Japan. Only one English speaking channel so I watched Japanese television over the American channels. I watched western shows in Japanese: The Avengers, Captain Kangaroo, etc. Living in Japan for over three years I picked up the language but reading and writing in that language took considerably more time.

The same goes when my girlfriend was from Brazil. She spoke [very] little English; I had to adjust to her lack of English. At the time I was the GM of Pizza Hut restaurant and over half my staff were Brazilian and they spoke little if any English. Being exposed to the Portuguese language and out of necessity I picked up the language.

The sad part was when I moved from Maine I lost my ability to speak French. My father’s job took us…



A Grain of Salt | ElbyJames

ElbyJames is an American disabled combat vet exiled in the UK & a free speech absolutist. He’s an occasional Top Writer