Things that I find Hard:
I have learning for a few years now (4 years) through high school and now at University. Apart from the fact that I am in 200 Level courses (which is challenging in itself) and there are some gaps in my knowledge (things that I should have learnt in Year 13 Spanish but didn’t), things that I find difficult are:
a) What different tenses are used for and how they correspond with English tenses. Even though I have learnt most of my tenses and their endings in Year 11 and 12 at high school, I still have a bit of trouble trying to remember the names of the tenses and what situations they are used in.
For example: The “Preterite” Tense and “Imperfect” Tense. I have never been taught what these are in English so it is confusing for me when trying to figure out what you use these for. I am pretty sure at some point I was taught how to use these, as I know they are both used as a past tense, but no one explains what they are for anymore (because I am supposed to know).
It’s kind of like when you are a kid learning to talk and no one explicitly teaches you the tenses. You have to make observations on how the teacher uses it. I had to do some research on these tenses to find out which one is which. The Preterite Tense is used for actions in the past which are seen as “HAVE BEEN COMPLETED”. The Imperfect Tense is used for actions in the past which are seen as “HAVE NOT BEEN COMPLETED”.
b) The position of personal and impersonal pronouns. There are quite a few possibilities as they can go before the verb, at the end of the unconjugated verb, or at the end of the conjugated verb. And sometimes at the end of the noun. (That pretty much covers my confusion.)
Now on to the more happy part.
Things that I find easy/less difficult:
a) Pronunciation. I know for some people reading this you might think I am crazy, but as I was born and raised in Spain the pronunciation has stuck with me all my life so far. I did find it slightly hard to roll my “r” and “rr” at first, after not having to do it for a number of years, but that didn’t really last more than a lesson or two of practicing. Most of the time I tend to speak with a Spanish accent (obviously only when speaking Spanish).
b) “Por” and “Para”. For those of you who have learnt a bit of Spanish you’ll know it’s really easy to get mixed up with your use of “por” and “para” (for). For me though I picked up the usage quite quickly and it pretty much comes naturally when I am writing and speaking.
Another observation I have made of myself and others, for any language learners, is that it is really having confidence in yourself. You need to have the confidence to speak otherwise you don’t get better. Like me I have problems with this as I am scared of making mistakes, but because I spent almost a whole year of not speaking Spanish last year due to this I learnt that it really did me no good as I never spoke Spanish, which meant I didn’t make mistakes, but it also meant I didn’t learn and become confident in my own abilities.