First, it is not hard to learn.
Based on my experiences as an English teacher, most of my students say that English is not easy. They say it is because English has too much complicated grammar such as tenses, irregular verbs, uncountable nouns, articles, prepositions, and much more. Non-native English speakers must memorize them hard to get familiar with the rules.
Second, it uses polite expressions.
Sorry my English speaking friends, to me, English is not a polite language. For instance, in some countries, it's not polite to call someone older with "you". We'll call his title, like "Can uncle help Bambang please?" instead of saying "Can you help me please?".
In addition to that, in some countries, people usually call their names when they are talking to the older one. We do it in our country. Look at this expression!
"Uncle, Bambang wants to visit uncle's house tomorrow". The speaker, Bambang, uses “Bambang” instead of “I”.
Another one is, we never call someone older with his name without calling his title first. Here is the example: " Will aunt Mary bring it to Bambang?". We don’t say “Can you bring it to me?". It sound impolite to us.
Another one that's very important to us is we never call our parents with their names. I have watched some English movies. In the movies, some children call their parents with their names like "Jack , I am very busy now". It's very impolite for us to call our father with his name. It is even considered rebellious!!!
Next, I would like to give comment on Emdb's post. He said :
emdb wrote:I am a native English speaker from the U.S. I'm glad it's my mother tounge because I realize that it would be a very difficult language to learn as a second language.
You are right my friend. It's not easy to learn your language. You are lucky that you were born as a native English speaker so that you don't have to study hard to catch this language. However, on the other side, you might forget something. Guess what!
Since English is an international language, lots of English speakers do not learn other languages. There is a great number of them who only speak one language. Compared with us, the majority of us can speak at least two languages namely our local languages and our national language, and of course, plus English. Some can speak four local languages and four foreign languages. So I think, in one side you are happy, but in your subconscious side you might be unhappy.
Correct me if I am wrong my friend !
emdb wrote: I'm curious to know which other languages would be as useful in bussiness as English.
My friend, it depends.
If you are dealing with a Chinese man in business, of course you need Chinese skills. Nowadays, many people all over the world are learning Chinese because they are doing business with some Chinese people. As you know my friend, Chinese products are penetrating a lot of markets all over the world by offering low priced-products. So my friend, in this case you need to learn Chinese as a business language.