The TOEFL test is a preparation of what standard of English?
TOEFL is a standardized recognized test to measure the reading, listening, speaking, and writing ability of Grade 12 foreign student's English levels, who are wanting to attend a University in an English speaking country. Preparing for the TOEFL exam for high school students is a stressful affair, with concentrated effort going into, particularly the ability of the foreign student to understand and converse in English adequately . The stringent test evaluates the ability of the student to understand and participate in higher level education environments, in the English world.
How different are the challenges of people learning to speak French coming from different cultures and other languages.
The English, Italian or Spanish speaker will each have different challenges in pronouncing French words. The romance language speakers will find it easier to mouth many French words as many of these sounds are already used by them. An example is the Italians who will find it extremely difficult to sound the French 'r' which is at the base of the tongue, whereas their 'r' is easy to make with the tip of the tongue at the front of the mouth, like the English speaker's 'r'. The Spanish speaker will use a great deal of the 'guttural G' sound where this is not found in French. The problem there is that both the French 'r' and the Spanish 'j' are made in the same area of the base of the tongue and throat, but using different muscles to produce slightly different sounds. The English speaker has many French words in their vocabulary but possibly more Germanic/Saxon sounds as well. The English also find it difficult to sound the guttural 'R' of the French language. All non-French speakers will have great difficulty with not pronouncing the entire word of what they are reading, as French has many silent letters in their words.
How does a non-English speaker hear English for the first time?
A non-English speaker will hear English for the first time as a jumble of sounds that often he or she does not possess in their language. It could be the surprise of a guttural 'G' that comes from the back of the throat. It could be the strange way the English speaker puts their tongue near their teeth and blows through their teeth making a 'th' sound....a sound foreign to many. Or it could be the tongue hitting the palate of the mouth, and vibrates from the throat, making the 'l' sound. Or the quick flapping of the tongue against the palate and the front teeth, making the sound of a motor-bike....the rolling 'r'. All sounds that need to be learnt and the mouthing of the words should be practiced, by foreign speakers, to be perfected.