A comparative self-assessment of difficulty in learning English and German among Sudanese students

Adil Ishag 1 , Claus Altmayer 2 , and Evelin Witruk 2
  • 1 International University of Africa, Sudan & University of Leipzig, Germany
  • 2 University of Leipzig, Germany


It is generally assumed that self-assessment plays a profound role in autonomous language learning and, accordingly, leads to learner independency. It encourages learners to prospect their own language learning processes and provides them with feedback of their learning progress. Self-assessment also raises the awareness of learners’ individual needs among both students and teachers alike and will therefore contribute to the development of the whole learning process.

The purpose of the current study is to explore and compare – through self-assessment – the level of perceived difficulty of the overall foreign language learning and language skills among Sudanese students enrolled at the English and German language departments respectively, at the University of Khartoum in Sudan. A representative sample composed of 221 students from the two departments have been asked to self-evaluate and rate the overall language difficulty and areas of difficulty in language skills, as well as their own language proficiency.

The results indicate that German language is relatively rated as a difficult language in comparison to the English language and that German grammar was also rated as more difficult. However, students rated the pronunciation and spelling of German language as easier than in English language. Concerning the language skills, reading and speaking skills were reported as more difficult in German, whereas writing and listening tend to be easier than in English. Finally, students’ academic achievements have been self-reported.

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