View previous topic | View next topic

English

Page 1 of 4
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next

Southpaw
387101.  Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:34 am Reply with quote

I thought this little verse sums up the language rather well:

I take it you already know,
Of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you,
On hiccough, thorough, lough, and through?
Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,
To learn of less familiar traps?
Beware of heard, a dreadful word,
That looks like beard and sounds like bird,
And dead: its said like bed, not bead -
For goodness sake, dont call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt).
A moth is not a moth in mother,
Nor both in bother, broth in brother,
And here is not a match for there,
Nor dearand fear for bear and pear.
And then theres dose and rose and lose -
Just look them up - and goose and choose,
And cork and work, and card and ward,
And font and front, and word and sword,
And do and go, and thwart and cart -
Come, come, Ive hardly made a start!
A dreadful language? Man alive!
Id mastered it when I was five!

 
bobwilson
468244.  Wed Dec 31, 2008 8:02 pm Reply with quote

Never mind spelling and pronunciation - what about meaning?

Wicked - now can mean excellent (unless you're referring to a candle in which case it's a single syllable word)
Intelligence - don't even go there

 
Sailor Charon
468354.  Thu Jan 01, 2009 6:42 am Reply with quote

Consider too 'awful' and 'terrible'...

 
Celebaelin
473284.  Thu Jan 08, 2009 1:44 am Reply with quote

Don't you mean 'terrific'?

 
petec
474522.  Fri Jan 09, 2009 2:45 pm Reply with quote

The English language is awfully good.

 
Davini994
474540.  Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:03 pm Reply with quote

Sick, phat, the shit...

 
Gyndawyr
587326.  Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:30 am Reply with quote

the phrase "good shit" refers to something enjoyable which is in some ways detrimental: mcdonalds for example (is "good shit")
I presume "the shit" is a retarded offtake of good shit, as I dont use it myself :P I use awesome alot though, which sounds american.

I have the title "The Most Awesome" as claimed by an associate and a separate party, no one has ever taken the title from me :)

the english pronounciation (lol i dont use that word alot)(so ive spelt it wrong i think) is one of the hardest to learn of all languages. Other languages confuse me though, pretty much all of them do.
European seem the easiest to learn, but some like; welsh, dutch, russian (if they count) feel impossible -_-
japanese and such are also incredibly difficult for me.

EDIT: due to anime I have heard "Daijo bu" to mean "I'm fine" in japanese.
correct me if im stupid :D

 
suze
587380.  Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:50 am Reply with quote

So "X is the shit" means it's good, while "X is shit" means it's rubbish. 'Tis similar with "pants" - "the pants" is good, but "pants" is bad.

And then there are those who use "bad" to mean "good" - "that movie was well bad", or something like that - which is the point at which I rather unfairly start to shake my head and mutter.

Mind you, it's always been thus. I expect there were those in 1225 who shook their heads and muttered when someone used "to leave" to mean "to depart"; until then, it had meant "to remain".

 
themoog
587384.  Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:54 am Reply with quote

Then one can take ones leave.

I can take it or leave it.

 
suze
587396.  Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:18 am Reply with quote

Gyndawyr wrote:
the english pronounciation (lol i dont use that word alot)(so ive spelt it wrong i think) is one of the hardest to learn of all languages. Other languages confuse me though, pretty much all of them do.
European seem the easiest to learn, but some like; welsh, dutch, russian (if they count) feel impossible -_-
japanese and such are also incredibly difficult for me.


English pronunciation doesn't always bear much relation to spelling, and that fact absolutely is one of the major difficulties when learning English.

The same is true of a number of other languages - Icelandic, Punjabi, and Thai are often mentioned as difficult for this reason as well. I doubt if there is any natural language which is utterly phonetic with no irregularities at all, but Croatian, Finnish, and Swahili are often mentioned as coming pretty close.

Other languages have their own difficulties - how phonetic or otherwise a language is is only one of the things that needs to be considered. Of the ones you mention, Welsh grammar and syntax are a bit tricky for English speakers, Dutch is really quite easy until you try to get your mouth around their vowels and diphthongs, and Russian has a lot of grammar, unpredictable stress patterns, and of course the unfamiliar alphabet.

Japanese is often claimed as one of the hardest for English speakers. There's quite a lot of grammar, and it works very differently from that of European languages. Then there's the honorific system - one must use different words for things depending on the status of the person to whom or about whom you are speaking, and in some cases men must use different words to women. For a woman to use "men's words" is considered to be a bit like swearing; a young woman might do it when with her friends, but not with her grandmother present. And then there are the four writing systems, all of which one needs to know in order to read a Japanese newspaper.

 
Gyndawyr
587409.  Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:54 am Reply with quote

Suze that was a remarkable answer :D
I want to learn about japanese culture, but the language is not something i can be bothered with :S
Most japanese speak english as well as I can speak french:
I can say J'ai habite a manchester, and perhaps how old i am etc.
Thats about it :)
So when I have attempted to communicate with them, I can understand what they are saying via complex translators, but i can not write back to them without using google or something, which would be remarkably unreadable to a japanese person :)
Because they can barely understand my english, our conversations usually entail: this is for people who speak japanese; get out. :)

 
Susannah Dingley
587417.  Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:21 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
English pronunciation doesn't always bear much relation to spelling, and that fact absolutely is one of the major difficulties when learning English.

The same is true of a number of other languages - Icelandic, Punjabi, and Thai are often mentioned as difficult for this reason as well. I doubt if there is any natural language which is utterly phonetic with no irregularities at all, but Croatian, Finnish, and Swahili are often mentioned as coming pretty close.

There are two kinds of phonetic correspondence: (I) correspondence of pronunciation with spelling (i.e. words are pronounced as they are spelt), and (II) correspondence of spelling with pronunciation (i.e.words are spelt as they are pronounced). I think its not too difficult to find languages having to one or the other of these correspondences; the rareness is with languages having both correspondences.

Spanish words, for example, are pronounced as they are spelt. If you see a Spanish word, you know immediately how it should be pronounced. However, Spanish words are not always spelt as they are pronounced [a] can be a or ha, ['kaβo] can be cabo (end) or cavo (I dig), etc. Its even more irregular in Latin American Spanish, where the soft c has the same pronunciation as the s.

So the difficulty with English pronunciation is that it is highly irregular in both types of phonetic correspondence. French and Danish are also pretty irregular in pronunciation in this respect.

 
dr.bob
587424.  Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:42 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
And then there are the four writing systems, all of which one needs to know in order to read a Japanese newspaper.


Oddly enough, this came up in conversation over lunch today. One of my colleagues said he knew someone who had lived in Japan for a while. This "someone" claimed that, in fact, most Japanese people will not know every character that they read in a newspaper. Instead they will spend their time guessing the meaning of the characters they don't know based on the context of the rest of the sentence that it appears in. The suggested reason was the bewildering variety of characters meant that it was impossible for people generally to know all of them.

Does anyone hereabouts know whether this is true or not?

 
suze
587457.  Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:52 am Reply with quote

Susannah Dingley wrote:
I think its not too difficult to find languages having to one or the other of these correspondences; the rareness is with languages having both correspondences.


Yes indeed. As suggested, it's easy to pronounce a Spanish word from seeing it written, but the spelling is not always obvious from the pronunciation. The same in French, but with knobs on.

I can't immediately think of a language which works the other way about, but I'm sure there must be some.

dr.bob wrote:
Instead they will spend their time guessing the meaning of the characters they don't know based on the context of the rest of the sentence that it appears in.


Japanese schoolchildren are expected to learn a list of 1,945 kanji, and your typical university-educated person doesn't know all that many more. There's a revision currently in progress which will add 191 and remove five that have fallen out of use, to make the total 2,131. Newspapers and mass market fiction usually provide a gloss in hiragana if they use any kanji which are not on this list; literary fiction and scholarly works may not.

There's an exam one can take called Kanji Kentei which tests knowledge of them; only a few hundred people a year pass Level 1 (the highest level) which requires knowledge of about 6,000. The largest dictionaries know of about 50,000, most of which are practically unknown in published material.

But even if one knows all the kanji on the school list and one's reading matter uses no others, it's still sometimes necessary to figure out the meaning from context. Most kanji have more than one meaning; some have up to a dozen.

 
Susannah Dingley
587510.  Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:05 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
I can't immediately think of a language which works the other way about, but I'm sure there must be some.

Finnish would be a good example. (Ive been learnng Finnish for seven years now, so I know a fair bit about Finnish.)

 

Page 1 of 4
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next

All times are GMT - 5 Hours


Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group