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Rachel
14-05-2006, 16:56
I was reading an article on the BBC website here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4978074.stm) about the dominance of English within Europe (or even the world) and the British attitude that there is no need for them to learn another language as everyone either speaks their language or aspires to.

As far as I know recently they made it non-compulsory that kids aged 11-16 had to learn another language. Up until recently you had to. People thought that it was a waste of time as British kids are so reluctant to learn another language as they feel everyone can speak their language anyway so it is pointless. There is probably also the issue of music & tv. In Britain there is hardly ever any non-English music that gets into the charts and there are never any non-English speaking films (unless you look hard.) So it is not like the rest of Europe in that sense at all where there are a variety of languages everywhere so they have a more open mind to it all. I think the biggest problem is that no one here starts learning a language til they are in high school (aged 11) which is a stupid age to start. Kids should be taught from the time they start primary school (aged 5) as that is when they pick languages up much quicker. I probably sound like a big hypocrite here as I only speak English and a very pitiful amount of French. I think my problem (and pretty much everyone's problem) is they have no incentive. Here kids hardly ever do the exchange student thing so they are never in a position where they HAVE TO know another language. And of course there is the music & film issue I mentioned above. Lots of kids learn English so they can understand a song (which of course is pushed into every country by the big record companies) but of course we have none of that here.

So my question is...


Do you think English speaking people who don't learn another language are lazy?
Smug?
Do you think it should be compulsory to learn another language?
If yes, from what age?
Do you like how the world is going with it's huge English dominance? etc

vanik
14-05-2006, 17:16
I am English and I expect everyone in the world to speak English. I see no reason to learn foreign.

Yes its true, here we had an example from the "Do you understand russian language?" thread....

Kyro
14-05-2006, 17:18
In my opinion, it should be compulsory to learn at least one other language, starting from when they start school. I think it is terrible that the British put so little emphasis on learning foreign languages.

I only speak English, and some French, and even less Russian and Japanese, but I would have loved the opportunity to learn more. I am currently studying A level French, which is the highest level you can do at school, but my French speaking ability is still quite poor, not because I'm bad at it, but because I started so late (age 11) and because they only teach up to a certain standard. Yes, most kids don't want to learn another language, they don't see any reason to, but I think more would want to if they started at a younger age. I think it is ridiculous that there are so few opportunities to learn.

Also, I don't understand why we should expect everyone else to speak our language, but it seems most of the time, even if we do know another language, we don't have a chance to practice it. Even when I try to speak to someone in their own language, they reply in English.

I would love to see what happened if America lost all it's power, what would we do then?

QueenBee
14-05-2006, 17:23
Do you think English speaking people who don't learn another language are lazy?
Not really, since it's usually not their fault... :dknow: The reason to why people everywhere else (or almost everywhere else) learn English is because it's an "international" language that makes it easier for people from different countries understand eachother (such as on this forum). And of course because of the current situation, it's everywhere in the big movies, in music etc. I personally didn't have a "drive" to learn a different language at a young age, and I'm not surprised English speakers don't either.

I think the fact that there is such a language is great, because it gives you the opportunity to communicate with many different people.

I can't remember when I started learning English at school, I believe I was 10 years old.

I got an extra language (Spanish) at age 13, so basically I had 3 languages all at once. I think it's a positive thing to learn as much as you can during your lifetime, but I think that's just a personal taste. Some people just aren't interested in languages. :dknow: Since English is so widely known, I really don't think it's a huge issue... I just think that learning different languages is positive for the individual.

I must say though, even though I wasn't interested in learning different languges when I was a kid, looking back on it now, I wish they would have taught me earlier. I mean when I was around 6-7 years old. That would have probably worked better if I had a certain language spoken around me all day (Such as Swedish, which I started learning at age 6). It's just so frustrating to learn a new language when you're older.

dradeel
14-05-2006, 17:25
I don't mind the English dominance, as I think it's good that we have a world language. However, I don't really think English is the best (easiest) alternative, as it's pretty hard on grammars. If you wanna learn English when you're old, you're a gonner. Hehehe. But aye, English is cute. I mix in tons of English words when I speak Norwegian. Especially when I write. Hehe. So yeah, I don't mind English at all.

In Norway we have to learn English at the age of 6 and you have it until you're 18 (I chose English-class, so that's why I've had it longer than usual). I think people in english-speaking countries should learn another language from that same early age, as I think everyone should at least speak 2 languages just to have a broad horizon, and also to get a much more complexed and varied mother tongue, since other languages can shape and influence the world language - English. :)

Smug?

So yeah, I think English speaking people who don't learn another language are lazy, but it's more the culture that has made it so - as you say ... so yeah, I don't really blame the kids. I hated German when I was learning it on school. Luckily I don't have it any more, but I've discovered that it is a pretty decent language anyways. I thought it was so ugly before, now I don't. :) All in all, people can't regret learning another language. It's cool to understand someone from another country than yourself!

vanik
14-05-2006, 17:27
I don't understand why we should expect everyone else to speak our language, but it seems most of the time....I would love to see what happened if America lost all it's power

I think that perhaps everybody speaks english just because is the easiest language to learn not because of the american power... dont worry...

I got an extra language (Spanish) at age 13,

omg... so you can understand spanish QueenBee? Que calladito lo tenías bonita jajaja

QueenBee
14-05-2006, 17:29
Yeah, I agree that learning another language is always a positive thing in the long run, although I can see how it can be boring and you just lose any interest in general if you are forced into it.

Oh and may I say "Wow" at how young you people were when you started learning another language! (11 years old? 6?!)

I think that perhaps everybody speaks english just because is the easiest language to learn
Is it really the easiest language...? I do think it has got to do with power. I know nothing about history ('cause I suck) but I'm pretty sure that language wasn't chosen by the whole world because it's the easiest to learn... I bet people were either forced :p to do so. Or maybe the language was spread around the world some hundered years ago... Yeah, as I said, history class is not my friend.

I bet there's some rare language somewhere in Africa that's waaaay easier, though. :p

Kyro
14-05-2006, 17:30
I think that perhaps everybody speaks english just because is the easiest language to learn not because of the american power... dont worry...

But I think we only got to the point where English has such a dominance because of the power and influence of English speaking nations.

dradeel
14-05-2006, 17:31
easiest language to learn not because of the american power
Not true. English would be dead hard to learn if it wasn't for the american cultural dominance in the west. I promise you, english would never have been as big as it is today if it wasn't for america. You can always say it's because of the big ol' british empire, but no, Europe would never have picked up the english language without america. I think French would've been _the_ world language without english to compete with it.

(11 years old? 6?!)
We have English from the age of 6, but that's something new. I started on school when I was 7 and started on english when I was 8 or 9. Now they start at the age of 6. And we have to choose a C-language (usually French or German) at the age of 12/13.

vanik
14-05-2006, 17:43
I think French would've been _the_ world language without english to compete with it.


I dont think so... perhaps spanish would be in that case

dradeel
14-05-2006, 17:47
I dont think so... perhaps spanish would be in that case
Hmm... not impossible, but after the numbers, there are about the same amount of french-speaking people around the world as there are english speaking people. More than there are spanish-speaking either way... But yeah, the latino-thingie could've been big here in the west, since it is already. Heh.

QueenBee
14-05-2006, 17:55
What are the "big" languages in Europe? Is it not English, German and French?

Rachel
14-05-2006, 18:06
Not sure about Europe, but here are the top languages in the world.

Click. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_number_of_native_speakers)

vanik
14-05-2006, 18:16
Not sure about Europe, but here are the top languages in the world.

Click. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_number_of_native_speakers)

Its clear then that spanish is wider spread around the world than french or german...

haku
14-05-2006, 18:39
There has been several lingua francas during human history, it's a political and economical need, and the 'chosen' language is always the language of a dominant power.

The reason of English dominance is no different. It was first spread by the expansion of British colonization, at its peak the British Empire ruled one third of the planet and English was the de facto official language. And when the power of the British Empire faded into the dust of history, it was replaced by the rising power of the USA, reinforcing even further the dominance of English.

The problem is that lingua francas are not only a communication tool, they are also a tool of cultural opression (a blatant example of that would be the eurovision contest people are talking about in another thread, almost all entries are in English regardless of the country they represent and that's just pathetic) but it's nothing new, it's been constantly happening in human history.


However, i disagree with some of the people above, English is by far the simplest language of the Indo-European familly. Indo-European languages are very complex highly synthetic languages (meaning that words are highly inflected, which is always very difficult to learn for a non-native), but English is a remarkable exception. English used to be highly synthetic as well, but in the last thousand years, it has evolved in an absolutely unique fashion losing one by one almost *all* its inflections and becoming more and more analytic (no other Indo-European language has evolved in such a radical way). English is now almost entirely analytic (meaning that words are mostly invariable, which is much easier to learn for a non-native), almost as analytic as Chinese (which is fully analytic) and many linguists think that English will indeed become fully analytic at some point in the future.

zelda05
14-05-2006, 18:42
Do you think English speaking people who don't learn another language are lazy?
In my view, they are not lazy. Instead, they do not see the importance of learning another language when, in fact, English is widely used. Rather, it is the "international" language.

Winkie
14-05-2006, 18:52
I grew up speaking Dutch, but since I lived pretty close to the German border I also learned some German as a little girl (this was before I was 3 years old). But when I was 3 we moved away and my German knowledge faded away..
When I was 10 years old, they started teaching English at school. It was hilarious because those books were REALLY old and falling apart and stuff :p
When I was 12 I started learning French but I sucked at that because the teacher was nothing but a bunch of shit -_-'
When I was 13 they started teaching German and that was really easy.
Right now I study English. I've had German classes 'till I was 17, and French 'till I was 15..

I think it's normal for people to speak English, because it's the international language. But I'd like native-English-speakers to speak some other language too. For example: When I'm on a holiday in France there are hardly any Frenchspeaking people that can speak English. So it can be a problem when you're fluent in one language only..
Do people from the states or from britain have german or french or spanish classes at school?

Kyro
14-05-2006, 19:00
Do people from the states or from britain have german or french or spanish classes at school?

I think it's normal over here to take one of those from the age of 9 or 11, depending on what type of school you go to.

When I'm on a holiday in France there are hardly any Frenchspeaking people that can speak English.

Really? Whenever I go to France, I speak French but usually get an English reply :confused: Maybe it just depends where you go...

Rachel
14-05-2006, 19:05
I think it's normal over here to take one of those from the age of 9 or 11, depending on what type of school you go to.It's not compulsory anymore though. So there's gonna be A LOT less kids learning languages in Britain. I think it's down to the school to decide what it wants to do.

Tango
14-05-2006, 19:07
My mother said that it was because computer text is written in English. As for me, my first language is English (I get English and French spelling mixed up sooo much sometimes, you woud think that and I go to school in English, but living in Montreal you have to know French, so I do. I can also read and write in Hebrew, which I learned when I was in grade 1 and 2 because of my religion...

My mother thinks English is so popular because computer text is written in English. Me, I don't really know what to think about it... I say it's the influence of music and television.

I thought Chinese was the most spoken language, isn't it???

Rachel
14-05-2006, 19:09
tango, it is (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_number_of_native_speakers) but we are talking about the fact that so many people learn English as a second language. More people who know Chinese have Chinese as their first language :)

Kyro
14-05-2006, 19:11
It's not compulsory anymore though. So there's gonna be A LOT less kids learning languages in Britain. I think it's down to the school to decide what it wants to do.

It was only compulsory up to the age of 14 anyway, wasn't it? I don't think it will make a huge difference, most schools seem to think teaching languages is a good idea.

Rachel
14-05-2006, 19:12
Up to the age of 14? Three years? I didn't know that. We had to do it for 5 years.

Kyro
14-05-2006, 19:15
Up to the age of 14? Three years? I didn't know that. We had to do it for 5 years.

Well it was optional when I chose my GCSEs, and that was three years ago.

Winkie
14-05-2006, 19:19
Really? Whenever I go to France, I speak French but usually get an English reply :confused: Maybe it just depends where you go...

Maybe it does but it's just something that has happened to me a lot of times, so maybe it's not true, maybe I've just been to the "wrong" places..

Rachel
14-05-2006, 19:25
Well it was optional when I chose my GCSEs, and that was three years ago.Hmmmm...I guess it all depends on the school then. :ithink:

nath
14-05-2006, 19:45
By the way do you know that during 200-400 years, the old French language (Normand) was the Language in the administration, the elite and some literary worlds in England?
That's why for exemple you have some words which are stayed in English (often words about the food: pork (porc in French), veal (veau in French)..

Just say that as a stupid little vengeance..hihi...

No, seriously speaking, I've already said that a lot of times but the persons who understand me the less are English natives so indeed the fact to not be able to make associations with other languages is here a little "less".

I think it would be a good thing that they would learn some other languages because it's interesting to get a larger knowledge about the "roots"...to catch better some meanings.

For example, when you arrive in Sweden in a shop and you want to buy a box of fresh cream...it isn't so easy!.... :(
But with the time you can catch some Swedish words thanks to the roots of several other languages...

That's why even a "not anymore used language" as Latin is interesting to learn...

But it's a question of personal taste...if people don't feel it , they are free to just speak their native language... Each one has different interests.

Think it's good that there is a common language as English of course. Because it's easier to learn than a lot of other languages (for the bases of course). If you know English and Spanish you can travell in a lot of countries.

haku
14-05-2006, 20:06
That's why for exemple you have some words which are stayed in English (often words about the food: pork (porc in French), veal (veau in French)..
More than a few words actually… :)

Something like 40% of modern English vocabulary comes directly from Norman-French (or Latin via Norman-French) because Norman-French was the official language of the nobility and administration in England for about 4 centuries after the Norman conquest in 1066, which obviously had a profound influence on the vulgar English spoken by common people.

nath
14-05-2006, 20:10
More than a few words actually… :)

Something like 40% of modern English vocabulary comes directly from Norman-French (or Latin via Norman-French) ....
Shut, Patrick ....I knew that but I 've tried to avoid to be too "chauvinistic"..... By the way my father is Normand...I don't remember if I told you that Pat...;)

vanik
14-05-2006, 20:14
If you know English and Spanish you can travell in a lot of countries.

Olé!! i am lucky ...:p

QueenBee
14-05-2006, 20:27
*amazed at how intelligent haku is*
Seriously, you pretty much know everything that ever happened in the world. :p

Sabeena
14-05-2006, 20:36
English isnt really particularly hard to learn..though i do think its better to start early in primary school and made optional in secondary school...I had learnt 3 languages by the age of 8...but it causes you to lose your mother tongue...and they say that its harder for you to learn another language when you get older

QueenBee
14-05-2006, 21:09
I had learnt 3 languages by the age of 8..
I admire you! :coctail:

Sabeena
14-05-2006, 21:14
I admire you! dont see why theres nothing to admire as i lost one of those languages anyway.. i admire you though...your english is brilliant... i actually thoughht you were english.. lol.. :coctail:

freddie
14-05-2006, 21:19
I agree that there's always been a need for a lingue franca in history. English simply took over from latin and later french. Besides british colonialism and later US dominance I think it also got a boost from technological revolution. English seems to be the language elect for technology.

I also agree it's pretty easy to learn but only up to an extent. It's easy to learn it sufficiently to communicate and understand, yet it's awfully hard to go that final mile and learn it properly. I can bet most of us non native english speakers here will never achieve standars of an average native english speakers. It's exactly the opposite with German in my experience. The grammar and initial understanding is a bitch, but once you get passed that you pretty much have most of it covered. The road to fluency is significantly shorter than with english. And french... don't even get me started with french... I just started with basic stuff and I can already tell it'll be a tough nut to crack.

About the smugness of native english speakers... I think they are MUCH less smug than native speakers of some other euro languages. All people I've talked to who were only fluent in English expressed some sort of regret or sometimes even shame about not speaking anything else. While I got an impression in France that people wouldn't respond even if they did understand english. French, italians, germans to name just a few... from my observation a general tendency with those nations is that they feel PROUD for not speaking anything else (that certain "speak French/Italian/German or fuck off" vibe), while native English speakers are actually ashamed of it.

...and they say that its harder for you to learn another language when you get older
That's true. Kids up till 9/10 can learn new langauges almost effortlessly. Their native langauge vocab hasn't developed yet fully and also they they're very suseptible to new ideas. Families with parents who speak different langauges at home are bilingual without even trying. They often confuse two langauges and form sentences by meshing both languages together. Then it all gets sorted out in school and you get a brand new bilingual. Straight from the shop. :p

Rachel
14-05-2006, 21:22
freddie, when I was in McDonalds in Switzerland I asked if they spoke english. "No! :bebebe: " That was definately a "fuck off" response. :bum:

QueenBee
14-05-2006, 21:24
Apparently that has happened to a few people on here aswell, in other countries.
Maybe it has something to do with pride...
"Motherland you are like a whore." ;)

freddie
14-05-2006, 21:30
freddie, when I was in McDonalds in Switzerland I asked if they spoke english. "No! :bebebe: " That was definately a "fuck off" response. :bum:

I got a same response at McDonald's in Nice and Milano. So there must be something to this euro-language arrongance. :P

Apparently that has happened to a few people on here aswell, in other countries.
Maybe it has something to do with pride...
"Motherland you are like a whore."

Harhar. Quite. :p

We have exactly the opposite problem here in Slovenia. Most native English speakers who live here complain that they don't get enough opportunities to learn our language since as soon as we sense they're struggling we automatically switch to English. And we do the same for Serbians/Croatians/Bosnians, by speaking their language so none of those people ever get to learn Slovene properly. Cause they don't have to.

QueenBee
14-05-2006, 21:34
We have exactly the opposite problem here in Slovenia. Most native English speakers who live here complain that they don't get enough opportunities to learn our language since as soon as we sense they're struggling we automatically switch to English. And we do the same for Serbians/Croatians/Bosnians, by speaking their language so none of those people ever get to learn Slovene properly. Cause they don't have to.
I think it's the same here in Sweden, although I'm not sure. I've noticed that mostly people from countries outside of Sweden who live here, know less English than the native Swedes.

I actually met a lady who spoke English with me, on the bus - about a week ago. She asked me for directions. It was soooo much fun. :laugh:

nath
14-05-2006, 21:49
While I got an impression in France that people wouldn't respond even if they did understand english. French, italians, germans to name just a few... from my observation a general tendency with those nations is that they feel PROUD for not speaking anything else (that certain "speak French/Italian/German or fuck off" vibe), while native English speakers are actually ashamed of it.So there must be something to this euro-language arrongance. :P
I don't think it's such an arrogance for French people....just they don't know English...

May be some old French Persons don't like English mentality....but a lot of French persons are so bad in English that they just don't dare to speak it.
That's why you think they are arrogant.

Morever, when you have to speak English , you have to use different muscles from the face...so when you ask to somebody to change of language SUDDENLY it isn't so easy...
You need some time you be used to use the good muscles...
Ask to Patrick who is very good in English...when he met Olga , he needed some time to adapt himself to speak English...
So if you ask suddenly , in the street , something to a French in English: 1/ he is surprised 2/ he is ashamed because he doesn't know English except "My tailor is rich" or "I love you" so he escapes because he doesn't know how to act...
May be you've met arrogant French persons ...it's absolutely possible cause it exists as everywhere else...but I don't think the main reason of this absence of answer is arrogance.

And the last thing: don't judge all the French by a comparaison with people from Nice or other places near it....cause there...if you have from Paris , they don't answer to you neither...not because they feel French but because they feel just from their region...

Some persons from the South are not really sympathetic indeed..they could be okay with tourists but after they are not kind at all...with Strangers as with other French who live far from their region...

The most generous and warm, indeed, are the French from the Extrem North.

Sabeena
14-05-2006, 21:57
May be some old French Persons don't like English mentality....but a lot of French persons are so bad in English that they just don't dare to speak it.
That's why you think they are arrogant. hey.. im french... :lalala:... but i do know what you mean...their accent is soo funny though.. hehe

Lux
15-05-2006, 00:19
english evolves very quickly as a language. it is a simple language and far less complex than many other languages and for that, adopting it for use in business and other fields seems understandable. and because of America's geographic isolation, it is more difficult to learn a language than oh say, if a country is surrounded by many countries that use another language but remain in close proximity. it's a different culture altogether. in europe, i'm sure it is no big deal to know more than one language but in america, most people are only fluent in one. it would be more multicultural to require learning another language starting at an early age but by no means do i think only knowing english is smug. that makes no sense.

haku
15-05-2006, 01:00
Shut, Patrick ....I knew that but I 've tried to avoid to be too "chauvinistic"Hehe, well, i like that period of history since at the time Normandy was independant and we were at the peak of our power. :D

I actually regret the way things evolved later (Normandy and England separating, Normandy becoming part of France and England becoming part of a unified kingdom with the Celtic nations Scotland, Wales and Ireland for some time.
I wish Normandy and England had remained a unified state - Anglo-Normandie - like during the glorious days of William I, King of England and Duke of Normandy.
And today we would speak Anglo-Norman on both sides of the channel, an exquisite fusion of Old English and Old Norman-French. :D

By the way my father is Normand...I don't remember if I told you that Pat...;) Yeah, you mentioned it. :D

*amazed at how intelligent haku is*
Seriously, you pretty much know everything that ever happened in the world.Haha, you make me blush.

Ask to Patrick who is very good in English...when he met Olga , he needed some time to adapt himself to speak English...Yeah, it takes me some time to switch and be comfortable orally (even though i obviously don't have any problem switching in a second in writing), haha. Last year i spent a week in Germany (for business, we communicated in English) and at first it was a bit difficult but after a few hours it comes naturally.
It's also much easier to communicate with other non-natives anyway, with native English speakers you often get the feeling that you're annoying them because your English is not good enough for their standards. But it's probably like that with the native speakers of any other language.
So English is a great language to communicate with non-native English speakers, but not so much with native speakers, LOL.

Rachel
15-05-2006, 01:08
So English is a great language to communicate with non-native English speakers, but not so much with native speakers, LOL.Was it that way when we spoke on mic? :bum:

haku
15-05-2006, 01:30
Was it that way when we spoke on mic?Not at all. :kwink:

To precise my thought… I meant when you meet people you don't know (for business or whatever), when you meet Germans and Italians for example (something i did 6 months ago), everybody has a funny accent and you stick to a rather international business English, everybody is comfortable because nobody is a master of English.
But if you meet a native speaker, they speak fast, they use phrases and expressions, you often can't keep up and they 'dominate' you, and that puts you in an awkward and sometimes embarrassing position.

It's obviously totally different when you meet friends or at least people in an informal context.

freddie
15-05-2006, 06:27
[OFF]It's also much easier to communicate with other non-natives anyway, with native English speakers you often get the feeling that you're annoying them because your English is not good enough for their standards. But it's probably like that with the native speakers of any other language.
So English is a great language to communicate with non-native English speakers, but not so much with native speakers, LOL.

Oh I know the feeling. When I was in the States I constantly got the feeling they were all annoyed with teh fact I had to pause to think of a word to say sometimes, and how the manner in which I spoke didn't really follow their usual patterns... not to mention my harsh slavic accent... everytime I opened my mouth I felt like dying. But it got a bit easier as time went by.

I agree it's much easier speaking to non-native English speakers. We're all in the same boat so to speak.

Winkie
15-05-2006, 08:15
[OFF]It's also much easier to communicate with other non-natives anyway, with native English speakers you often get the feeling that you're annoying them because your English is not good enough for their standards. But it's probably like that with the native speakers of any other language.

I know that feeling yeah. We went to Germany with school and we stayed in host family's.. But well, they were all German and they were (of course) fluent in German. So you feel really.. "stupid" when you speak German because you feel like they're laughing at you and think you suck and bladiebla *rambles on*

mir
15-05-2006, 22:54
ah dont worry, there are also many languages , like russian(ive been told), in which cases if one just only tries, the native speakers DO appreciate your effort so my guess is that its more a matter of self reflection and in some cases just cultural difference.....

just my thoughts tho...

dradeel
16-05-2006, 00:27
Its clear then that spanish is wider spread around the world than french or german...
Yeah, you're right. It has increased a great deal since the last list I saw. Perhaps it was only a some languges from the whole list. :)

However, i disagree with some of the people above, English is by far the simplest language of the Indo-European familly.
It's a unique language indeed, and not similar to any other. But because of this you'd have a hard time learning it if you had no exposure to it. English is fuuull of exceptions from rules. It's just a mix of everything. It's been losing some of the really heavy things that other languages might strive with, but english is easy almost only because of the cultural influence unto other countries.

An example; Norwegian is veeeery simple. Easy rules with few exceptions. It's not like french or german (i have no knowledge to french, and only speak from what I've heard by other) with hardcore rules and stuff. Norwegian has no casus and has a pretty standard build up of sentences. In some ways it's similar to both English and German, only it has few exceptions and no casuses. If Norwegian would influence as much as English I'm positive Norwegian would be easier to learn. Of course, I can't say that for sure :) Hehehe. Dutch is the most similar language to Norwegian grammatically I think.

forre
16-05-2006, 05:14
Norwegian is veeeery simple.
Norwegian has so poor semantic row that before it can be adapted to the world culture it has to be transformed by adding a couple of millions words.

This is my take on the subject:

In some 50-60 years, people of all countries will be speaking at least English. It'll be a result of influence from Europe and USA. European countries have already adopted English language as a sort of "all-around" means of communication. Since economy, culture and politics are dominated by Europe and USA, there's no other way out than a complete adaptation of English.

As for the "future" English. It has to evolve a bit more. I'm sure that it will be enriched by words from another languages. Btw, there are only 27% of English-English words left in the language nowadays.

Do native speakers need to learn more languages? Why not! It won't harm an overall cultural level of the nation but on the contrary.

*forre is seldom wrong* LOL

zelda05
16-05-2006, 14:18
... not to mention my harsh slavic accent... everytime I opened my mouth I felt like dying.
Haha. You have a lovely accent. :p

dradeel
17-05-2006, 02:08
Norwegian has so poor semantic row that before it can be adapted to the world culture it has to be transformed by adding a couple of millions words.
MILLIONS? People have been able to surive and have no problem using about 30-40 000 words in total. There's have no point in adding millions of words, but aye, as it's a small language it needs some new words. However, these words you could easily get from English. But either way, Norwegian is much easier than English grammatically.

In some 50-60 years, people of all countries will be speaking at least English. It'll be a result of influence from Europe and USA. European countries have already adopted English language as a sort of "all-around" means of communication.
Agree. Dunno about all countries in the whole wide world, but every single inhabitant in the western world will be talking english fluently. Dunno about asians and some southern americans and africans and so on tho... :)

forre
17-05-2006, 04:48
MILLIONS? People have been able to surive and have no problem using about 30-40 000 words in total.
I was generalizing. No offense.

marina
17-05-2006, 12:21
In some 50-60 years, people of all countries will be speaking at least English.

Of course ! Even cats know that ....see , which one does it right , eh ? :

Cat mewing :
Danish: miav
Dutch: miauw
English: meow
Finnish: miau
French: miaou
German: miau
Greek: miaou
Hebrew: miyau
Hungarian: miau
Italian: miau
Japanese: nyan nyan/nyaa nyaa
Russian: miyau
Spanish: miao
Swedish: mjan mjan
Turkish: miyav
Urdu: meow



:D

haku
17-05-2006, 15:07
But either way, Norwegian is much easier than English grammatically.As far as i know, Norwegian (like all Scandinavian languages) has 2 or 3 grammatical genders, that disqualifies it as being grammatically simpler than English right there since English has no grammatical gender.

Grammatical genders are always a nightmare for non-native speakers of any language since you have to learn by heart the gender of every single noun. In every sentence you have to always wonder 'is this thing masculine, feminine, neuter?', that's very complicated and causes non-natives to make many gender mistakes (mistakes which sound generally ridiculous and annoying to native speakers for whom it comes naturally that a 'table' is feminine for example).
Not to mention that in some of those languages with grammatical genders, adjectives and past participles also agree in gender with the nouns they qualify, so the whole sentence become gender dependant and if you make a single mistake it just sounds totally wrong.

Obviously the fact that English has no such grammatical difficulties (nouns have no gender, adjectives and past participles are invariable) is what makes it a simple language to learn.

And to get back to Norwegian, i could also mention that Norwegian (again like all Scandinavian languages) has the particularity to have a post-positioned definite article that gets attached to the noun (and agrees in gender and number with it) and therefore pretty much acts like a declension.
Again, English is much simpler, the definite article "the" is invariable and always before a noun.

(For people who don't quite get it, when you say 'the door' in English, it becomes the equivalent of 'doorthe' in Scandinavian languages, the definite article is attached to the end of the noun and acts like a declension, and of course the definite article has to agree in gender and number with the noun it is attached to.)

Also, as far as i know, Norwegian is devided into many 'varieties' (Bokmal, Riksmal, Nynorsk, Hognorsk, and so on) with sometimes rather important grammatical differences (some have 3 genders while others only 2 if i'm not mistaken) and that doesn't exactly look like something simple from a non-native point of view.

forre
17-05-2006, 15:12
(For people who don't quite get it, when you say 'the door' in English, it becomes the equivalent of 'doorthe' in Scandinavian languages, the definite article is attached to the end of the noun and acts like a declension, and of course the definite article has to agree in gender and number with the noun it is attached to.)
Ha-ha, a real nightmare for non-natives. I had to learn both English and Swedish from scratch and can assure you that English is more functional + simplier. It's better developed as a language too.

marina
17-05-2006, 16:32
the particularity to have a post-positioned definite article that gets attached to the noun (and agrees in gender and number with it) and therefore pretty much acts like a declension.

“ looks at haku with eyes as saucers” Really , you are so clever , sometimes you frighten me ! :)

On the whole I am agree with you, though nobody mentioned the tricky parts of English. Take spelling for instance. Spelling could be hideous for people trying to learn the language . Where else can you see the words with 5 , 6 , 8 letters in it and half of them is silent ? They just stand there for spelling sake , like some old chairs in the furniture store . You actually not saying them. If you see a letter *s* or *k* or *t*etc. in Russian word , you have to say them for sure , you never miss them ! You maybe never seen the word before written on the paper but you could write it just by hearing how it sounds. You may still make the mistake but not so dramatic as in English where all sense would be lost and nobody could understand what exactly you are trying to say . For every single word the beginners have to look up the dictionary and memorize . Why is womb pronounced woom and comb pronounced coam? And how about *nausea*?:D
That’s may be not a big deal when we just chat on the forum (look at everyday forum’s life , count the words we use on daily basis and you come up with 100 words if you are lucky ! ) Not very rich language in here , you must admit this . But if we are talking about learning REALLY good English , foreigners would have a hard time .

dradeel
17-05-2006, 18:54
Also, as far as i know, Norwegian is devided into many 'varieties' (Bokmal, Riksmal, Nynorsk, Hognorsk, and so on) with sometimes rather important grammatical differences (some have 3 genders while others only 2 if i'm not mistaken) and that doesn't exactly look like something simple from a non-native point of view.
Heh... Bokmål and Nynorsk are the only types of Norwegian. Bokmål is the new name for Riksmål. The use of Riksmål grammatics have died out really, and Høgnorsk? I don't think it has been mentioned about for quite some decades. Bokmål, or Riksmål if you like, can have 2 genders, yeah. (in the modernizing it has been added a gander, femininum (aye? heh), but you don't really have to use it. I don't use it when I'm writing bokmål, which is my main form of norwegian.) Bokmål is spoken and written by 85-90 percent of the people. You have nynorsk with 10-15 percent, and they are all situated in west-norway. Also, these forms of norwegian are extremely similar. It's actually surprisingly similar compared to the fact they are mentioned as two different forms of norwegian.

But yeah, I guess you're right. The gender-thing could be a bitch :p But that wasn't honestly my biggest problem when I was learning German. Cause most noun are linked to different genders according to what letter(s) they end on. So you don't have to memorize every noun, only what type of noun goes for each gender. In german you'll see that most nouns ending on 'e' is feminine. But then again you have german with all it's exceptions. It' was the casuses that messed with my brain, and also the way each words change for "who" you're talking to/about for eeevery siiingle word. That's also the case in english. Example; I am, You are, He she it is, we are, you are, they are. In norwegian it's: Jeg er, du er, han hun det er, vi er, dere er, de er. The same all over. I'd think that makes it so much easier for people. At least german was a bitch for me with all that stuff :) And then you have all the strong and weak verbs and what not you have to memorize.
though nobody mentioned the tricky parts of English. Take spelling for instance
A very good point. Since I've been talking about Norwegian I can only say that from the mid 1800s till now the goal has been to make the language you write similar to the one you speak. Words are pronounced as they are written. The only little thing that's still haunting the language is the o (in different situations pronounced either o or å in norwegian). But it's not that important really, so yeah.. Heh.

Argos
17-05-2006, 19:42
Take spelling for instance. Spelling could be hideous for people trying to learn the language ....Why is womb pronounced woom and comb pronounced coam? And how about *nausea*?:D

Everybody wants to convince us that english is the easiest language but we know better! If you learn english by listening, you can't read or write, and if you learn english out of books only, you don't understand the spoken words.

An example: How would you pronounce the fictive word 'ghoti'?

gh: enou-gh ->[inu-f] gh->f
o: w-o-men ->[w-i-min] o->i
ti: na-ti-on->[nei-sh-n] ti->sh

Result: 'ghoti' is pronounced 'fish'. :lol:

English is irrational and totally strange! So let's choose norwegian (or Boknorsk or Nymal or whatsoever) as our official EU 'esperanto' language. :coctail:

forre
17-05-2006, 20:16
I don't think we are choosing here, we are facing a reality where English is becomming more of an all-around international language. Spelling could get simplier with time as we already see between British and Am. English:
Colour - color, favour - favor for instance.

haku
17-05-2006, 20:25
you are so clever , sometimes you frighten me !Haha *blushes* :o

Where else can you see the words with 5 , 6 , 8 letters in it and half of them is silent ?Hehe, in French! The number of silent letters in English is *nothing* compared to the number of silent letters in French, we are the specialists of silent letters. :D

I'll give you a typical example which is often given to non-natives trying to learn French to show them what they can expect and how confusing it can be for them:
"Les poules du couvent couvent." which means "The hens of the convent are brooding."
Now the same sentence with the silent letters in brackets: "Le(s) poul(es) du couven(t) couv(ent)."

As you can see, the main difficulty is that the last two words are spelled exactly the same *but* pronounced differently, the first "couvent" means "convent" (and obviously the English word comes from Norman-French) and is pronounced "couven", the second "couvent" means "brood" and it is a form of the verb "couver" (to brood) which happens to take the "ent" ending at the 3rd plural person of the indicative present tense, becoming identical in spelling to the first "couvent" but not in pronunciation since the verbal "ent" ending is always silent.

You see, a typical French verb has about 40 to 50 verbal endings, but most of them are either silent or partially silent, and many are identical in pronunciation but different in spelling.

An example of that, here's the conjugation of the verb "parler" (1st verbal group, regular) at the present tense (numbers represent personal pronouns in their usual order):
1. parle - 2. parles - 3. parle - 4. parlons - 5. parlez - 6. parlent
Now with silent letters in brackets:
1. parl(e) - 2. parl(es) - 3. parl(e) - 4. parlon(s) - 5. parle(z) - 6. parl(ent)

As you can see, 4 out of 6 endings are totally silent (and therefore the verb is pronounced exactly the same), the 2 other endings have a final silent letter. You'll find the same kind of thing in all tenses and all verbal groups.

And don't think it's limited to verbs, many adjectives for example end with a silent letter (at their masculine form), and what makes it even more complex is that 'unsilencing' that letter is how the feminine form is made, that's right!

For example: "fort" (masculine) and "forte" (feminine) [meaning "strong"] are pronounced "for" and "fort" respectively…
Or "long" (masculine) and "longue" (feminine) [meaning "long", duh] are pronounced "lon" and "long" respectively…

'Unsilencing' the last consonant is what makes the second form feminine, and of course there's no way for a non-native to ever guess what letter they should add to a masculine form to get the feminine one since those letters follow no other logic than Latin ethymology.

I'll finish by adding that just like in English, you simply add an 's' to nouns (and adjectives and past participles in French) to create the plural form of a word, but guess what… The plural 's' is always silent in French. ;)

nath
17-05-2006, 20:36
Pat...and don't forget the "h"....English often asked me why we, French, are so stupid to have built a language where we write a "h" which we don't pronounce at all..."homme"=man-->om

Argos
17-05-2006, 20:48
Hehe, in French! The number of silent letters in English is *nothing* compared to the number of silent letters in French, we are the specialists of silent letters. :D

And now I know why french manuals have always the double weight of english ones. French people like to write so much, that they continue writing after the word has actually ended. Strange language, too!

Obie
17-05-2006, 23:45
I think that perhaps everybody speaks english just because is the easiest language to learn not because of the american power... dont worry...

Yeah, that's true, they have less problems with verbs,,,, vosotros tenéis, yo lo hubiere de haberlo visto,,,, (existe eso), anyway,,,, I've also had problems in English.... and I'm saying the truth , if I was a North American or an English I would have studied more languages like Spanish, why not.

About Lazy English speakers,,, there's a survey saying Americans (I mean those from EEUU)are too lasy to read subtitles in foreing movies..... maybe there are too many movies in this language that it almost doesn't make sense not to make them in English or translate them,,,,,


omg... so you can understand spanish QueenBee? Que calladito lo tenías bonita jajaja

OMG too,,,, so Queenbee cómo así????????, manifiéstate !!!!, je je (English translation of JE JE is HA HA,,,,:D ,, no problem?????)

QueenBee
18-05-2006, 00:04
No comprendo. :smoke:

vanik
18-05-2006, 00:16
No comprendo. :smoke:

You dont understand... :confused:

You said little QueenBee that you know spanish, dont you? Obezyanki and me want to know.... Queremos saber si hablas español...

QueenBee
18-05-2006, 00:23
vanik, hablo, pero un poco :p

My goal is to know it well at the end of this year. At least as well as I can.

vanik
18-05-2006, 00:27
vanik, hablo, pero un poco :p

My goal is to know it well at the end of this year. At least as well as I can.

that´s ok... if you need help with spanish dont hesitate and ask us... ok?

QueenBee
18-05-2006, 00:28
Sure! Thanks alot. :gigi: :rose:

vanik
18-05-2006, 00:36
Sure! Thanks alot. :gigi: :rose:

you´re welcome little Queenbee :p

Obie
18-05-2006, 00:49
that's my word too Queenbee,,,,,

freddie
18-05-2006, 11:19
Haha *blushes* :o

Hehe, in French! The number of silent letters in English is *nothing* compared to the number of silent letters in French, we are the specialists of silent letters. :D

I'll give you a typical example which is often given to non-natives trying to learn French to show them what they can expect and how confusing it can be for them:
"Les poules du couvent couvent." which means "The hens of the convent are brooding."
Now the same sentence with the silent letters in brackets: "Le(s) poul(es) du couven(t) couv(ent)."

As you can see, the main difficulty is that the last two words are spelled exactly the same *but* pronounced differently, the first "couvent" means "convent" (and obviously the English word comes from Norman-French) and is pronounced "couven", the second "couvent" means "brood" and it is a form of the verb "couver" (to brood) which happens to take the "ent" ending at the 3rd plural person of the indicative present tense, becoming identical in spelling to the first "couvent" but not in pronunciation since the verbal "ent" ending is always silent.

You see, a typical French verb has about 40 to 50 verbal endings, but most of them are either silent or partially silent, and many are identical in pronunciation but different in spelling.

An example of that, here's the conjugation of the verb "parler" (1st verbal group, regular) at the present tense (numbers represent personal pronouns in their usual order):
1. parle - 2. parles - 3. parle - 4. parlons - 5. parlez - 6. parlent
Now with silent letters in brackets:
1. parl(e) - 2. parl(es) - 3. parl(e) - 4. parlon(s) - 5. parle(z) - 6. parl(ent)

As you can see, 4 out of 6 endings are totally silent (and therefore the verb is pronounced exactly the same), the 2 other endings have a final silent letter. You'll find the same kind of thing in all tenses and all verbal groups.

And don't think it's limited to verbs, many adjectives for example end with a silent letter (at their masculine form), and what makes it even more complex is that 'unsilencing' that letter is how the feminine form is made, that's right!

For example: "fort" (masculine) and "forte" (feminine) [meaning "strong"] are pronounced "for" and "fort" respectively…
Or "long" (masculine) and "longue" (feminine) [meaning "long", duh] are pronounced "lon" and "long" respectively…

'Unsilencing' the last consonant is what makes the second form feminine, and of course there's no way for a non-native to ever guess what letter they should add to a masculine form to get the feminine one since those letters follow no other logic than Latin ethymology.

I'll finish by adding that just like in English, you simply add an 's' to nouns (and adjectives and past participles in French) to create the plural form of a word, but guess what… The plural 's' is always silent in French. ;)

Jesus. :p

I think I'll rather try spanish or portugese. :p

haku
18-05-2006, 15:18
Jesus. :p

I think I'll rather try spanish or portugese. :p
Sorry freddie, i didn't mean to scare you. :D French is a difficult language (unless your native tongue is another Romance language of course, in that case it's obviously much easier), you have to be reasonably motivated to learn it.
That being said, i don't think French is harder than any given Slavic language, the difficulties are not in the same grammatical areas, but the overall amount of difficulties are about the same, i think. So a motivated Slavic person should not be overwhelmed by the difficulties of a language like French. :)


On a side note, if anyone who doesn't know any Romance language wants to learn one just out of curiosity, i would recommend to start with Italian, it's by far the closest one to Latin and it has kept most of the integrity of the original language (while still losing the awful declension system of Latin).

Obie
18-05-2006, 18:40
For French and Italian, Portuguese and Spanish speakers it is easier to learn these languages( the ones I mentioned),,, because of their common writing and sound,,, :)

Argos
18-05-2006, 19:00
... i would recommend to start with Italian, it's by far the closest one to Latin and it has kept most of the integrity of the original language .

I thought it's the sardinian language. When I was there more than 20 years ago I could understand them quite well with my latin knowledge, but I understand only very few of italian. It sounds completely like latin with only little changes with consonants and almost complete maintenance of the original vocals.

Obie
18-05-2006, 19:16
Did you know that italians and argentins have the same accent,, well kind of!:D ,,, sounds great!, you recognize them from the very first time,,, if they're not pretending their voice though!

Argos
18-05-2006, 19:36
Did you know that italians and argentins have the same accent,, well kind of!:D

From the many italian names of argentinian people I am not surprised, should rub off on their tongue.

Is it true what I have heard that argentinians say that they speak 'castellano' (purest spanish) and call the spanish people 'gallegos' for their 'peasant-like' spanish?

haku
19-05-2006, 22:31
I thought it's the sardinian language.Yeah, i meant among the 5 main Romance languages, Italian is the closest to Latin. But yeah, Sardinian is definitely the most conservative Romance language and is certainly an interesting study for someone into linguistics.

Obie
19-05-2006, 22:48
From the many italian names of argentinian people I am not surprised, should rub off on their tongue.

Is it true what I have heard that argentinians say that they speak 'castellano' (purest spanish) and call the spanish people 'gallegos' for their 'peasant-like' spanish?

I don't think so,,,, I guess, they speak Spanish as if they were singing ( and I must confess it sounds really sexy),,, If you mean their Spanish is the way it was spoken originally,, I don't know,,, latin americans have different accents,,,, mexicans, cubans, peruvians, argentins, colombians, ecuadorians have different accents and we difference that..... it must happen in other languages,, doesn't it?,,,,, some people prefer Mexicans translations (about movies), than Spanish people,,,, 'cause they're not used to it,,, and because it sounds a little funny, their "Z".

spyretto
20-05-2006, 00:00
On a side note, if anyone who doesn't know any Romance language wants to learn one just out of curiosity, i would recommend to start with Italian, it's by far the closest one to Latin and it has kept most of the integrity of the original language (while still losing the awful declension system of Latin).

closer than Romanian? :eek:

haku
20-05-2006, 00:10
closer than Romanian? :eek:Easily, Romanian has diverged a lot from Latin, it's been heavily influenced by Slavic languages, which is not surprising since Romanians have been isolated in the middle of a Slavic sea for 10 centuries. :p

freddie
20-05-2006, 00:41
Sorry freddie, i didn't mean to scare you. :D French is a difficult language (unless your native tongue is another Romance language of course, in that case it's obviously much easier), you have to be reasonably motivated to learn it.
That being said, i don't think French is harder than any given Slavic language, the difficulties are not in the same grammatical areas, but the overall amount of difficulties are about the same, i think. So a motivated Slavic person should not be overwhelmed by the difficulties of a language like French. :)

Yeah, yeah. I know, slavic languages are a bitch to learn too. I shouldn't complain about french when foreigners learning Slovene are going through agony trying to learn our dual grammatical number. But I'll always tell them french pronunciations are much more of a pain in the ass than our proto-indo-european grammatical remains. Now I need to find me some heavy duty motivation. :bum:


closer than Romanian? :eek:

I always thought Romanian was closer as well. :p
But granted it had to be influenced by slavic languages somewhere along the way cause I actually recognize an odd word or two sometimes.

spyretto
20-05-2006, 01:33
Easily, Romanian has diverged a lot from Latin, it's been heavily influenced by Slavic languages, which is not surprising since Romanians have been isolated in the middle of a Slavic sea for 10 centuries. :p

Shouldn't that isolation and single influence work to their advantage instead? I mean, in my layman's book, If you compare Latin to Spanish and French - which were apparently subjected to so many influences over the course of history - the diversion from Latin seems so much greater...that, and also the fact that some Romanian guy I know was so cocky about the language being "the true romance language preserved directly from Latin" when I pointed out the similarities to him.

To answer the question about the dominance of English, nowadays everybody learns how to speak English early, so it shouldn't even be considered as a foreign language anymore. it's the international language for basic communication and young people learn it alongside their native one. Not sure how the native English speakers must feel about the fact but I can say for myself that I feel very disadvantaged for not being able to learn another foreign language...or two.

There are of course negative consequences because English has became subject to overt simplification as a result of the above. It has lost a lot of its former eloquence and power as a literally tool from the Shakespearean times onwards. And of course, Americans are party to blame for that as well.

haku
20-05-2006, 15:30
Shouldn't that isolation and single influence work to their advantage instead? I mean, in my layman's book, If you compare Latin to Spanish and French - which were apparently subjected to so many influences over the course of history - the diversion from Latin seems so much greater...that, and also the fact that some Romanian guy I know was so cocky about the language being "the true romance language preserved directly from Latin" when I pointed out the similarities to him.Well, let's be clear that this is mainly my opinion and nothing more, i know that many people would consider Romanian closer to Latin than Italian.

But first of all, regarding the "the true romance language preserved directly from Latin" statement (it's the "Balkan pride" effect i'm guessing, lol), this is simply not true. Like Argos pointed out, Sardinian is the most conservative spoken Romance language, there is no contest here.

Now, regarding whether Romanian is closer to Latin than Italian. It is true that Romanian exhibits some very conservative features, it has kept 3 genders (neuter was lost in other languages) and a declension system (totally lost in other languages) and the word morphology is generally closer to latin words (in other languages, words have often been simplified, shortened, altered).
However, Romanian also exhibits this (quote from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romance_languages)):
Romanian (together with other related minor languages, like Aromanian) in fact has a number of grammatical features which are unique within Romance, but are shared with other non-Romance languages of the Balkans, such as Albanian, Bulgarian, Greek, and Serbian. These features include, for example, the structure of the vestigial case system, the placement of articles as suffixes of the nouns (cer = "sky", cerul= "the sky"), and several more. This phenomenon, called the Balkan linguistic union, may be due to contacts between those languages in post-Roman times.Like i said, Romanian was heavily influenced by other Balkan languages (none of them being Romance), Romanian acquired many new grammatical features specific to that particular region, and in my opinion, those transformations push Romanian further away from the Latin tree than the simple process of simplification that Italian went through.

To answer the question about the dominance of English, nowadays everybody learns how to speak English early, so it shouldn't even be considered as a foreign language anymore. it's the international language for basic communication and young people learn it alongside their native one. Not sure how the native English speakers must feel about the fact but I can say for myself that I feel very disadvantaged for not being able to learn another foreign language...or two.

There are of course negative consequences because English has became subject to overt simplification as a result of the above. It has lost a lot of its former eloquence and power as a literally tool from the Shakespearean times onwards. And of course, Americans are party to blame for that as well.I think it's entirely possible that International English and English spoken by natives will evolve in different paths.

It's already happening, English spoken in England, for example, is following its own path with specific evolutions in pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary, a totally normal phenomenon for a local language spoken by a group of people close geographically.

International English on the other hand (or Globish) is evolving differently. In mainland Europe where Globish is used as a lingua franca, non-natives are bringing back English to a more 'continental' pronunciation for example, the difference between long and short wowels is lost (speak is pronounced 'spik' with a continental Latin-like i-sound), complex diphthongs are essentially phased out, the 3rd person 's' ending at the present tense is often not used, irregular 'strong' verbs can become regular 'weak' verbs, etc.
Basically, non-natives are making International English evolve toward a more simple sound system, with only half a dozen vowels like in Romance or Slavic languages. The next step will be of course to actually write that spoken Globish to reflect that more simple pronunciation, something that will eventually happen (the irrational spelling of English is the main complaint of non-native speakers), just like with Vulgar Latin. And at that point Globish will be separate from British or American English.

marina
24-05-2006, 11:57
Why a language becomes a global language has little to do with the number of people who speak it. It's much more to do with who those speakers are .
Ease of learning has nothing to do with it either . Or at least it's not main reason. English becomes an international language for one chief reason --- the political power of its people --especially their military power. Without that strong power or base (political , military , economic) no language can make such progress as to become globish , international , dominant etc.
Language exists in brains , mouths, ears , hands and eyes of users. When they succeed , internationally stage I mean , their language succeeds. When they fail , their language fails.

freddie
24-05-2006, 14:21
I doubt over-simplification of english will happen anytime soon. It was a different story with vulgaric latin accents - those subtle differences compared to classical latin began to take place when people from different parts of Roman Empire got isolated from the regular latin spoken in Rome. Combine that with the lack of education and grammar herritage which was only spread orally and you get a pefect recipe for massive evolutions among latin dialects of different regions. Modern times are different in that respect - people are usually well schooled, most learn British English in school and since the world is becoming a global village we're not as isolated from native english speakers as speakers of vulgaric latin were from roman citizens fluent in classical latin.

Petesawido
30-05-2006, 12:07
When I grew up in Scotland, we didnt start learning a language till age 12, and it was either French or German, you had no choice of which. This was compulsary until age 16. When I was 13 I went to stay with my auntie and uncle in France and it kick-started my learning of french. I got into listening to french music, which helped me a lot, and after a few years I found myself being able to communicate well in french with my relatives.

However, in my town in Scotland, there was no other music/film/tv other than english (with the occasional gaelic :eek: ) and none of my friends have ever shown an interest in another language, so much so that they actually thought it was amusing that I could now understand french tv and music. My friends sometimes say, "it would be good to learn another language", but they dont ever have the incentive to stick at it, everything is in english!!! Even when british people go on holiday, they expect that everyone will speak english to them.

I remember watching an English tv program about emigrating to Italy, the english woman on it said "the problem with estate agents in italy, is that their adverts are all in italian" - well duh!!!!

The standard of foreign languages in Britain is so poor as the majority dont want to learn a foreign language, and see no reason for doing so :( :confused:

Khartoun2004
14-07-2006, 18:06
Do people from the states or from britain have german or french or spanish classes at school?

I can't speak for the UK, but in the US we start learning a second language between 6th and 7th grade or 11-13 years old. The selection of languages offered at a school depends on the region of the country and even from town to town. My school offered Spanish and French as main languages, but also offered a year or two of German, Latin and Italian.

The problem with teaching languages here is that we generally start later than European countries, the only exposure we have to different languages is generally at school in class (there are the exceptions of children from immigrant families) and the teachers themselves aren't fluent in the language. Plus, at least in my high school, language was considered to be a slack off class and we were only required to take the eqivalent of two years of a foreign language and they didn't need to the same language. A person could therefore take introductary French one year and then intro to Spanish the next and never have to go farther to graduate.

shizzo
15-07-2006, 23:26
we start learning a second language between 6th and 7th grade or 11-13 years old
And that age is dropping. In fact, I think it's one of the best
ideas television networks have come up with to promote
bilingual educational programming by using lesbians (http://i-love-cartoons.com/snags/clipart/dora-clipart/Dora-the-explorer.jpg).
:gigi:

la_fee_verte
18-07-2006, 10:15
In Australia - or where I am atleast - It is only compulsary to learn a foreign language for one year of school at the age of 12. I personally think that is appaling. I truly regret not taking french (cause it was the only language offered) for my final 2 years of school. I intend to pick a language up when I do my Bachelor of Arts - Political Science (Hopefully ^^) next year.

English is an appaling language and I think everyone, regardless of nationality, should learn atleast one other foreign language.

Rachel
18-07-2006, 17:33
One year? :eek: God, that is worse than here. You can't learn anything in a year!

freddie
18-07-2006, 21:33
English is an appaling language and I think everyone, regardless of nationality, should learn atleast one other foreign language.

Appaling? Why do you reckon? I think it's quite nice, to be honest. A lot less rigid than for instance Slovene, Serbo-Croatian or German.

Rachel
18-07-2006, 21:36
Serbo-CroatianLOOOOOOOOL I can see what you're trying to do again! :laugh:

freddie
18-07-2006, 21:40
LOOOOOOOOL I can see what you're trying to do again! :laugh:
*giggle*

It's THE SAME though. Oh the insanity. :p I speak one language when conversing with Serbians or Croatians and I have no idea which 'cause they're virtually indistinguishable to me. Both Serbians and Croatians understand me.

la_fee_verte
18-07-2006, 22:34
Appaling? Why do you reckon? I think it's quite nice, to be honest. A lot less rigid than for instance Slovene, Serbo-Croatian or German.

I don't like english because the rules are so stupid. And the spelling! I can hardly get my head around the spelling and english is my native tongue! Good luck to the people who have to learn english as a secondary language. The only languages which are supposedly more difficult are Arabic and Chinese.

For that one year I did Italian. I was at a performing arts high school for music and my entire class were musos, so some of us could speak italian words. My teacher refused to teach me for a whole term because I was twisting the 'music' words around and using them in my assessments. All that I can remember from that single year is counting from 1 to 20, 'what is your name' and the reply, and 'how are you?'

freddie
18-07-2006, 22:41
I don't like english because the rules are so stupid. And the spelling! I can hardly get my head around the spelling and english is my native tongue! Good luck to the people who have to learn english as a secondary language. The only languages which are supposedly more difficult are Arabic and Chinese.

I'd add French to that list. :bum:

Rachel
18-07-2006, 22:42
I'd add French to that list. :bum:Me too! :bum: Five years of French...and...nothing. :none:

Kyro
18-07-2006, 22:43
I'd add French to that list.

I don't find it particularly difficult. Now Japanese, on the other hand...

dradeel
19-07-2006, 00:22
I don't find it particularly difficult. Now Japanese, on the other hand...
You find Japenese hard? I could understand boring, and that one have no patience to sit down and learn glossaries and stuff, but Japenese isn't grammatically a hard language, is it?

I thought it was easy piecy. It's just that it takes some time to learn all the words, cause they share no words or anything with any european languages - ruling away the fact that the new words they add to the language are english :p

Kyro
19-07-2006, 00:31
You find Japenese hard? I could understand boring, and that one have no patience to sit down and learn glossaries and stuff, but Japenese isn't grammatically a hard language, is it?

Well I kinda gave up after a while, but I think the reason I found it so hard was because everything about it sounds so different to European languages, but many of their sounds are very similarto each other, making it hard for me to learn and remember words. I also found the sentence structure pretty confusing, but I think I could have got over that if I tried. It's probably not really that hard, it's just me :rolleyes:

dradeel
19-07-2006, 00:52
I also found the sentence structure pretty confusing, but I think I could have got over that if I tried. It's probably not really that hard, it's just me
Have you learned any other languages before embarking on Japenese? I mean on school and such ... sometimes it's hard when it's the "first language" you start on, cause one simply doesn't understand the whole complexity of a language. When I first started learning German at school, I thought it was one big ?, and after 3 years in Secondary school I didn't know a single shit. But as soon as I started on High School I got all the grammatics feeded to me with a tee-spoon, and it was like some light from heaven above struck down in me and I was enlightened. I now understood everything I didn't understand before ... the rules, the things I didn't see the point with before, did actually fit together in a system! :laugh:

That came as a surprise on everyone in my class, and I think that's how it is ..: when you first start learning a language you have no idea how to sew it all together. Even if you get it explained, even if there are rules that tell you how everything is supposed to be down to the last detail it's still very unusual for your brain to think like that. I think that I, after learning German at school for 5 years, now understand the complexity of learning a language, however I dunno a single word of German. Hahahaha. Well, I still understand abit when someone write and talk, but I can't write or speak it myself.

Perhaps it wasn't the same as it was for you, but it could be that your brain simply wasn't used to the thought of accepting words to be put in a different place in a sentence? :) That should be pretty frustrating anyways... Hehe.

Kyro
19-07-2006, 01:06
Have you learned any other languages before embarking on Japenese? I mean on school and such ... sometimes it's hard when it's the "first language" you start on, cause one simply doesn't understand the whole complexity of a language.

I've been learning French at school for 6 years now, as well as teaching myself some Russian, so I don't think that's much of a problem.

Perhaps it wasn't the same as it was for you, but it could be that your brain simply wasn't used to the thought of accepting words to be put in a different place in a sentence? That should be pretty frustrating anyways... Hehe.

I think that's what it is. It's just so different to anything I'm used to. At least with European languages, and some others, they have many similarities. It seems to be so different, in fact, that my brain just won't accept it. It would probably help a lot if I had a teacher to help me force it into my head. It seems to me that one of the hardest parts of learning a language is starting. Once you have something in your head you can build on it. I think I just gave up on it too soon.

haku
19-07-2006, 02:20
Japanese is in my opinion a very hard language, it's an isolate language (which means it's not related to any other languages) and its internal logic is very different from what we know in Indo-European languages.

For example, in Indo-European languages, to express a basic action, you use a personal pronoun and a verb, the personal pronoun indicates who does the action, the verb indicates what the action is (some Indo-European languages rarely use personal pronouns because the verbs have different endings for each person, which is enough to convey who does the action).

Well, Japanese doesn't have personal pronouns, it has words that can be used like personal pronouns in some specific cases, but most of the time, a typical Japanese sentence has no personal pronouns, and don't expect the verbal ending to indicate who does the action, Japanese verbs don't agree in person, number or gender… Which doesn't mean that Japanese verbs are invariable, oh no, they agree in politeness, that's right, Japanese verbs are conjugated according to 3 main levels of politeness (but there are more).

This simple example is to show that Japanese grammar rely on totally different concepts, on an entirely different logic, the language is totally alien for Indo-Euopean speakers (or speakers of any other language group for that matter) and require a huge mental effort to adapt to the Japanese logic.

And of course i didn't even mention the writing system which is actually a combination of no less than three writing systems, one ideographic (kanji) and two syllabic (hiragana, katakana).

The Wikipedia page on Japanese grammar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_grammar) gives a good idea of what to expect.


Oh and there's no way English is the 3rd most difficult language in the world. :D English is very easy, and it's by far the most simple language of the Indo-European familly, and that familly has dozens of languages which are all much more difficult than English.

freddie
19-07-2006, 03:42
Japanese is in my opinion a very hard language, it's an isolate language (which means it's not related to any other languages) and its internal logic is very different from what we know in Indo-European languages.

Some theories link it to an extended family with Turkic-Altaic family of languages. I've also read somewhere Korean and Japanese have similar grammar but completely different vocabulary, so it almost seems like some proto-koreans came to the Japanese islands a long time ago, maintained the old grammar rules while replacing the vocab with that of Japanese indigenous people. (which makes sense since Koreans and Japanese have much similarities genetically as well)


Oh and there's no way English is the 3rd most difficult language in the world. :D English is very easy, and it's by far the most simple language of the Indo-European familly, and that familly has dozens of languages which are all much more difficult than English.
I agree it's pretty easy to learn the basics, but a tough nut to crack if you want to master it properly. Completely opposite to German which as complicated grammar, but once you get past that it's pretty easy to catch it's nuances and get more intimate with it. Imo at least.
For example: I've had english in school for 5 years (not to mention I knew some basics before as well) and when I went to the States there were still some subtle socio-lingual nuances which were uncomprehendable to me, until someone explained them to me. English is a very expressive and flexible language, which is one of it's strenghts but also one of it's downfalls, since this contributes to a prolongued learning process. I firmly believe that someone who learned english as a second or third language will never ever master it as well as a random native speaker.

dradeel
19-07-2006, 06:00
I've been learning French at school for 6 years now, as well as teaching myself some Russian, so I don't think that's much of a problem.
Aaah, hehehehe.. I see. :D
Japanese is in my opinion a very hard language, it's an isolate language (which means it's not related to any other languages) and its internal logic is very different from what we know in Indo-European languages.
Excactemundo ... it's a language with no similarities to our own, but if one is able to look at it from a neutral POW, then the grammar are pretty easy. I mean: it's easier for me to learn japanese by myself as it is for a japenese guy to learn Norwegian. :p Alot... hehehe.
And of course i didn't even mention the writing system which is actually a combination of no less than three writing systems, one ideographic (kanji) and two syllabic (hiragana, katakana).
Yeah, I know... three combinations with three different "levels of complexity", aye? I recall reading the following: The easiest one is used in the everyday happenings, the middle one is used for docuements and stuff which is a bit important, and the most complex one is used in passports and stuff? This is just something I remember reading months, maybe years ago, so I can't say I know for sure... either way, that's for writing, and when you use the japanese alphabet as far as I know. You can write japanese with the latin alphabet, and then it's pretty much whatever..? Hehehe.

shizzo
19-07-2006, 09:11
Pff, Japanese is easy, y'all. :gigi:

Really, it isn't all that awful. Way different, but not difficult. One of the
key components to the language is that they don't deviate sentence
structure much at all, and they use particles to indicate which words in
the sentence are nominative, accusative, dative, etc. So once you get
into the mindset of thinking according to those sentence structures and
just replacing words as needed, forming sentences and learning vocabulary
is a breeze. The difficult part to learning Japanese (or any language, I
guess) is just detaching yourself from your own native language enough
for these things to become readily evident.

All it takes is practice. Once you get the core basics down, Japanese can
be an easier undertaking than most other languages. At least 'til you
have to learn the writing systems, which suck (and not in the good way).

:D

Know which language I myself think is hard? Abkhaz (http://www.abkhazia.org/lang.html), an ugly bitch of
a language if there ever was one. Ugly grammar, ugly consonant clusters,
ugly everything.

No language is too hard to learn. Just remember, there's probably a
fat little retarded 6-year old somewhere on the planet learning a language
that people say is hard, and if he can do it, so can anybody else.

:done:

samegirl
21-07-2006, 14:21
I agree with shizzo, but the older you get the more difficut is for you to learn a language, i Don't know why...
I speak spanissh and english and I can understand portuguese, but my brain can't make me pronounce the words, specially the ones that are a little bit alike with the spanish ones...I feel like I'm "misspeaking"
Russian and japanese have a relativetily easy structure but the part that has ben most difficult for me is in russian get used to the alphabet and in japanese, I'm unable to write kanji (i'm clumsy...) whatever i tried to write turned out like a baby's encounter with a pencil...
Regarding english, I just learned it because I like it and regarding the dominance of engilsh, I'm not so sure anymore...

dradeel
21-07-2006, 16:56
Just remember, there's probably a
fat little retarded 6-year old somewhere on the planet learning a language
that people say is hard, and if he can do it, so can anybody else.
Haha.. true, true.
The difficult part to learning Japanese (or any language, I
guess) is just detaching yourself from your own native language enough
for these things to become readily evident.
Yeah, I guess that must be the hardest problem for any language really. You have to put your mind into another set of thinking. Could be hard. I thought it was when I was learning German.

You don't wanna learn how to speak Norse then? :D There are plenty of books and stuff about Norse grammar and plenty of dictionaries as well. Hehe.

Khartoun2004
29-07-2006, 12:43
Serbo-Croatian

Freddie, I thought you might like to know that while I was at the Hospital last night I saw a sign for a Serbo-Croatian interpreter :p This is the US and it's full of insipid morons, so I don't think anyone is smart enough to make up a language that doesn't already exist ;)

freddie
01-08-2006, 18:37
Freddie, I thought you might like to know that while I was at the Hospital last night I saw a sign for a Serbo-Croatian interpreter :p This is the US and it's full of insipid morons, so I don't think anyone is smart enough to make up a language that doesn't already exist ;)
*giggle*
I think they just consider it as a common "Yugoslavian" language (eventhough it'd SO piss of both Croatians as Serbians). When I was in the States for those 2 weeks the guy at the custom's office had Slovenia filled under Yugoslavia which itself was filed under The Soviet Union... so two countries which have long since stopped exisiting. :p

Mary-sheccid
02-08-2006, 20:05
yes is truth!-- but the english is the most important language in the world right now!.. maybe in 10 years or more.. the people needs speak french, spanish, chinese, japanes.. o don´t know!.. the history change everyday!

spyretto
03-08-2006, 01:36
Well. it's true, English is the most important and dominant language in the world, and it will be for the long term , It's perhaps a way to counterbalance the fact that England - or should I say, Britain - has nothing else positive to give to the world right now.