Why the English language is so hard to learn

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by SgtWookie, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. SgtWookie

    Thread Starter Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    The bandage was wound around the wound.

    The farm was used to produce produce.

    The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

    We must polish the Polish furniture.

    He could lead if he would get the lead out.

    The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

    Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time
    to present the present.

    A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

    When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

    I did not object to the object.

    The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

    There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

    They were too close to the door to close it.

    The buck does certain things when does are present.
     
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  2. Georacer

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    Nov 25, 2009
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    Joking aside, I think the hardest part of the English language are the phrasal verbs. No sense at all in their making, yet such an integral part of the language.

    Other than that, I think English is the easiest language out there. Have you tried Japanese?
     
  3. Eric007

    Senior Member

    Aug 5, 2011
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    And 'French' is way more complicated than 'English' but of course not the 'hardest'!

    Chinese and Hebrew seems Hard to me...especially their 'writing'!
     
  4. monster_catfish

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    Mar 17, 2011
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    How do I know when "Sanction" means official endorsement, as opposed to official punishment ?
     
  5. KJ6EAD

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    Apr 30, 2011
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    Japanese is "all Greek to you" Geo? As a native English speaker, the two things I noticed when I started learning Japanese were that the sentence structure was somewhat reversed from the English 'noun follows verb' to the Japanese 'verb follows noun' and the fact that where English has rules with many exceptions, Japanese has rules with few exceptions.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_to_me
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2012
  6. magnet18

    Senior Member

    Dec 22, 2010
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    It seems to me that english relies more heavily on context than many other languages (in my experience with spanish)
     
  7. Georacer

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    Nov 25, 2009
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    Heh, I was actually surprised when I found out about the phrase "All Greek to me". We, in turn say "It looks Chinese".

    Of course, that reverse syntax was a pain, but even harder was the amount of stuff I had to learn by heart, both in oral speech and written. I started French at 8 and English at 10. At that time, I had A LOT more time and brain space to dedicate to learning stuff by heart. When I started Japanese at 20, things weren't so simple anymore. I put the learning progress in indefinite hibernation for now.
     
  8. Sparky49

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    Jul 16, 2011
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    "All Greek to me"

    Shakespeare
     
  9. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    A friend of mine developed this odd fascination with Japan a couple of years ago. He started studying Japanese and he's gone to japan 4 times already since. He goes alone and just hangs out with random Japanese people. He's said that the hardest thing is to try to translate the English jokes that he knows into Japanese without giving away the ending in the middle of the joke, due to this verb...noun structure.

    On the original topic, Takao(sp?) said it best in another thread recently. I'm a native English speaker but my wife isn't, and I am helping her with her English skills so I feel qualified to speak on the matter; The hardest part about learning English is learning how to speak it incorrectly, as Native speakers do. Our little phrases which we all know what they mean, actually make zero sense.

    I don't give a crap if you take a crap.
     
  10. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
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    Homographs my favorite.

    I would like to know what other language has them, if any.

    Italian sort of has them but not really.
    Ancora means still or yet in Italian. Ancora also means anchor. They are pronounced differently in different uses. But I believe properly written they are really spelled ancora' = anchor.
     
  11. Georacer

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    Nov 25, 2009
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    Greek has a few, but not so many. Greek is a very detailed and descriptive language, stuffing much information within each word, so you can't miscommunicate, even with very short phrases.
     
  12. spinnaker

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    But when properly written with accent marks and all, are the the same?
     
  13. Georacer

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    Modern Greek (post 1960 give or take) has only one accent, one on the tonal vowel of each word. Previously, they would use 4 more accents, but that was when knowing spelling was an elite thing. Those extra accents would describe exactly how a word was pronounced, much like a phonetic alphabet. I believe, however, that most people didn't use those extra accents but for spelling reasons. You don't actually expect to make use of a phonetic alphabet for pronunciation when you already speak the language.

    The removal of those accents was done in an effort to allow the majority of people to write correctly without too much trouble.

    For completion reasons, I must add that modern Greek also did away with many terms and grammatical types that stemmed from the ancient Greek and weren't really used anymore in everyday conversation.
     
  14. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
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    I heard somewhere before that Greek was a very precise language even in it's ancient form which is why linguists like it as an intermediary language for translation of ancient texts.
     
  15. takao21203

    Distinguished Member

    Apr 28, 2012
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    I would not mind if you simply spell my member ID 1:1.
    Since it is a regular name I have also added a number.
     
  16. count_volta

    Active Member

    Feb 4, 2009
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    Hilarious and true. English is my second language, and yet the hardest thing was to remember that even though a word is written the same way, it may mean 100 different things depending on the context.

    My family, (whose English is almost non-existent. We are Russian), keeps asking me why this 1 word means 5 different things. How can this be? Are there rules? I reply, there are no rules. Just memorize. Think of the context, and memorize.

    As a side note, I constantly have this argument with my friend about the word bass, like bass speakers. If you say it like "base", why do you write it like "bass"? That is so confusing and annoying. We have long arguments about this, and I will never give up on the fact that its stupid. ;)
     
  17. justtrying

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    Mar 9, 2011
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    then you might enjoy this on a higher level than our non-Russian speaking friends... http://blogs.transparent.com/russian/part-two-homographs/

    ... proper accent is the saving grace
     
  18. takao21203

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  19. Georacer

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    Nov 25, 2009
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    Sadly, the internet phrases "wth, Japan?" and "Oh, Japan, you" do have a reason to exist. Modern Japanese culture isn't of the most sane ones, in my opinion.

    On a related note, anybody seen the Japanese movie "Battle Royale"?
     
  20. takao21203

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    Apr 28, 2012
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    During WW2 Japan has lost many promising people. When they lost it, many more commited suicide actually.

    After WW2 the American Occupation Administration encouraged individuals wo rather tend to be opportunistic. Over the decades this has wound up all into politics, the education system, everywhere.

    You see PM (Premier Minister) is changed very often. Education system is among world's worst. Radioactive fuels are mixed up in buckets by Yakuza with no clue, the worker actually died. There is wire fence not as much as North Korea but it does exist.

    Everything is wrapped individually two or three times, all a waste. Oil has to be imported and to be paid for somehow.

    And you can see all these chicken now come home to roost. Economy is down since end of the 1980s, domestic demand for electronics is stagnant. Japan as such seems to be bancrupt financially right now!

    Japan's recovery from WW2 may take centuries to take place. They annexed Korea, but apparently this was not enough! They would be happy (at least for the japanese side) if they would have this now. DPRK which they pretty much hate. It was once part of Japan in the 1920s. Then they also wanted to get a grip on gold from South East Asia. Indonesia etc. all was looted.

    You hear this Minister for food and Fisheries speaking "Dolphins are just a species to be hunted like any other species". Sometimes I ask what is the qualification required to come to such a conclusion?

    What I really mean is some japanese politicans have qualification level of a 10 year old school boy. A ten year old school boy could count things together, and eventually even do a better job.

    To some degree the japanese education system is antiquated, still relying on lifetime employment and work opportunities which simply don't exist anymore. And neither do oil reserves.

    Japan is currently experiencing seeing herself forced to put back nuclear reactors on the grid.

    But don't carry owls to Athens :D

    Japanese know all this pretty much themselves.
     
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