Why is English so difficult?

Thread Starter

killivolt

Joined Jan 10, 2010
780
For my friends who are arrogant about English, you can't love'em, and you can't leave'em.

English is not my friend.

Barry S.S. said:
I like that last line. For all of you who wonder why folk from other
> countries have a bit of trouble with the English language.
> This is a clever piece put together by an English teacher, who else??
> *Homographs are words of like spelling but with more than one meaning.
> A homograph that is also pronounced differently is a
> heteronym.* *You think English is easy??* *I think a retired
> English teacher was bored...THIS IS GREAT !* *Read all the way to the
> end.................This took a lot of work to put together!* 1) The
> bandage was *wound* around the *wound*. 2) The farm was used to
> *produce produce*. 3) The dump was so full that it had to *refuse*
> more *refuse*. 4) We must *polish* the *Polish* furniture. 5) He could
> *lead*if he would get the *lead* out. 6) The soldier decided to
> *desert* his dessert in the *desert*. 7) Since there is no time like
> the *present*, he thought it was time to *present* the *present*. 8)
> A *bass* was painted on the head of the *bass* drum.
> 9) When shot at, the *dove dove *into the bushes. 10) I did not
> *object* to the *object*. 11) The insurance was *invalid* for the
> *invalid*. 12) There was a *row* among the oarsmen about how to *row*.
> 13) They were too *close* to the door to *close* it. 14) The buck
> *does* funny things when the *does* are present. 15) A seamstress and
> a *sewer* fell down into a *sewer* line. 16) To help with planting,
> the farmer taught his *sow* to *sow*. 17) The *wind* was too strong to
> *wind* the sail. 18) Upon seeing the *tear* in the painting I shed a
> *tear*. 19) I had to *subject* the *subject* to a series of tests. 20)
> How can I *intimate* this to my most *intimate* friend? Let's face it
> - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in
> hamburger; neither apple nor pine in a pineapple. English muffins
> weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are
> candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take
> English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that
> quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is
> neither from Guinea nor is it a pig And why is it that writers write
> but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If
> the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth?
> One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?
> Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If
> you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them,
> what do you call it? If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
> If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
> Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an
> asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a
> play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have
> noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat
> chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You
> have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house
> can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling
> it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on. English was
> invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of
> the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why,
> when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out,
> they are invisible. PS. - Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick'? AND
> If a male goat is called a ram and a donkey is called an ass, why is a
> ram-in-the-ass called a goose?
Enjoy,
kv
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
25,760
While English may have more of these kinds of things than most languages, I suspect that most languages have these kinds of things. It's inherent in the way languages evolve.

In the case of English, I've heard it expressed thusly:

Most languages borrow from other languages, but English chases them down dark alleys, beats them mercilessly, and rifles their pockets.
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
13,732
Exactly, "Mathematics" but I guess that's evolved as well :(

kv

Edit: BTW, I like the Thread Tool, edit the Title with a question mark, instead of a period.
I guess I was thinking of the context as "the set of all spoken languages". I think Norwegian and Finnish have to be right up there among the top languages in degree of difficulty with a mostly Latin alphabet to learn. Once you get by the increase in the number of letters to 33 in the Cyrillic alphabet, Russian was actually fairly straightforward.
 

Thread Starter

killivolt

Joined Jan 10, 2010
780
I guess I was thinking of the context as "the set of all spoken languages". I think Norwegian and Finnish have to be right up there among the top languages in degree of difficulty with a mostly Latin alphabet to learn. Once you get by the increase in the number of letters to 33 in the Cyrillic alphabet, Russian was actually fairly straightforward.
Ok, that makes perfect sense as to repetitive words or word combinations. Of course we can surrender to the fact that language will evolve according to words to known objects that didn't exist which bring about the Variables to sentence's and word structure, because they just didn't exist.

To sum that with the fact that people try to place them with value in context which I say is as strange, but I understand it to be with the person or persons who believe words should appear in a sentence and give them meaning according to their structure.

Now suddenly everyone must bow to that context without any reserve to their feelings or power and become subjected to that standard.

Once that is accepted by the general population who are ignorant of that rule, then that path to language is owned by those in power who can read and those who don't, they are only subjects to it, because suddenly you need an interpreter to do any documents or otherwise legal issues that you might find oneself subjected by those who can read the text of the time.

I'm not sure I understand all the dynamics nor do I understand language structure, I speak as I write and write as I speak, within my current understanding. With that said, 8th grade level.

kv
 

Motanache

Joined Mar 2, 2015
481
Why ?
English is a easy to talk but difficult writing language.
I met native speakers who have difficulty writing some words.........

Why is English not a phonetic language?
Does every sound have a proper letter and write exactly how we hear it?

Because that's how the writing has been for a long time.


If you pronounce otherwise it looks fashionable.
But if you write differently, you seem stupid and uneducated!!!!!!

This is why language has evolved, but the writing has remained the same.
 

Motanache

Joined Mar 2, 2015
481
The same thing is happening today with my language.

It's Latin, it should be phonetical..........
But People from the Academy have chosen to put new rules that complicate it ... instead of simplifying it !!!!!

Their role would have been to make the writing as simple as possible.......

The closest to the phonetic principle language is not my language, it is the Serbian language
 

BR-549

Joined Sep 22, 2013
4,938
I had four long years of Latin. It was required for my academic studies. And it was a complete waste of time. Except for the credits.

The reading and writing wasn't hard for me......I think I had a B average. But I could never speak it well or listen to it well........because no matter how hard I tried......I just couldn't think that way.
 

atferrari

Joined Jan 6, 2004
3,962
Trying to explain those paradoxes (?) with this "English was invented by people", is ridiculous. Invention (neologisms aside) as we know, has little to do with languages.

And do not think that your language is the only one. Otherwise, speaking foreign languages would be a straight process where probably, grammar and verbs conjugation would be enough once you acquire a simple vocabulary.

To help you feel not so bad, just explore for few minutes how some Asian languages work.
 

JoeJester

Joined Apr 26, 2005
4,259
English is not my friend.
As my primary language, I tend to forget all the rules we learned in our formative years. I'm sure some of us remember diagramming sentences. I found out a couple of decades or so ago I lost that talent. The leads to the credence that unused skills tend to be forgotten.
 

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
6,971
I think Norwegian and Finnish have to be right up there among the top languages in degree of difficulty with a mostly Latin alphabet to learn.
I have a brother who is a naturalized Norwegian citizen, and he learned the language when he was about 40 years old. It's a very difficult thing to do at that age, but he says it's one of the simplest languages in terms of how tenses are handled... but I'm willing to bet that @nerdegutta has something to say about that...
 

Thread Starter

killivolt

Joined Jan 10, 2010
780
As my primary language, I tend to forget all the rules we learned in our formative years. I'm sure some of us remember diagramming sentences. I found out a couple of decades or so ago I lost that talent. The leads to the credence that unused skills tend to be forgotten.
Wish I could say that, I couldn't read by 3rd Grade, my Aunt stepped in and saved the day over the summer I learned to read. But, I fell behind more and more, Math was always my go to, until I ran straight into Variables, bam. If I had someone able to explain Variables I would have soared from there, but still would have been weak in English, I learned to speed read and it was the worse thing I could have ever done, had I learn to write I would have been able to speed read just fine.

kv
 

Sinus23

Joined Sep 7, 2013
246
"Papabravo said:
I think Norwegian and Finnish have to be right up there among the top languages in degree of difficulty with a mostly Latin alphabet to learn."

I have a brother who is a naturalized Norwegian citizen, and he learned the language when he was about 40 years old. It's a very difficult thing to do at that age, but he says it's one of the simplest languages in terms of how tenses are handled... but I'm willing to bet that @nerdegutta has something to say about that...
I'm somewhat sure that Finnish is way harder to learn compared to Norwegian.

I speak old Norse so I'm not really neutral on this;)
 

nerdegutta

Joined Dec 15, 2009
2,676
I have a brother who is a naturalized Norwegian citizen, and he learned the language when he was about 40 years old. It's a very difficult thing to do at that age, but he says it's one of the simplest languages in terms of how tenses are handled... but I'm willing to bet that @nerdegutta has something to say about that...
A quick google search gave me this list of the most common verbs in Norwegian, and their tenses:

http://carla.umn.edu/lctl/materials/norwegian/norwegian-verbs.html

Another google search, told me that Norwegain was on top 25, top 10, and even top 6 hardest languages to learn. Writing Norwegian is very similar to Danish. The Scandinavian languages understand each other. We don't understand Finnish, or at least I don't. I'm not that familiar with the language on Iceland. The Icelanders I've talked to, have mostly switched to some Swedish - like dialect, and that I've understood.
 

Sinus23

Joined Sep 7, 2013
246
A quick google search gave me this list of the most common verbs in Norwegian, and their tenses:

http://carla.umn.edu/lctl/materials/norwegian/norwegian-verbs.html

Another google search, told me that Norwegain was on top 25, top 10, and even top 6 hardest languages to learn. Writing Norwegian is very similar to Danish. The Scandinavian languages understand each other. We don't understand Finnish, or at least I don't. I'm not that familiar with the language on Iceland. The Icelanders I've talked to, have mostly switched to some Swedish - like dialect, and that I've understood.
The language in Iceland is as if the people in Norway got isolated over 1000 years ago so it got influenced much slower. ;) My friend moved to Norway in his 30's and got pretty much fluent in 2 years.
 

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
6,971
The language in Iceland is as if the people in Norway got isolated over 1000 years ago so it got influenced much slower. ;) My friend moved to Norway in his 30's and got pretty much fluent in 2 years.
Yeah... my brother says that Norwegians love to hear the accent and dialect of Icelanders... they think it's kinda cute... :):D
 

KL7AJ

Joined Nov 4, 2008
2,225
For my friends who are arrogant about English, you can't love'em, and you can't leave'em.

English is not my friend.



Enjoy,
kv
Hi KV:
The short answer is: because English borrowed the best and worst from every other language.
On the bright side: Even though English is very difficult to learn to speak WELL, it is also the most FORGIVING language on Earth. What I mean is that you can BUTCHER English more than any other language and still be understood. This is not true of any other language.

Now you know.
 
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