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Author Topic: For all you English Majors out there  (Read 1996 times)

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Offline Inkidu

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Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #25 on: September 16, 2008, 04:41:03 PM »
I agree Sherona. I'm a native speaker, and have always had a natural flair for spelling. But it certainly is not an easy thing in English. In so many other languages it's just "This letter makes this sound, without exception." In English it's "This letter can make about 10 different sounds, depending on our mood!"

That said, I'm rather fond of it the way it is.
I took French you don't know silent till you take French. So yeah at least English has a fair amount of phonetics. It's not perfect but (And this as a native speaker.) Isn't the hardest language to learn.

Offline Trieste

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Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #26 on: September 16, 2008, 07:19:49 PM »
English is one of the most difficult latin-derived languages to learn. For non-English-speaking Westerners, the only languages that are harder on average are languages that are not at all latin-derived such as Mandarin.

All of the romance languages are ridiculously easy to pick up, on the other hand.

Offline Oniya

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Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #27 on: September 16, 2008, 10:47:23 PM »
Any language is easy if you start learning it early enough.  I'm leaning towards that as the explanation for why I was decent at learning German, but managed to make a fool of myself learning French.  (When I was in preschool, we learned a little bit of German.)  From what I understand, if you learn one Romance (Latin-based) language, it's fairly easy to learn another one, and they do seem a bit more logical than non-Latin-based languages, at least in my limited experience.

I'm just still scarred from having my attempt to say "I like languages" mistranslate into "I like tongues" - as in the body part. 

Offline Heika Kinzoku

Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #28 on: September 16, 2008, 11:18:40 PM »
Over time, languages change.

If you've ever taken a Linguistics class, that's pretty much day one. Through Day 365. The problem is, naturally, that when changes occur, it's because the language is growing more complex and complicated, not simpler. Things start simple: pidgin languages are simple nouns, with a small spattering of verbs. No adjectives, no grammar, no adverbs, prepositions, etc. Then, as a pidgin becomes a creole, the language grows more complicated. Now we're talking about fully-developed verbs. A sense of syntax. Adjectives make an appearance. Then, after a generation or two, the creole is a full language. Grammar, adverbs, syntax: all are fully developed.

That being said ... "Text Speak" is not phonetic. "ur" is not pronounced like "your." It's pronounced like you've just received head trauma, and you are unable to think properly. How come no one else notices this?! Argh, it frustrates me.

Previous to, oh, the seventeenth century, spelling was not rigidly defined. If you read Chaucer, for example, you'll see the same word spelled in many different ways, often in the same sentence. At the time, it was a mark of literacy (believe it or not) to be capable of spelling the same word in multiple ways.

I'm actually a bit surprised no one has drawn this comparison: Newspeak! This is freakin' 1984. They're just trying to dumb things down. It starts with the minor concessions. Then, unneeded words are dropped out: how many words do we need to explain "red"? Then, the opposites are left off: why do we need "bad" when we can just say "not good"? But then, we lose the need for "not" since we have a perfectly good prefix: isn't "ungood" just as valid?

The complexity of the English language is what allows for self-expression. Explaining the different between vermilion, crimson, and scarlet is one of the great wonders that English provides us. If anything, I would maintain that English needs more words, more complexity, and more subtle connotations. It's what makes the language beautiful.

... I'll get off my morally indignant high horse now. Or my moralie indignent hi hors naow.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2008, 11:20:52 PM by Heika Kinzoku »

Offline Inkidu

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Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #29 on: September 17, 2008, 08:18:16 AM »
The whole Canterbury Tayles?  ;D

Offline Trieste

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Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #30 on: September 17, 2008, 08:06:52 PM »
I know someone who once wrote a paper on Shakespeare and did not spell it the same way twice in the paper... and each spelling was historically correct. ;)

An alternate definition for 'tongue' is a language (as in the connotation of "English is my mother tongue" or "Speaking in tongues") so "I like tongues" is a perfectly good way to express "I like languages"... you got the right meaning, but the wrong specific word. If you've ever listened to a non-native speaker of English, they do the same thing. "I have many to learn" or "I am exceeding good" ... and such. It's nothing to be ashamed of. It's just fine-tuning.

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Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #31 on: September 17, 2008, 09:07:18 PM »
An alternate definition for 'tongue' is a language (as in the connotation of "English is my mother tongue" or "Speaking in tongues") so "I like tongues" is a perfectly good way to express "I like languages"... you got the right meaning, but the wrong specific word. If you've ever listened to a non-native speaker of English, they do the same thing. "I have many to learn" or "I am exceeding good" ... and such. It's nothing to be ashamed of. It's just fine-tuning.

On an intellectual level, I realize this, and I've taken to doing 'reverse translation' before finalizing a sentence in another language (looking the important words up in the X->English section), but French will always have that memory tied to it.

Offline Sherona

Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #32 on: September 17, 2008, 09:17:40 PM »
I know someone who once wrote a paper on Shakespeare and did not spell it the same way twice in the paper... and each spelling was historically correct. ;)

An alternate definition for 'tongue' is a language (as in the connotation of "English is my mother tongue" or "Speaking in tongues") so "I like tongues" is a perfectly good way to express "I like languages"... you got the right meaning, but the wrong specific word. If you've ever listened to a non-native speaker of English, they do the same thing. "I have many to learn" or "I am exceeding good" ... and such. It's nothing to be ashamed of. It's just fine-tuning.

Hehehe I have so many typo's and mispellings possibly because I spend majority of my time re-reading my posts looking for word missusage rather then simple errors. My main issue is KNOWING a word is wrong, but not being able to convey the best word for it..so I tend to round about describe what I want...often asking people I know won't think me crazy..usually Bliss or Veks, sometimes Trieste has been the brunt of this. :P

I tell you what gets me more often then not is words that look similar or sound similar