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Thread: Is English A Difficult Language?

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    Registered User muhsin's Avatar
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    Question Is English A Difficult Language?

    I, days ago, read a thread written by our “omniscient-like” Logos, titled…… where follows that thread were bundle of replies. There then, I learnt that we, who English isn’t our MT or L1 are the majority members of this Site.
    Eventually, notwithstanding the fact that we almost all have been studying this language for years, one can easily detect this or that isn’t an English native speaker. What’s the truth behind this? Is the language that is difficult or what? What actually made it difficult or simple to you?

    NB: I, in particular, know that lots of time, my English is terrible. The great problem I’m being facing is that of writing good, plain…grammar and speaking in public. So, to me, English is simple but very vast in content as its difficult to cover everything.
    Last edited by muhsin; 10-21-2006 at 04:27 AM.
    The source of any bad writing is the desire to be something more than a person of sense--the straining to be thought a genius. If people would say what they have to say in plain terms, how much eloquent they would be.
    -S.T COLERIDGE

  2. #2
    I think thats a problem every one is facing. Speaking fluidly in public is hard enough but if the words don´t come easy to your mind und you have to spend a lot of time searching for them you get nervous and make even more mistakes.
    But this, like almost everything else in our lives, is a matter of practice. If you speak every day in public you will automatically get better and the words will come faster and your grammar and the sound of your speeches will improve.
    The "vastness" of the language, as you have called it, is another thing. Every language is vast to a man or woman learning it. The trick is not to learn every word the language contains but the words often used and that are necessary for speaking and writing a language. Every language contains outmoded, few used, technical terms and foreign words that you could learn but almost never apply.

    To answer the question. I don´t think that english is a difficult language. Learning it is compared to learning french or german a lot easier. The reason why you can be easily detected as a not native speaker is apart from the grammar mistakes you make the use of "rigid" english as I like to call it. You have learned the language in the kind it should be spoken. So you absolutly have no connection to usual abreviations or colloquial terms. That is why your language seems to a native speaker rigid. At least I think it is that way.
    You and I speak as Goethe would say "...Eure Reden, die so blinkend sind, In denen ihr der Menschheit Schnitzel kräuselt, Sind unerquicklich wie der Nebelwind..."(Vers 554-556)

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    Voice of Chaos & Anarchy
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    Quote Originally Posted by muhsin View Post
    I, days ago, read a thread written by our “omniscient-like” Logos, titled…… where follows that thread were bundle of replies. There then, I learnt that we, who English isn’t our MT or L1 are the majority members of this Site.
    I hadn't realized that, but I only look at limited parts of the site.

    Eventually, notwithstanding the fact that we almost all have been studying this language for years, one can easily detect this or that isn’t an English native speaker. What’s the truth behind this? Is the language that is difficult or what?

    NB: I, in particular, know that lots of time, my English is terrible. The great problem I’m being facing is that of writing good, plain…grammar and speaking in public. So, to me, English is simple but very vast in content as its difficult to cover everything.
    I have known many to whom English was not the first language. Some of them thought that English was very difficult, while others did not. Because English developed as a mixture of several languages, there often are several words that mean the same, or almost the same, and those different words are not related (Pig, pork, and swine, for example), but each word has a slightly different meaning. One feature of English that makes it much easier than some other languages is the lack of inflections. One guy I know from West Africa pointed out that the lack of different articles for genders made English easy compared to German, French, etc., that have different articles for different genders. The only way to learn a language well is to use the language.

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    Registered User Eufrosyne's Avatar
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    English isn't a difficult language to learn, and that's for one reason. That is that about 70% (OK, that's only a guess!) of the tv I, at least, watch is in English. I live in Sweden, and actually all of the tv-series I can recall watching are in English. So, naturally, it's much easier to learn English than for example French. Well, that's what I think, anyway, but at the same time it's difficult because there are so many synonyms.
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    Seeker of Knowledge Shannanigan's Avatar
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    It's easy to learn English if you are surrounded by it, sure, but if you live in a place that speaks only Gofringenese (made up language by yours truly ) and it's between learning English or some other popular foreign language, I definitely think that English would be the harder one to learn. Sure the lack of feminine/masculine articles makes ONE aspect easier...but for the rest of the language, there are way more "irregulars" than at least Spanish, as far as I know...

    I'm a native English speaker learning Spanish, let me just say I'm kind of glad its not the other way around. Having lived in LA and watched many Latin-American friends and family members learning to speak English, even with the help of language programs, I can say that they appeared to have a much harder time than I am, mostly due to "exceptions" in English to certain rules.

    Did you know that "fishes" is now the grammatically correct plural of "fish"? Woohoo for the evolution of language! lol...
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    Registered User Woland's Avatar
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    One of the funny things about english is the high pitched "a" sound like in "that" "at" and "fat". Appearently it's found in very few languages.
    "Well, God give them wisdom that have it; and those that are fools, let them use their talents."

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    Seeker of Knowledge Shannanigan's Avatar
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    hehe, yeah, even the English dialect spoken here usually avoids that sound, and they make fun of tourists who use it...

    they say: "Hey mon, you eat yet? Oh, wait, I sorry...hey mAn, you Ate yet?"

    its funny to hear, maybe not to read, lol
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  8. #8
    The irregular verbs in English are few actually. Spanish has a ridiculous amount.

    Anyway, English, except for spelling and pronunciation, is ridiculously easy (compared to the languages of Europe), because the grammar is simplified and generally regular beyond about a couple hundred instances (that's way better than the couple thousand instances of Spanish and French). But it's also really big, so hard to fully grip, but no one fully grips all of English.

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    on the other side tiny explorer's Avatar
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    *English is an internatonal language...meaning it has been the language which people are capable of learning easily.of course there aint a person who can grip the whole foundaton of it...somehow it's a good medium for every race..well does it make any sense?
    SSSSIMPLY _SHREWD

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    Registered User Woland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shannanigan View Post
    hehe, yeah, even the English dialect spoken here usually avoids that sound, and they make fun of tourists who use it...

    they say: "Hey mon, you eat yet? Oh, wait, I sorry...hey mAn, you Ate yet?"

    its funny to hear, maybe not to read, lol
    Yea it is a ridiculous sound. It's similiar when doctors ask you to open your mouth and say "ahh" as in father but when they put the tounge depressor in your mouth to take a peek around the "ah" sound becomes the funny Aa sound.
    "Well, God give them wisdom that have it; and those that are fools, let them use their talents."

    - Feste, Twelfth Night


    "...till human voices wake us and we drown."

    - Eliot

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Shannanigan View Post
    It's easy to learn English if you are surrounded by it, sure, but if you live in a place that speaks only Gofringenese (made up language by yours truly ) and it's between learning English or some other popular foreign language, I definitely think that English would be the harder one to learn. Sure the lack of feminine/masculine articles makes ONE aspect easier...but for the rest of the language, there are way more "irregulars" than at least Spanish, as far as I know...

    I'm a native English speaker learning Spanish, let me just say I'm kind of glad its not the other way around. Having lived in LA and watched many Latin-American friends and family members learning to speak English, even with the help of language programs, I can say that they appeared to have a much harder time than I am, mostly due to "exceptions" in English to certain rules.

    Did you know that "fishes" is now the grammatically correct plural of "fish"? Woohoo for the evolution of language! lol...
    I also learned Spanish. I found it to be very hard (not as in I couldn't do it but as in I objectively recognized it as hard and put in the large amount work to do it) Spanish has a ridiculous amount of conjugations, homophonal articles/pronouns (much harder to learn than English homophones), a large amount of irregulars, and a difficult reflexive system. Wait, you're head might explode once you're in advanced Spanish.
    Last edited by Jtolj; 10-19-2006 at 09:30 PM.

  12. #12
    Seeker of Knowledge Shannanigan's Avatar
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    lol, I dunno, so far so good, maybe I was just meant to speak Spanish, heehee...

    I've just seen people learning English having much more trouble than people learning Spanish, I guess. Maybe it's just my surroundings...the people I knew learning English were also holding onto Spanish in their homes and neighborhoods, the people I know learning Spanish are trying very hard to sumberse themselves in it...

    I guess that could affect the way I see it...
    You learn more about a road by travelling it than by consulting all of the maps in the world.

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    Registered User Goodfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shannanigan View Post
    It's easy to learn English if you are surrounded by it, sure, but if you live in a place that speaks only Gofringenese (made up language by yours truly ) and it's between learning English or some other popular foreign language, I definitely think that English would be the harder one to learn. Sure the lack of feminine/masculine articles makes ONE aspect easier...but for the rest of the language, there are way more "irregulars" than at least Spanish, as far as I know...

    I'm a native English speaker learning Spanish, let me just say I'm kind of glad its not the other way around. Having lived in LA and watched many Latin-American friends and family members learning to speak English, even with the help of language programs, I can say that they appeared to have a much harder time than I am, mostly due to "exceptions" in English to certain rules.

    Did you know that "fishes" is now the grammatically correct plural of "fish"? Woohoo for the evolution of language! lol...
    Shanna has finished everything here. Any language if you are sorrounded with it, so you can easily learn it. But, if not .....
    To me, its sincerely difficult 'cos am not living in the area where English is use as the lingua franca...think of it....only in schools or at home in TV I use to catch it. Oh! wahala!

  14. #14
    Registered User muhsin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.D. Anderson View Post
    I think thats a problem every one is facing. Speaking fluidly in public is hard enough but if the words don´t come easy to your mind und you have to spend a lot of time searching for them you get nervous and make even more mistakes.
    But this, like almost everything else in our lives, is a matter of practice. If you speak every day in public you will automatically get better and the words will come faster and your grammar and the sound of your speeches will improve.
    The "vastness" of the language, as you have called it, is another thing. Every language is vast to a man or woman learning it. The trick is not to learn every word the language contains but the words often used and that are necessary for speaking and writing a language. Every language contains outmoded, few used, technical terms and foreign words that you could learn but almost never apply.

    To answer the question. I don´t think that english is a difficult language. Learning it is compared to learning french or german a lot easier. The reason why you can be easily detected as a not native speaker is apart from the grammar mistakes you make the use of "rigid" english as I like to call it. You have learned the language in the kind it should be spoken. So you absolutly have no connection to usual abreviations or colloquial terms. That is why your language seems to a native speaker rigid. At least I think it is that way.
    You and I speak as Goethe would say "...Eure Reden, die so blinkend sind, In denen ihr der Menschheit Schnitzel kräuselt, Sind unerquicklich wie der Nebelwind..."(Vers 554-556)
    This is really impressive, thoughfull, erudite...... You absolutely write a very good observation and by Allah's grace I'll start doing this practical you suggested.
    Thanks.
    The source of any bad writing is the desire to be something more than a person of sense--the straining to be thought a genius. If people would say what they have to say in plain terms, how much eloquent they would be.
    -S.T COLERIDGE

  15. #15
    Registered User muhsin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterL View Post
    I hadn't realized that, but I only look at limited parts of the site.



    I have known many to whom English was not the first language. Some of them thought that English was very difficult, while others did not. Because English developed as a mixture of several languages, there often are several words that mean the same, or almost the same, and those different words are not related (Pig, pork, and swine, for example), but each word has a slightly different meaning. One feature of English that makes it much easier than some other languages is the lack of inflections. One guy I know from West Africa pointed out that the lack of different articles for genders made English easy compared to German, French, etc., that have different articles for different genders. The only way to learn a language well is to use the language.
    Please, re-read my thread for better comprehension dear. I didn't exactly say its difficult because I can speak whereever I find myself with the language. so....no enough time but when I come back, right?
    The source of any bad writing is the desire to be something more than a person of sense--the straining to be thought a genius. If people would say what they have to say in plain terms, how much eloquent they would be.
    -S.T COLERIDGE

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