English Language

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klankymen
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Post by klankymen » Sun Feb 11, 2007 7:22 am

mathias wrote:
Mescalero wrote:English is great for a worldwide language though because I find it's grammar comparitivly easy. I learned French in school and thought it difficult, now I learn Russian and it's hard and could never even figure out the German grammar. Learning English was somehow quick and easy though...
:lol: Not only is that argument anecdotal, but you're not even saying what your native language is OR at what age you learned English, French and German.
I wouldn't bet my left hand on it, but I believe German is his native language.
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Post by Mescalero » Sun Feb 11, 2007 8:26 am

Ok, to clarify: german is my native language and learned English first in 5th grade, French in 7th and Russian now in university. But you're probably right that the argument is no proof, but it's what I have heard a lot of other Germans say when I talked about language to them. So I think at least for Germans learning English is easier than learning a romanic or slavic language.

About spelling, pronounciation:
I lived in the US for a year (specifically in Kansas) and I have picked up American spelling and allegedly also an American accent there. My teacher lawys mocked me with this when I returned from the US.
It always strikes me as wrong for example when someone writes "organise" instead of "organize." I know that "organise" is the British (thus original) spelling, it's just that "organize" wiht a "z" is the version that's saved in my mind. Just noticed that I pronounce the letter "z" "zeee" and not "zed" although that's what I was taught in school.

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Post by andyb » Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:16 am

Thank you Mescalero for your input. I was forced to learn French at school, and I cose to learn German 2 years later at school, I picked up far more German in 1 yera than I did French in 3 years.

German is a much easier language to learn if you are English speaking, compared to French, and as I have just found out English is easier to learn if you are a native German speaker. Klankyman would you agree.???

Thanks to MS Word half of the twats in this country cant spell correctly either, "organize" or "organise" is not the end of the world, but it is another example of people being violated by Amerecans misuse of the language.

How long will it be before evrewon is spellin incorectlee like the Amerecans do curantly. Unfortunately the lazy Amerecan spelling of words is destroying English, and I dont like that, and I dont want to see my language slowly get watered down by lazy people who cant be bothered to spell. Its not a hanging offence but it is still wilful destruction of a language. The longer this goes on for the worse it will get. Last year I was speaking to an English teacher, he was more pissed of than I am that kids cant spell, or rather they dont even try, if you try you will succeed, Amerecans dont even bother.

Will I get an Amerecan response that I havent heard before.??? One of guilt.


Andy

PS: English spelling website, NOTE English, as well as Amerecan spellings of words, and not just Amerecans mis-spellings.
http://dictionary.reference.com/
Last edited by andyb on Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Piet » Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:16 am

I realy fail to see the point of those pressure groups promoting the french language. I think they're fighting a lost (and pointless) battle here.
There's a lot of good arguments to be made for being (at least) bilingual, and I think it's silly to frown upon speaking/writing english (is this case). I feel 'the french' (pardon my generalisation here) are letting their pride get in the way of their common sense.
Taking my own situation as an example, I consider it a blessing to be able to speak and understand more then just my native language. I'm dutch, and over here everyone gets tought english and at least some german and french in their basic education. If you take any further education (university), chances are great your books/literature will be mostly written in english. In my case well over 90% of all the books and literature I have to read for my study are english. However, even thought I read more english than dutch this doesn't change my appreciation of my native language.
In fact the opposite could be said, because I read so much english, I realy come to appreciate how much better my understanding of my native language is. I like being able to read and write other languages, but I'll never be able to express myself as precise as in my native language
I sure the same applies for the french as well, perhaps even more, considering they're a rather proud nation.
Yarr!

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Post by andyb » Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:21 am

Thank you Piet for your insight.


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Post by Erssa » Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:26 am

French arrogancy cannot suprise me. They still act act as if Napoleon was alive and French ruled Europe.
Beyonder wrote:When I was visiting Norway, it became pretty clear what was happening there. The girl I stayed with had a twelve year old sister who spoke English and Norwegian. We watched The Simpsons together, in English with Norwegian subtitles--and she understood all of it. Over the course of several weeks, I didn't encounter a single person who didn't at least speak some English. Most people spoke excellent English. But it was sort of a sad subject for some Norwegian people; it's pretty clear that the Norwegian language isn't exactly thriving.
This is the scenario in just about any Nordic country. Unlike in central and southern Europe, we don't have dubbed tv shows, everything is shown the way they were meant to be, in their native languages. My sister learned to speak English even before she went to school. All by watching Disney's DuckTales and other cartoons. I think that subtitles, not only help to learn foreign languages, they also help kids to learn how to read. TV, combined with the excellent education we have, leads to most people speaking good English around here.

You know, I don't really know anyone who was pissed at the fact that English is a mandatory to us in school. But I think 90% of Finns hate the fact that we have to study Swedish (our second official language) in school. Swedish is hated, because it's a pointless colonial artifact. It's pure idiocy to force people to learn a language that's native to only 5% of our population and is only in use in some few coastal cities. It's also a bit funny, that Sweden has more Finnish speaking citizen (Both absolutely and relatively) then Finland has Swedish speaking citizen, yet I haven't heard anyone demand that Swedes should be forced to learn Finnish. Too bad the Finland Swedish are rich and influential in politics, so most politicians are afraid to touch the subject. If we would have a referendum about it, there'd be no question about the result... I guess we just have to wait for them to die out. Hopefully it won't take long for a law to be passed where Swedish is turned into voluntary school subject. I would have much rather studied almost any other language then Swedish. German, Spanish, French, Russian or even Chinese would be much more useful then Swedish.

I'm pissed that I still have to pass some mandatory Swedish courses in university.
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Post by qviri » Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:50 am

andyb wrote:Quite specifically, I would like some input from some of the dozens of non-native "English" speakers and writers that populate these forums
About what? Spelling? I like spelling.
For example does anyone on here read and write "English" but cant actually speak "English" very well or at all. Or need to speak "English" as part of their job but dont at home.
I can read/write English well. It was attempted to teach me most of the 15 or however many tenses, but that never really ended up happening. Unsurprisingly, I found that they're mostly unnecessary, possibly at the price of being ungrammatical at times, but the point still gets across.

I speak with a noticeable accent. Since I moved out of my parents' house for university, I don't speak Polish at home often. When I talk to myself, it's either English, Polish, or a mix or both.

I don't have any beliefs about supposed superiority of languages or their immunity to change. I would like to learn more languages. Including French.
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Post by nici » Sun Feb 11, 2007 10:13 am

I hate it when they dub cartoons. They are doing it more these days, ten years ago they were all in english.

I don't speak English generally, i don't have anyone ot talk to in English. The last time i spoke English was to a French girl two years ago i think. I knwo how to pronounce words in my head, but when i try to say something it doesnät work too well because i speak English so rarely. The French girl was just as poor at English though :lol: I've read some French at some point too, and went there for a week as a kid, but the only thing i can say is pretty much "i am", "hello" and "thank you". For me it's easy to think how i should pronounce a language, but without regular practice it's difficult to actually say what im thinking.

I mostly read books in English, simply because i like to read them in their original language. I have to read Russian litterature in English though. The only thing i know in Russian is a few numbers and "Hands up!". I know more japanese than i know Russian.

I don't see the point in whining about Swedish. I don't whine because i have Finnish in school, though i don't think i ever learned much in school. My mom speaks Finnish and my dad speaks Swedish, they speak Finnish to eachother and mostly Finnish at work, i speak Finnish to my mom and Swedish to my dad, brother, most of my friends and my cat and dog. And then i learned English and German in school. So i can manage on four languages. I think the Finnish majority should be happy to learn Swedish, for one it makes learning english and german much easier. And it makes it easier to get a good job if you can speak Swedish.

The Finnish speaking majority might live longer and be happier if they stopped whining about having to read Swedish in school. It's proven that the Swedish speaking minority generally live longer mostly because of better contacts with their family and a less negative view on life generally. Most of us are not in the elite, most are just normal middle class like me.

But like any minority, you can still get mugged on the street if you speak Swedish in the wrong place. I can't see me beating anybody up because they speak Finnish.

The Swedish speaking minority are not immigrants, we are native Finns who just happen to speak Swedish. I think it was my great, great grandfather who just decided that he is going to speak Swedish. Tracing my family backwards it goes to Russia, Germany and Scotland.

If this was 200 years ago my noble ass could order Erssa to scrub the floors, but as it happens our family is not nobility in Finland and even if it was the only thing it would benefit is having our coat of arms in the house of knights and a party once a year :roll:

Ill just take my sailing yacht and head for my mansion in the archipelago now then..

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Post by jaganath » Sun Feb 11, 2007 10:40 am

i speak Finnish to my mom and Swedish to my dad, brother, most of my friends and my cat and dog.
:lol:

There was a comedy programme on last night where the guy was trying to prove that God was British because all animals spoke English. (Sit! Good dog!) Of course animals don't understand the words, just the tone. This is the only joke I know about Finland, so I may as well tell it now, as I can't imagine I'll ever get a chance to tell it again: I used to work with a girl from Denmark, and while she was in the middle of doing something her supervisor came up to her and said "Are you finished?" to which she replied "No I'm Danish!" :D :roll:

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Post by klankymen » Sun Feb 11, 2007 11:11 am

andyb wrote:German is a much easier language to learn if you are English speaking, compared to French, and as I have just found out English is easier to learn if you are a native German speaker. Klankyman would you agree.???
Sorry, no input from me here, I grew up bilingually.
Only other language I "speak" is latin, and a smattering of spanish.
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Post by Erssa » Sun Feb 11, 2007 11:26 am

First of all I'd like to state that you took this topic way too personally. My post was about the unnecessary mandatory Swedish enforced on the 95% majority, just to please 5% minority. It wasn't a criticism to Finland Swedish minority, which in my opinion is the best minority in Finland, since they commit less crimes then everyone else. They also pay more taxes then everyone else, because they earn more money. Absolutely no reason not to like them.
nici wrote:I don't see the point in whining about Swedish. I don't whine because i have Finnish in school, though i don't think i ever learned much in school. My mom speaks Finnish and my dad speaks Swedish, they speak Finnish to eachother and mostly Finnish at work, i speak Finnish to my mom and Swedish to my dad, brother, most of my friends and my cat and dog. And then i learned English and German in school. So i can manage on four languages.
So because you don't whine about having to speak and learn Finnish in Finland and because you speak Swedish to your cat and dog, the rest 5,2 million people without Swedish native tongue, should be forced to learn Swedish in schools?
I think the Finnish majority should be happy to learn Swedish, for one it makes learning english and german much easier.
From my own experience, it didn't make learning German or English any easier. I had excellent grades in German and English and crappy grades in Swedish. I grew up in the countryside where people never have to hear or speak Swedish, except in school. Studying is all about motivation, when something is force fed to you there's really no hope. (Just FYI I graduated with Magna cum laude approbatur from Swedish).
And it makes it easier to get a good job if you can speak Swedish.
Yes it does. It also is a requirement, if you want to work in goverment office, which is totally wrong. It's wrong for immigrants who move to Finland, because now they are required to learn two new languages to be able to work in a goverment office. And don't even mention passing a law where they wouldn't be required, because that would discriminate the majority of Finns.
The Finnish speaking majority might live longer and be happier if they stopped whining about having to read Swedish in school. It's proven that the Swedish speaking minority generally live longer mostly because of better contacts with their family and a less negative view on life generally. Most of us are not in the elite, most are just normal middle class like me.
Whether Finland Swedish live longer or not is irrelevant to the whole mandatory Swedish thing.

But it's purely a statistic fact that richer people tend to live longer then the poor. Finland Swedish live longer, because they are richer then average a Finn. If you compare the life expectancy of Finland Swedish to Finns that belong to the same socioeconomic group, you will see, that there isn't any significant difference. You say you are middle class, it's pretty irrelevant. It doesn't change the fact that the average Finland Swedish minority is considerably richer then average Finn.
But like any minority, you can still get mugged on the street if you speak Swedish in the wrong place. I can't see me beating anybody up because they speak Finnish.
And somehow this is a reason why Swedish has to be mandatory? It's actually proven fact that mandatory Swedish incites hate against the Swedish minority.
The Swedish speaking minority are not immigrants, we are native Finns who just happen to speak Swedish. I think it was my great, great grandfather who just decided that he is going to speak Swedish. Tracing my family backwards it goes to Russia, Germany and Scotland.

If this was 200 years ago my noble ass could order Erssa to scrub the floors, but as it happens our family is not nobility in Finland and even if it was the only thing it would benefit is having our coat of arms in the house of knights and a party once a year :roll:
I think that 200 years ago it would have taken alot of guts from a Finland Swedish noble to prounce to a free farmers house in the country and demand, him to scrub the floor. They had lots of pride aswell, enough that it might have gotten the noble killed. But I have to ask, what makes you assume I come from a less noble or important background? And Why the personal remarks?
Ill just take my sailing yacht and head for my mansion in the archipelago now then..
This is the kind of sarcasm that doens't translate well from the mouth of a Finland Swedish...
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Post by Trip » Sun Feb 11, 2007 1:31 pm

andyb wrote:English people, Jocks, Taffs, Newcastlians and Paddy's all speak English, with vastly different accents, yet they all manage to "spell" correctly, why cant the Yanks.???
I use American spelling simply because when I try to use British spelling it stands out considerably.

"Y'all" was a good addition though you have to admit. "You" for plural and singular is a glitch.
Piet wrote:I like being able to read and write other languages, but I'll never be able to express myself as precise as in my native language
I dunno... English has a lot of ambiguous words and idioms.

It might be that if I learned Dutch I could express myself clearly more easily :P
andyb wrote:violated by Amerecans misuse of the language... Will I get an Amerecan response that I havent heard before.??? One of guilt.
Don't group us all in with the Yankees. It was the Northeast that is responsible for the change not the rest of us. It was imposed on the South by force via invasion so I'm guilt-free.

Anyway, it's to be expected that outside of England the English language would create unique vernaculars and eventually new languages over time.

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Post by nici » Sun Feb 11, 2007 3:10 pm

My response was not a carefully thought out statement, it was just random blah blah like usual. Maybe someday i will learn to just shut up.

In the mentime everyone should just speak whatever they speak. Have a mint every now and then so you don't get a sore troat.

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Post by Devonavar » Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:09 pm

"You" for plural and singular is not a glitch; it's a simplification.

Go back a couple hundred years and you'll find the that English *did* have separate words for second person singular and plural. "Thou" is singular, "You" is plural.

Chalk up another vote for German being easier for English speakers to learn than French. I learned more German in five years of Elementry school than I did in twelve years of studying French. However, the easiest language for me was Japanese: When I stopped studying it after three years I was more fluent in Japanese than I was in either French or German.

I will say this for French, though: Twelve years of learning gave it staying power. I've retained more French than any other language I've learned.

I wholly concur with the comment about learning a foreign language making it easier to express things in my native language. I also find it's very good for getting a different paradigm of thought. It's fascinating how much context is implied by grammatical structure, but you don't think about that until you start realizing that those implications are not echoed in different languages... and that those other languages have their own set of implications.

I also found learning foreign grammar was very good for improving my English grammar. I would have had no idea there was such a thing as an interrogative or an imperative tense was (or why you would want such a thing) if it were not for studying Japanese. I would not know what direct or indirect verbs were, nor would I be aware of reflexive verbs. And, until this thread, I had no idea that English has (had?) thirteen tenses. What are they anyway.

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Post by hravn » Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:03 am

I think it's excellent that people are forced to learn Swedish in Finland, since I plan on moving there when Sweden self-destructs because of our welfare system ;)

But I must say that I haven't actually met anyone that I could communicate in Swedish with while visiting Finland... (except for the boats)
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Post by Erssa » Mon Feb 12, 2007 3:20 am

hravn wrote:I think it's excellent that people are forced to learn Swedish in Finland, since I plan on moving there when Sweden self-destructs because of our welfare system ;)
Welcome, I guess we will see in 15 years? ;)
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Post by Trip » Mon Feb 12, 2007 9:39 am

Devonar wrote:Go back a couple hundred years and you'll find the that English *did* have separate words for second person singular and plural. "Thou" is singular, "You" is plural.
thanks I wasn't aware of that :)

I had heard Japanese was very tough to learn because it derived from 3 linguistic traditions. I wouldn't mind learning to speak and to read it, but I bet writing it would too difficult. I like the Japanese culture and... anime of course :P

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Post by peteamer » Mon Feb 12, 2007 10:49 am

Devonavar wrote: And, until this thread, I had no idea that English has (had?) thirteen tenses. What are they anyway.
F**k nose..... :mrgreen:



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Post by Trip » Mon Feb 12, 2007 11:29 am

Officially I think there are 12 tenses, but anything can be expressed in English with some effort.

simple past, present, future: typed, types, will type
progressive past, present, future: was typing, is typing, will be typing
perfect simple past, present, future: had typed, has typed, will have typed
perfect progressive past, present, future: had been typing, has been typing, will have been typing

With a table explaining the 12. This is frustrating me. I skipped out of having to learn these derned things, but now I'm thinking I ought to know them.

---
discussion of the tenses from google search

I liked this response:
How many tenses are there in English?
Two: Present and Past.
Everything else is aspect (progressive, perfect), voice (active, passive), and modality (will, would, ...).

In an alternate point of view, all variants of aspect and voice and of the modals "will" and "would" are considered tenses.

2 "Tenses" x 4 aspects (simple, progressive, perfect, perfect progressive) x 2 voices x 2 modalities ("will", "would") = 32 tenses.

takes, is taking, has taken, has been taking,
took, was taking, had taken, had been taking,
will take, will be taking, will have taken, will have been taking,
would take, would be taking, would have taken, would have been taking,
is taken, is being taken, has been taken, has been being taken,
was taken, was being taken, had been taken, had been being taken,
will be taken, will be being taken, will have been taken, will have been being taken,
would be taken, would be being taken, would have been taken, would have been being taken

Intransitive verbs cannot form passives, so they have only 16 tenses.
Some authors, curiously, consider the forms with "will" to be tenses, but not the forms with "would".

If you want to include mood (indicative, subjunctive) under the category "tense", you'll have to add even more tenses.

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Post by Elixer » Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:30 pm

would have been being taken
hmmm... trying to think of when I would actually use this. Can't think of anything. Should have a contest of who can make a sentence using this structure. See if anyone can make a sentence that doesn't sound like nonsense.

I really don't think the English language is falling apart, and I especially don't think Americans are to blame for it. Almost every German that I've talked to says that they find Americans easier to understand than people from England. I have a couple of English buddies and when I talk to them through an instant messanger, they write some pretty crappy English, just as bad as other American's. (I'm American btw - just studying in Germany)

I read something a while ago that tests of high schoolers have actually shown increased reading comprehension from previous years, probably from using the internet. I can actually believe that.

I think that the beauty of the English language is it's ability to pick up new words and phrases. We don't call tortillas some name like "flatbread" like it would be structured in German, we call them tortillas just like how it is in Spanish. I say let the English language evolve as it will. The important thing about a language is it's ability to communicate, and it's ability to do so effectively. Anything which improves this is a good thing in my mind.

I do agree that I would like to see more Americans learning other languages. As soon as you've learned another language you gain the ability to travel to another country and in doing so expand your perspectives. America could certainly use more people with a world perspective.
Last edited by Elixer on Mon Feb 12, 2007 2:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by klankymen » Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:39 pm

Elixer wrote:
would have been being taken
hmmm... trying to think of when I would actually use this. Can't think of anything. Should have a contest of who can make a sentence using this structure. See if anyone can make a sentence that doesn't sound like nonsense.
Here's one:

I was in the museum the other day. If it wasn't for the fact that the thief had gotten stuck in traffic, the picture would have been being stolen the exact second I was entering the room.

:lol: Ok, I guess that does sound kinda nonsense. And I'm not even sure it's correct.
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Post by Trip » Mon Feb 12, 2007 2:01 pm

That's... probably the first time I've seen that tense used, but I think it works.
America could use certainly use more people with a world perspective.
Be thankful Bush didn't know where Germany was during his first years of office or he might have been being aggressive with his world conquest in Germany instead of Iraq right now.

We can surmise that Dubya did know of Iraq since his father fought with Saddam.

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Post by Elixer » Mon Feb 12, 2007 2:53 pm

klankymen wrote:
Here's one:

I was in the museum the other day. If it wasn't for the fact that the thief had gotten stuck in traffic, the picture would have been being stolen the exact second I was entering the room.

:lol: Ok, I guess that does sound kinda nonsense. And I'm not even sure it's correct.
To me that sounds correct to me except for the last part but I really don't know. I would say:

I was in the museum the other day. If it wasn't for the fact that the thief had gotten stuck in traffic, the picture would have been being stolen the exact second I entered the room.

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Post by qviri » Mon Feb 12, 2007 4:24 pm

Trip wrote:
America could use certainly use more people with a world perspective.
Be thankful Bush didn't know where Germany was during his first years of office or he might have been being aggressive with his world conquest in Germany instead of Iraq right now.

We can surmise that Dubya did know of Iraq since his father fought with Saddam.
There's no oil in Germany. And Germans actually do possess weapons that could kick invaders' asses.

I wouldn't mind an invasion aimed at neutralising Erika Steinbach though...
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Post by Trip » Mon Feb 12, 2007 6:44 pm

:D

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Post by nick705 » Tue Feb 13, 2007 5:58 pm

Elixer wrote:
would have been being taken
hmmm... trying to think of when I would actually use this. Can't think of anything. Should have a contest of who can make a sentence using this structure. See if anyone can make a sentence that doesn't sound like nonsense.
If I'd seen a Bernard Matthews turkey in Cheddleton, Staffordshire last week, I think it would have been being taken to the incinerator. :P

acyf
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Post by acyf » Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:57 pm

people please understand why english became the international language first...it's all back in the days where the British was ruling the world...

kater
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Location: Poland

Post by kater » Tue Feb 13, 2007 11:14 pm

Maybe it's just that English is one of the easiest languages to learn. Hey, if *I* could learn it, then anybody can.

I've been working as a translator for several years, and also used to teach English (private lessons mostly, some business courses), and I met very few people who had problems with English. Mostly because they were either lazy or too busy - I'm talking about reaching communicative level (call it intermediate or upper intermediate). My point is, any other language I used to learn or simply had a chance to see in action seems (well, for me) much more difficult. Be it German, Russian, French or Latin. Not to mention Polish - a truly difficult language. Can you say "żywotność"? Or "przedsięwzięcie"? :lol:

I'm pretty happy with English proliferating - means more work for me, and that means I can be picky and only take the jobs I realy like.

Mescalero
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Location: TU-BS, Germany

Post by Mescalero » Wed Feb 14, 2007 1:39 am

Elixer wrote: . (I'm American btw - just studying in Germany)
Are you one of the students from Rhode Island? Or the guy with the Wisconsin sweater who sits next to me in the jet engines lecture?
Elixer wrote: I think that the beauty of the English language is it's ability to pick up new words and phrases. We don't call tortillas some name like "flatbread" like it would be structured in German, we call them tortillas just like how it is in Spanish.
Funny you say this. There are enough people in Germany who complain about all the foreign (mostly English) words which are used nowadays by Germans.

I think this forum is proof enough that English is great as a world wide language. There are people from numerous countries here. I doubt you'll find a forum in another language (least Chinese) with such an international participation.

Trip
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Post by Trip » Thu Feb 15, 2007 8:03 pm

I learned a new internetspeak acronym today: YHBT (you have been trolled)

I... figured I'd post it :P

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