Does the nature of English make sense to you?

Is it even logical?

Discuss various aspects of natural language.

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English does it make sense?

1) No
1
7%
2) yes
13
87%
3) other
0
No votes
4) wibble
1
7%
 
Total votes : 15

Re: Does the nature of English make sense to you?

#21  Postby The Damned » Dec 28, 2010 11:18 pm

virphen wrote:
The Damned wrote:
Yeah but I get so much abuse on this and other forums for not conjugating the verb to go it's not even funny. Why do people subject me to that, and yet they don't kick people in wheel chairs because they can't walk it's such a double standard and I for one am fed up with it. :roll:


You're right. From now on I am going to start beating on paraplegics.

Having a go at spelling and grammar always seems rather petty to me. Although I can't stand txtspk either.


Thanks?!

By the way I wasn't angry it was just a means to an end to make a point. :D

Don't want anyone to think that they can't troll me by being pedantic hell go ahead, I'm game if you are. ;)

txt speak! try 1337? why? :D no why no why?
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Re: Does the nature of English make sense to you?

#22  Postby z8000783 » Dec 29, 2010 8:24 am

Weaver wrote:There is a story, not positive how true it is, but I've heard it from multiple sources, that English is among the most difficult languages to master.

The US Army Defense Language Institute ranks languages by their difficulty to master, on a scale of 1-5. Arabic and Mandarin Chinese come in at level 4. This much I know is true.
Supposedly, the only level 5 language is English.

Level 5 certainly seems to be accurate judging by how much Americans struggle with it.

The [only] purpose of language is to communicate ideas which is impossible to do with 100% accuracy. English with it's extensive vocabulary and comprehensive verb tenses attempts this better than most by removing the need for a knowledge of the context to know what the words means as with many languages.

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Re: Does the nature of English make sense to you?

#23  Postby katja z » Dec 29, 2010 8:53 am

z8000783 wrote:
Weaver wrote:There is a story, not positive how true it is, but I've heard it from multiple sources, that English is among the most difficult languages to master.

The US Army Defense Language Institute ranks languages by their difficulty to master, on a scale of 1-5. Arabic and Mandarin Chinese come in at level 4. This much I know is true.
Supposedly, the only level 5 language is English.

Level 5 certainly seems to be accurate judging by how much Americans struggle with it.

The [only] purpose of language is to communicate ideas which is impossible to do with 100% accuracy. English with it's extensive vocabulary and comprehensive verb tenses attempts this better than most by removing the need for a knowledge of the context to know what the words means as with many languages.

John


Comparing languages this way makes no sense, it's like comparing different ways animals have hit upon and trying to gauge whether wings are better than fins, or maybe legs are best - but how many, six or four? Languages develop and are always used in specific social contexts, just like species live in specific habitats, and you can't say much that is meaningful about them without taking this into account.

As for the relative difficulty of different languages for learners, it all depends on who is evaluating which language. Two factors are important, similarity to (or difference from) other languages the learner already speaks, and the amount and type of exposure to the new language. Obviously, learning a language from a completely different language family (hence, structured in very different ways from yours, so you can't anticipate any of its features) and which you only hear/read/speak in the classroom will be more difficult than a language that is cousin to your mother tongue and that you hear all the time on TV, let alone in the streets of the city where you live.
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Re: Does the nature of English make sense to you?

#24  Postby chaggle » Dec 29, 2010 10:28 am

katja z wrote:
The Damned wrote:
It's horrifying to me but then as I said I can't speak English not even remotely and it's my first language, that is my problem. :)

Put it this way if I turned off my active spell checker you'd all hate me for not making any sense, well even more than you do now. :P

You are confusing the general ability to use a language and the much narrower skill of using the correct (=agreed-upon) spelling. Your English is fine; your dyslexia just makes spelling it difficult for you (well, more difficult than it is for other people). If it's any help, I know several people with very good verbal skills (poets, translators and the like) who are mildly dyslectic, which has convinced me that dyslexia has about as much to do with linguistic ability as poor eyesight - that is, it can make written communication more difficult, but this is a completely technical problem. A spell checker for you, glasses for me, and we can read and write just like anyone else. :grin:


You are quite right katja - language ability is quite distinct from dyslexia. I was once privileged to meet an amazing Dutchman who could write passable poetry in his fourth language (English) and he was very dyslexic. I had to correct his spelling a bit though...
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Re: Does the nature of English make sense to you?

#25  Postby The Damned » Dec 29, 2010 10:52 am

chaggle wrote:
katja z wrote:
The Damned wrote:
It's horrifying to me but then as I said I can't speak English not even remotely and it's my first language, that is my problem. :)

Put it this way if I turned off my active spell checker you'd all hate me for not making any sense, well even more than you do now. :P

You are confusing the general ability to use a language and the much narrower skill of using the correct (=agreed-upon) spelling. Your English is fine; your dyslexia just makes spelling it difficult for you (well, more difficult than it is for other people). If it's any help, I know several people with very good verbal skills (poets, translators and the like) who are mildly dyslectic, which has convinced me that dyslexia has about as much to do with linguistic ability as poor eyesight - that is, it can make written communication more difficult, but this is a completely technical problem. A spell checker for you, glasses for me, and we can read and write just like anyone else. :grin:


You are quite right katja - language ability is quite distinct from dyslexia. I was once privileged to meet an amazing Dutchman who could write passable poetry in his fourth language (English) and he was very dyslexic. I had to correct his spelling a bit though...


Quite, I have virtually no sequential memory too. Trust me I am well aware the diagnosis is correct. :D

It's not reading it's writing that I have difficulty with. :D
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Re: Does the nature of English make sense to you?

#26  Postby Rome Existed » Dec 29, 2010 11:52 am

English makes perfect sense if you speak it, or read the etymology of words, or possibly not even then.
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Re: Does the nature of English make sense to you?

#27  Postby Zwaarddijk » Dec 29, 2010 12:24 pm

z8000783 wrote:English with it's [...] comprehensive verb tenses attempts this better than most by removing the need for a knowledge of the context to know what the words means as with many languages.

John

What do you mean by "comprehensive verb tenses"? Certainly almost all speech ever requires contextual knowledge - although English has a huge vocabulary, sure, it's also got lots of homonyms, and lots of words which have rather wide reaches as far as what they can mean goes.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that what you're saying is based on misunderstandings about linguistics. (Especially relevant to this discussion would be Wittgenstein's stuff about language games.)
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Re: Does the nature of English make sense to you?

#28  Postby z8000783 » Dec 29, 2010 12:30 pm

Zwaarddijk wrote:
z8000783 wrote:English with it's [...] comprehensive verb tenses attempts this better than most by removing the need for a knowledge of the context to know what the words means as with many languages.

John

What do you mean by "comprehensive verb tenses"?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_verb

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Re: Does the nature of English make sense to you?

#29  Postby natselrox » Dec 29, 2010 1:52 pm

I hate the prepositions in the English language and always mix them up. :nono:
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Re: Does the nature of English make sense to you?

#30  Postby Delvo » Dec 29, 2010 3:42 pm

natselrox wrote:I hate the prepositions in the English language and always mix them up. :nono:
Sorry, but that's "I hate the prepositions during the English language and always mix them at".
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Re: Does the nature of English make sense to you?

#31  Postby Fallible » Dec 29, 2010 3:53 pm

:rofl:
She battled through in every kind of tribulation,
She revelled in adventure and imagination.
She never listened to no hater, liar,
Breaking boundaries and chasing fire.
Oh, my my! Oh my, she flies!
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Re: Does the nature of English make sense to you?

#32  Postby natselrox » Dec 29, 2010 4:08 pm

Delvo wrote:
natselrox wrote:I hate the prepositions in the English language and always mix them up. :nono:
Sorry, but that's "I hate the prepositions during the English language and always mix them at".


:?

:whine:
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Re: Does the nature of English make sense to you?

#33  Postby Varangian » Dec 29, 2010 11:58 pm

I learned English in school (we started when we were about ten years old), and I've read hundreds of books in English since I was 17. Never a fan of grammar, the language sort of grew on me, and I'm happy to be fluent enough to crack puns every once in a while.
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Re: Does the nature of English make sense to you?

#34  Postby Zwaarddijk » Dec 30, 2010 11:55 am

z8000783 wrote:
Zwaarddijk wrote:
z8000783 wrote:English with it's [...] comprehensive verb tenses attempts this better than most by removing the need for a knowledge of the context to know what the words means as with many languages.

John

What do you mean by "comprehensive verb tenses"?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_verb

John


No, I mean, what do you mean by "comprehensive"?

It's kind of vague and I'd like to know what you think is exceptional about the 'comprehensiveness' of the tense system of English verbs.
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Re: Does the nature of English make sense to you?

#35  Postby z8000783 » Dec 30, 2010 11:57 am

There are lots of them.

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Re: Does the nature of English make sense to you?

#36  Postby Zwaarddijk » Dec 30, 2010 12:03 pm

z8000783 wrote:There are lots of them.

John

there are languages that have separate verb forms for actions that have happened today, have happened yesterday, two days ago, or longer ago and likewise into the future. There are languages that have no verb tenses at all, but rich aspect systems, (English is a bit of a terrible mix of something like an aspect system and a tense system), there are languages that combine an aspect system and a tense system very straightforwardly (Slavic ones, in some sense, some other Indo-European ones), etc.

The English system is rather run of the mill, typologically.
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Re: Does the nature of English make sense to you?

#37  Postby The Damned » Dec 30, 2010 6:06 pm

Zwaarddijk wrote:
z8000783 wrote:There are lots of them.

John

there are languages that have separate verb forms for actions that have happened today, have happened yesterday, two days ago, or longer ago and likewise into the future. There are languages that have no verb tenses at all, but rich aspect systems, (English is a bit of a terrible mix of something like an aspect system and a tense system), there are languages that combine an aspect system and a tense system very straightforwardly (Slavic ones, in some sense, some other Indo-European ones), etc.

The English system is rather run of the mill, typologically.


you lost me at There. :P
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Re: Does the nature of English make sense to you?

#38  Postby Saim » Jan 06, 2011 7:18 am

natselrox wrote:I hate the prepositions in the English language and always mix them up. :nono:

Yeah but Indo-Aryan languages have weird syntax. So there. :P

Honestly, what's the logic in saying "is" after every verb, like it's not already clear it's a verb? (For those of you who don't know, in Hindi you would say "I it see am" instead of "I see it". I'm not sure about Bengali, though.)
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