View Full Version : English Be Difficult

09-09-2007, 16:57

When you read that word, did you "hear" it in your mind as "leed" or "led"? Depending upon context, it can be "heard" either way. When you saw the word "read" in the first sentence: "reed" or "red"?

For those of us who are native speakers of English, we wonder why visitors to our shores cannot learn our language. After all, were we to move to their country, we'd learn theirs, right?

In the other romance languages, vowels, letters, and sylables are always pronounced the same. For instance, look at Spanish. The word "caliente". Were we to apply "normal" English rules of pronounciation ("first vowel does the talking, second does the walking"), this would be "cal - leent". To those of us in the border states (Tx, Ca, Az, NM), it's "ca li en tay". In Spanish, every vowel is pronounced; in English, sometimes Yes, sometimes No.

English language structure is complex. Look at something like the Future Past Perfect Gerund verb form...good god almighty!! An example would be: By this time tomorrow, I will have been diving for an hour. How do we expect anybody to learn that?

Besides "they're", "there", and "their", what other complexities of convoluted language can you think of?

WV Diver
09-09-2007, 16:59
Reminds me of this shirt I saw the other day.

WV Diver
09-09-2007, 17:05
Sorry had a technical difficulty.

09-09-2007, 17:06
And not to mention the Americanised version of English compared to proper Queens English.

Then again no one understands a couple of aussies talking Occa (Aussie Slang).

Simple add some swear words and the odd "bloody" and "mate" and your half way there.


09-09-2007, 17:12
Which red witch read to their two children there too?

09-09-2007, 19:40
I have lots of European colleagues that find English much easier than their native tongue, say German or French. For example English has few articles "the", "a" and "an" (all of which can go with any noun). German has der (masculine), die (feminine) and das (neuter); plus ein (masculine and neuter) and eine (feminine and plural) (and every noun has a gender that follows no rule as to it's assignment), but each of these has many forms der (nomitave), den (accusative), dem (genitive) depending on the usage and each of these changes the ending of the word they come before, like der freund, die freundin.

I'm sure I screwed some of that up, so I hope the German folks will forgive me. Verzeihung sie ihnen, mein Deutsch is nicht so gut.

But my real excuse is, that if every state spoke a different language, we would all be multi-lingual because we would have to be.

09-09-2007, 19:55

Ich spreche auch Deutsch.

I find German makes more sense because EVERY letter is pronounced. And it is ALWAYS pronounced the same way. In English, as I mention above, the same combination of letters can be pronounced differently depending upon context. In German, the case declensions and verb conjugations clearly indicate who is doing to whom with what.

Modern German youth are becoming sloppy in their speech. They are purposely failing to decline nouns based upon gender or even case. They often simply use the Neuter form regardless of gender. Subject, direct object, and indirect object must be derived from context, like English.

09-09-2007, 20:10
Many languages are doing that. I was on a business trip recently and sat across from some Indian folks. They were speaking in Bengali but injected English into the speech fairly regularly. I asked them what the language was and they told me it was "Benglish", kinda like Spanglish. Turns out that this is becoming more common. Some folks from Sri Lanka speak "Singlish" (Sinhalese and English). I think the world is losing it culture a bit, kind of a shame.

scuba Widow
09-09-2007, 20:35
Well...I think you also have to look at the region of the country you are talking...mainly North and South. Both regions have their own versions of the same words. If you ever want to be confused listen to a Southern and a Northern have a conversation it is bad....lol

09-09-2007, 20:39
To those of us in the border states (Tx, Ca, Az, NM), it's "ca li en tay". In Spanish, every vowel is pronounced; in English, sometimes Yes, sometimes No.

you forgot FL, we share a border with Cuba.

09-09-2007, 21:43
German has different pronunciations in different regions. Languages are constantly evolving.

Charlotte Smith
09-09-2007, 21:58
If I go somewhere foreign I WILL try to learn at least the basics of their language and I wish everyone else would do the same if they come here....but thats just me...

09-09-2007, 23:34
Not just you Charlotte!

09-10-2007, 08:53
At least there are only 26 letters in our alphabet. But with english the exception is the rule.

Capt Hook
09-10-2007, 09:44
I only speak American.

09-10-2007, 21:36
Try one of the Oriental tonal languages (e.g. Chinese or Vietnamese). There is a rising tone, falling tone, and rising/falling tone. The same word with different tonal inflections means something completly different. This is the quality that some Westerners describe as "singsong". Plus most Europrean languages use the same rough sentence construction (subject, verb, then object). Not so in all Oriental languages. It can be challenging to either speak or understand.


09-10-2007, 22:19
German has different pronunciations in different regions. Languages are constantly evolving.

Ich fühle den Drang, der Drang, zu untertauchen!

09-10-2007, 23:16
And let's no even get started on slang and colloquial meanings...

09-11-2007, 07:39
Learning Japanese was difficult because the sentence structure is different from English. English is easy to have a conversation with because you can tack stuff onto the end of your sentence so you can talk before knowing what you want to say. With Japanese all the objects come before the verbs. The verb is usually the last thing in the sentence.

09-11-2007, 11:34
I find German makes more sense because EVERY letter is pronounced. And it is ALWAYS pronounced the same way.

Even Germans have trouble with their language. You have similar issues that we do with English in Germany. For example there is High German and Low German and they don't share a lot in common, or so they tell me. I know the German I learned can not be used to talk to them in German because the words are quite different, they used the term High and Low German. I've had several Germans (by birth there) tell me this same story.

My father in law uses what he calls Low German and he can't understand the German I know which is what he calls High German. My Grandfather (now deceased) spoke Low German and wouldn't know what you're telling him if you spoke the German language taught in schools.

There are some things in common like colors from what I can tell, but many words for common objects don't even sound the same, nor are they spelled the same. It seems they use a stronger guttural method of pronouncing things compared to the High German.

Now lest one think the pronunciation is the same everywhere I'll tell you right now that it's not. I know a German (he was 16 during WWII and tried to shoot down my boss who was dropping bombs on his town) and he uses a less guttural method of pronouncing words, in fact the way he talks in German is quite different than that of my relatives.

It seems to me that our language is said to be hard to learn by us, but in fact I've been told by others it's quite easy. I knew a Swiss pilot who said it was easy in comparison to his Swiss German.

One observation by me is that Low German seems to be a subset of High German, ie I can grasp the concept of what they're saying but they can't grasp my concept as easily. Of course now I know very little German, you've got to use it or lose it.