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BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn

AliUK 10 Sep 01 - 08:03 PM
O'Trasno 10 Sep 01 - 06:30 PM
Willa 10 Sep 01 - 06:14 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 10 Sep 01 - 05:56 PM
bernil 10 Sep 01 - 05:00 PM
O'Trasno 10 Sep 01 - 04:47 PM
katlaughing 10 Sep 01 - 04:44 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 10 Sep 01 - 03:01 PM
GUEST,Tracey Dragonsfriend 10 Sep 01 - 02:22 PM
Arnie 10 Sep 01 - 11:32 AM
GUEST,Tracey Dragonsfriend 10 Sep 01 - 10:50 AM
Wilfried Schaum 10 Sep 01 - 09:45 AM
Ringer 10 Sep 01 - 09:17 AM
bernil 10 Sep 01 - 09:10 AM
bernil 10 Sep 01 - 08:58 AM
Ringer 10 Sep 01 - 05:26 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 09 Sep 01 - 11:53 PM
AliUK 09 Sep 01 - 09:44 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 09 Sep 01 - 08:04 PM
Willa 09 Sep 01 - 06:40 PM
katlaughing 09 Sep 01 - 06:04 PM
marymarymary 09 Sep 01 - 05:51 PM
bernil 09 Sep 01 - 05:36 PM
ard mhacha 09 Sep 01 - 03:35 PM
Ringer 09 Sep 01 - 01:50 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 14 Aug 01 - 11:09 PM
Shields Folk 14 Aug 01 - 07:51 PM
SharonA 14 Aug 01 - 07:28 PM
Arnie 14 Aug 01 - 04:07 PM
CRANKY YANKEE 14 Aug 01 - 02:27 PM
jeffp 14 Aug 01 - 11:33 AM
GUEST,Steve 14 Aug 01 - 11:27 AM
Kim C 14 Aug 01 - 10:51 AM
RangerSteve 13 Aug 01 - 11:09 PM
Kim C 13 Aug 01 - 05:11 PM
Bill D 13 Aug 01 - 01:31 PM
pavane 13 Aug 01 - 11:10 AM
pavane 13 Aug 01 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 13 Aug 01 - 11:07 AM
katlaughing 13 Aug 01 - 10:58 AM
GUEST,jaze 13 Aug 01 - 09:31 AM
pavane 13 Aug 01 - 08:51 AM
Wolfgang 13 Aug 01 - 08:24 AM
Wolfgang 13 Aug 01 - 08:20 AM
Ringer 13 Aug 01 - 04:41 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 12 Aug 01 - 11:40 PM
GUEST,random 12 Aug 01 - 10:14 PM
katlaughing 12 Aug 01 - 09:10 PM
Bill D 12 Aug 01 - 08:35 PM
Bill D 12 Aug 01 - 08:28 PM

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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: AliUK
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 08:03 PM

bernil: words that are similar looking in two or more languages are called "false cognates". I have a big problem with them both my students and I as there are a few in portuguese that look and sound similar to english words but have completely different meanings. It's not only swedes that have problems with prepositions. You though have a good grasp of the language, well done ( darn why do I feel like a teacher?)


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: O'Trasno
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 06:30 PM

Thanks Dicho,I stand humbly corrected on that one...but it brings us to another interesting question:does this "class identifier" quality in english exist in other languages? I've been living in Galicia for the last couple of years but as yet i haven't come across examples either in spanish or galego(the local language) And another question...should we all take a collective cyberleap to part 2 of this thread?


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Willa
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 06:14 PM

Bernil; i believe the Inuit have fifty different words for snow - now that's complicated!


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 05:56 PM

A dealer in pre-owned books was tossing out textbooks and other material that wouldn't sell. I picked up two useful handbooks: "Hodges' Harbrace College Handbook" (120 pp. grammar section) and Prentice-Hall "Handbook for Writers." These two are readable. The definition of IN that I gave from Webster's (previous posting) began to nag at me. In, inside, enclosed, within are listed like synonyms but they are not. One may say that he is in pain, but not within, etc. pain unless he is engaging in literary embellishment. O'Trasno, sorry, but you used general, colloquial English, not preferred English. You get into a car or bus; not in a car or on a bus. In North America, it makes no nevermind, but it is a class identifier in England (among hundreds of others), even though one has perfected one's accent. (I hate this use of one, but when I started to read this thread, I was reminded of a hated teacher who insisted that using "you" was a sign of linguistic sloppiness and I deserved to end up on street corners selling apples). Up? Now there is another one...


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: bernil
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 05:00 PM

Dicho, I don't know if amusing is the right word... ;-) and that was just one example... (in or at)

My slow writing may be quite OK but... when I try to read "ENGLISH IS TOUGH STUFF" loud I understand that talking English would be too adventurous!!! Fortunately I don't have to do it very often!

Another thing is that you have so many words for one Swedish word. It's difficult to find the right word as we can't understand the shades of meaning (?).ut English is a rich language!

Berit


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: O'Trasno
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 04:47 PM

And i wonder why you get in a car,but get on a bus...?


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 04:44 PM

Brill, Tracey. I have copied it to a PART TWO as this one is getting so long.

Thanks!

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 03:01 PM

Bernil- Arrive at London airport but arrive in London? Rent a car and arrive at Badger's Drift but stay in Badgers Drift? One arrives at but lives in is the general rule, but- one arrives in England, yes? In indicates inside, enclosed, within. If you think about this, you can see why the distinction is made, but we are entering the realm of custom which may overturn rule. Amusing, eh?


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: GUEST,Tracey Dragonsfriend
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 02:22 PM

I just wish I'd written it! Seriously, thogh - it is VERY difficult to say aloud...


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Arnie
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 11:32 AM

Well done Tracey D - there's no answer to that!! It's such an interesting thread however that no doubt it will continue for a while yet...


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: GUEST,Tracey Dragonsfriend
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 10:50 AM

How about this one : Multi-national personnel at North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters near Paris found English to be an easy language... until they tried to pronounce it. To help them discard an array of different accents, the verses below were devised. After trying them, a Frenchman said he'd prefer six months at hard labor to reading six lines aloud. Try them yourself…


ENGLISH IS TOUGH STUFF
======================
Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.

Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it's written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.

Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.

Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation's OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.

Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.

Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.

Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.

Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.

Pronunciation -- think of Psyche!
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won't it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It's a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.

Finally, which rhymes with enough --
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!
-- Author Unknown


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 09:45 AM

Hello folks,
thanks for the contributions enriching my collection of linguistic fun. But now in earnest:
English is a very easy language to learn,because it changed to an almost synthetc language, i.e. it lost a lot of morphology and the parts of speech are rigidly defined through their position in the sentence.
It has no gender; every verb has only 4 forms (learn, learns, learning, learned) or 5 ones with the irregular verbs (see, sees, seeing, saw, seen), but the number of irregular words is very small compared to German. Here you could say: The irregular is the rule.
There are different levels of speech as in every language; in English they are easy to discern by the use of four letter words or polysyllables.
In the barracks you could hear: "Who is this f**ing guy who can't handle his rifle?"; more politely you could say: "Would you be so kind, please, to introduce me to this cohabitating gentleman who seems to have difficulties in the employment of his rifle?"
If you think the orthography difficult, look at German - it is pretty awful. Don't expect logic in languages, it is all development (and history, especially your orthography).
Be glad to have such an easy language; it can't be so bad - even Shakespeare liked it so much that he decided to use it for his plays.

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Ringer
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 09:17 AM

You're doing very well so far, Berit. In my experience, all Scandinavians speak English far better than many native speakers. I echo kat's welcome. The difference between the train arriving at a little town but in London (eg) had never occurred to me before. But I can see you are right - that bit of your book is not yet obsolete!


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: bernil
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 09:10 AM

Another book I read this summer was about common mistakes a Swede makes when he tries to speak English and after reading it I thought I would never dare speak/write English anymore! A lot of words that are very alike (?) in Swedish and English mean very different things. That can be dangerous! Or – which has to be better - funny! ;-) I understand now that you must laugh a lot at Swedes!

/Berit


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: bernil
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 08:58 AM

Thanks kat for your welcome in Swedish! The first line was OK, but the next one... no... but I think I know what you tried to say!

I may be quite good at english as long as I don't have to write very difficult things and if I can do it in (?) my own pace (?), that is slowly... and of course I look up words. I've tried to learn more about prepositions (which I have problems with) this summer and that was not easy! You use different prepositions in a sentence depending on very small differences... For example: A boat or train arrives at a small town but the boat arives in England or a bigger town. So, I have to count the people living there before I know which preposition to use?? But the book was a bit old so perhaps it has changed... And I think we have such stupid things in Swedish too!

Berit


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Ringer
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 05:26 AM

Oh, I agree, Dicho. In fact, I couldn't agree more. The foreign youngsters we have through our household (usually European) can't believe that grammar is not taught in our schools. But seeing the efforts of recent graduates we employ trying to write reports, I can.


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 11:53 PM

As an old timer, I think I would be short-changed in a modern English class where I didn't have to diagram sentences and be drilled on the parts of speech. Is that why they no longer call the first few grades "grammar school"? Without knowing the subjunctive in English, e. g., how could you learn rapidly the required scientific German necessary to take an advanced science degree? Not knowing grammar leads to frustration and wasted time for any one pursuing advanced education.


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: AliUK
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 09:44 PM

oooo....this thread is fun I teach EFL and this page is now on my tracer. I'm just gonna let youse guys do the work for me. Funny how all these words give my students problems ( portuguese is their mother tongue). And they never believe me when I tell them that I never had to study english grammar at school. "But teacher,"they say "How did you learn your language?". English is the most flexible language in the world and also, it's speakers have a tendency to get to the point, whereas latin speakers tend to talk around it. That's why our language seems to be less rich than theirs, that is until I start to teach them poetry!


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 08:04 PM

It is difficult for one to eliminate one's memory of the rules of pronunciation in one's own language when one is speaking English (sentence illustrative of one problem) . Our Canadian prime minister is French, so the local newspaper (very anti the minister's party) always mimics his mispronunciation in cartoons and editorials. That becomes dat (the h in th is silent in French), these is dese and father becomes fodder. I had a boss from Colombia who, after university in the U. S. A. and 20 years employment with a major company, always started words like special with the syllable es- (special is especial in Spanish). I had a Mexican roommate in college who couldn't pronounce bottle (or was he just cagy when it was his turn to buy?). But I also note how quickly a foreigner picks up enough to get by, and sometimes a lot more than someone born here but poorly educated.


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Willa
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 06:40 PM

Fiolar; Pope pronounced worse; I heard it as 'Oklahoma' pronounced success
Pavane; I believe you are right about Shaw using Ghoti as an example. He did leave a large sum of money in trust for anyone who could devise a better English alphabet; we have only 26 letters , but 43 sounds. The money has not been claimed yet.


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: katlaughing
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 06:04 PM

Bald Eagle, thanks for the poem! That's great!

maryx's3 - another good example!

bermil, your English seems very good to me. I use a translation program, so cannot claim to know Swedish, but would like to say:

Välkommen till Mudcat!

Vänlig önskningen,

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: marymarymary
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 05:51 PM

Bald Eagle: raze/raise?

As in "This weekend, we raised the barn" or "This weekend, we razed the barn"?


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: bernil
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 05:36 PM

This thread was really good for me, as I'm a Swedish woman trying to learn english! Now I see that I don't have to feel so very ashamed when I find it difficult and make mistakes. But I'm afraid I don't think my own language is so much better. When I've discussed Swedish words and spelling with friends from other countries, I've felt ashamed...


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: ard mhacha
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 03:35 PM

My US cousin making fun of my Armagh accent when I asked her to say, Merry Mary married Hairy Harry. Try it stateside, sounds like me saying her hair, the words sound the same. Slan Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Ringer
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 01:50 PM

Found it! (or, to be strictly accurate, my wife found it).

Hints on pronunciation for foreigners

I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you,
On hiccough, thorough, laugh and through.
Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,
To learn of less familiar traps?

Beware of heard, a dreadful word,
That looks like beard and sounds like bird,
And dead: it's said like bed, not bead.
For goodness' sake don't call it 'deed'!
Watch out for meat and great and threat
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt).

A moth is not a moth in mother
Nor both in bother, broth in brother,
And here is not a match for there
Nor dear and fear for bear and pear.
Just look them up -- and goose and choose,
And cork and work and card and ward,
And font and front and word and sword,
And do and go and thwart and cart.
Come, come: I've hardly made a start!

A dreadful language? Man alive,
I'd mastered it when I was five.


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Aug 01 - 11:09 PM

Tough- OE toh (as in toe). In turn from OHG. Don't ask for logic. If I tried to justify the changes that occurred in the long history of these words, I would deserve to be dropped head first into the steepest cleugh around. (clewch- from 1375). Just how were words pronounced in the past? No one knows. All sorts of shifts took place. Waugh gets me too- I think I got corrected every time I said it- we has Waugh in Mod. Lit. The OED says waugh = woe is attributed to N. American Indians, but also says woe is common to Indo-Europeans. I think someone editing OED had bats in the belfry. Looking up woe I accidentally saw wlonk heading a page (= proud). Now there is a word to work into everyday conversation!


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Shields Folk
Date: 14 Aug 01 - 07:51 PM

Dichio, if Rough is prononced as it is because of its German origin and not regional English why is tough, clough and waugh ( not the poncy way it is pronounced in the south as in Auberon Waugh, or those Australian cricketeters)prononced as it is. What about a cleugh in Northumbrian Geography.


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: SharonA
Date: 14 Aug 01 - 07:28 PM

Remember the "I Love Lucy" episode where Ricky (the Cuban) tries to read a story (in English) to his young son? A superb example of the confusion in English spelling vs. pronunciation.

Here's my favorite homonym tongue-twister: I never felt a felt hat that felt like that felt hat felt.


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Arnie
Date: 14 Aug 01 - 04:07 PM

Did you know that in Turkish, the word 'don' can mean either a frost or a pair of knickers! I suppose you could accuse someone of being frigid without realising it!However, unlike English, Turkish is totally phonetic - but it's still an absolute sod to learn !


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: CRANKY YANKEE
Date: 14 Aug 01 - 02:27 PM

Dear Kat. I know a lot of Italian business people who's base is in Bologna. They say that English is very easy to learn because of the lack of gender.
There are a lot of Italian words, spelled the same, but with different meaning. Also Japanese. For instance, in Japanese EMPI can mean elbow or swallow (the bird) Kamikaze means Divine Wind or Paper Head.

As for "English Muffin", they call them "Crumpets" in England


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: jeffp
Date: 14 Aug 01 - 11:33 AM

English used to have a letter for the th sound - the thorn, which looked very similar to a "y". That's why we have all the "Ye Olde ...." stuff around in the "historic" areas.

jeffp


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: GUEST,Steve
Date: 14 Aug 01 - 11:27 AM

You can always find the mot juste in English!

Talking of G B Shaw, he wanted to reform English spelling. (And some of those -ough endings are down to Caxton's printers making the pages look prettier!) GBS would have introduced more letters but reduced the length of many words by using s phonetic system. For example, the Greek phi would replace ph, theta would replace th. (Although there are already two letters used in Icelandic for 'th' in 'path and 'th' in 'the'.)

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Kim C
Date: 14 Aug 01 - 10:51 AM

How about cafay olay? ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: RangerSteve
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 11:09 PM

Jeanie - you're right, I've heard those kind of remarks way too many times. Incidentally, Yogi would be declared a nuisance bear in NJ and by law, must be removed to a more rural area, then shot if he persists in his usual actions.

KimC - I'm complaining. If we have to have French words, they should be spelled the way they're pronounced, or pronounced the way they're spelled.


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Kim C
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 05:11 PM

Then there's people trying to learn English as a second language here where I live, where accents and dialect often are NOTHING like texbook English. I think Jeff Foxworthy talks about it:

Jeat yet?

Naw, yawnto?

What I'd like to know is, why do the French delight so in accusing Americans of polluting their language with our infernal English, when England is just across the channel and we are halfway around the world?

English uses a lot of French words too, and I haven't heard anyone complain of that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 01:31 PM

LOLOL....we need to AGREE on some new language and all the 'clique' members start posting in it...tell 'guests' and trolls they have to join to get the code! *giggle*..maybe Wolfgang can guide the dysfunctional elite thru Folksprach

sorry, I'm feeling silly this afternoon...


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: pavane
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 11:10 AM

I wonder, could we find the right parameters to put into one of these programs and come up with Proto-Indo-European? <G>


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: pavane
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 11:07 AM

I have heard that GHOTI dates back to one literary gent called G B Shaw! Of course, these anecdotes are often wrongly attributed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 11:07 AM

My Greek friends point out theirs is a phonetic language so I should speak it better then they do English (alas, I don't!).BUT stress is more important so yeros with the stress on the first syllable is "old" or "old man" while yeros with the stress on the second is "strong", or "strong man". In my case one is accurate, the other is bragging!
RtS (the man who ordered doll with lemon instead of goat with lemon!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 10:58 AM

Speaking of new languages, there are people all over who cal themselves Conlangers, Constructed Language Makers. There was a fascinating interview with some of them on NPR last wekend. To listen, just click this and scroll down the page to Constructed Language Makers NPR interview.

For more fun, check out these websites, including free software to help you design your own model language. BTW, they call them "model" languages in the sense that we have "model" airplanes.

Thanks, BE. Wolfgang, interesting to note that happens in German, too. Thanks for the examples!

Free Software to write your own language

Model Languages - An Intro

Scale Model Languages

The Tongues of Tolkein's Arda

Model Language links

And, to go along wiht your new language, check out P.C.Wrede's World Builder.


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: GUEST,jaze
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 09:31 AM

Tony Randall once did a thing on the Tonight Show where he said that GHOTI spells fish. GH(f)as in enough,O(i)as in women,TI(sh)as in nation. We could start a whole new language.


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: pavane
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 08:51 AM

Crazy Eddie - I remember reading the article you quoted - about changing the spelling of English. It was written many years before we joined the EC! Can't remember who wrote it though.

Here is another old one:
Time flies like an arrow
Fruit flies like a banana


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Wolfgang
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 08:24 AM

'Umfahren' is the correct spelling for both meanings. Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Wolfgang
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 08:20 AM

Beifahrer zum Fahrer: Warum hast Du eben den Fussgaenger umgefahren?
Fahrer: Du hast doch gesagt, ich soll ihn umfahren.
Beifahrer: Idiot. Ich hab gesagt, Du sollst ihn umfahrren.

For those few who don't read German, the verb 'umfahren' means 'to run over' (a pedestrian, e.g.) or 'to drive around' depending on position of stress. A source of confusion, especially in moments of stress.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Ringer
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 04:41 AM

On the "homograph" theme, is there a term describing, eg cleave which can mean both itself & its opposite (cleave together = join; cleave a log = split)? I think probably not, for I vaguely remember that there's only one other such word, but for the life of me I can't remember what it is.

Wonderful thread, kat.


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Aug 01 - 11:40 PM

The example "on the fritz" on the site mentioned by BillD is pertinent to postings in the thread Angelina Baker also going on now. What does cotton-eyed (as in Cotton-eyed Joe)mean and where does it come from? In the song, Joe is a devil with women so it is unlikely that he has some condition such as cateracts. A variation on the song applies the name and the song to a mean horse. Does the horse roll its eyes showing the white and is application of the name to a man a later version? No one seems to know. No, we don't need a name for words we can't explain.


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: GUEST,random
Date: 12 Aug 01 - 10:14 PM

"it is a poor mind who can only think of one way to spell a word" i think andrew jackson said that. well, atleast some famous american guy said it.

Personlally, as someone who suposively speaks english- i think its a great thing that i'm a native speaker b/c as it is, i think its a very hrommible language and if i had to learn it as a second language i'd be just a wee bit unhappy. (thats litodes- poetic understatement. and actually, it can be beautiful sometimes. but its all the other times wich have me annoyed. :)

"phosion" is "fish"- see the "ph" like in photo, "o" like in women, and 'sion' like in all of htose french words.

I always liked: one mouse, two mice, three mece (pronounced w/ the first syllable "me" and the "ce" like the "ce" in "ice")

and what about words that don't have plurals? like deer or sheep. and some military history buffs use 'cannon' as the plural and signular of 'cannon'

ponytrax here's a true story (assumiing i can remember it all.)- My maternal grandmother grew up her whole life in the same town in New england and consequently has a very thick new england acent. She cameto visit me and my folks when we lived in the american northwest- the other side of the continient. My grandma talks to someone- i think at the ticket desk- and the airport worker turns to my mother and says," ma'am can you please translate, i don't understand her." at which point my mild and meek and shy gramma pounds her fist on the counter and yells "i am an american! i speak english!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 Aug 01 - 09:10 PM

No, no, Bill D! *maniacal laughing* Oh, no, I'll be lost forever! *BG* I already had to unsubscribe from Quinion's email stuff! Oh, jeez, another bookmark!

Thanks...a lot!

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Aug 01 - 08:35 PM

not enough, you say!?..well, then, I shall deluge you!

Beware!


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Subject: RE: BS: Reasons why English is so hard to learn
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Aug 01 - 08:28 PM

and if you are finished there..*grin*...here is another!

http://www.bestclips.com/newsletter-7.html

and from a site on Puns come this:

Homophonic: use of like sounds but with different spellings and meanings. Also referred to as polyptoton. Examples of homophones from A to Z:

ad ... add nap ... knap buy ... by oar ... or caries ... carrys primer ... primmer damn ... dam queue ... cue eerie ... Erie rain ... rein ... reign for ... four scent ... sent gait ... gate taro ... tarot hear ... hear urn ... earn idle ... idol vain ... vane jeans ... genes waive ... wave knot ... not xero ... zero ledger ... leger yore ... your main ... mane ... Maine zounds ... sounds


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