Learning a new (non-programming) language

This is a discussion on Learning a new (non-programming) language within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; Heh heh - if you decide that it's best for you to learn German, learn Aafrikans instead. Practically no grammar ...

  1. #16
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    Heh heh - if you decide that it's best for you to learn German, learn Aafrikans instead. Practically no grammar rules, and if I go to Germany and start talking Aafrikans they understand me.

  2. #17
    It's full of stars adrianxw's Avatar
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    >>> you've got the whole masculine/feminine

    In German of course, you have three word genders.

    I have also heard that basic German is not a difficult language for English speakers to learn.
    Wave upon wave of demented avengers march cheerfully out of obscurity unto the dream.

  3. #18
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    > Almost all Scandinavians speak perfectly good English

    Yes, that is amazing. This summer I've traveled through Lappland, even there a lot of people speak English quite well. What a difference with France where it is often quite hard or even impossible to use English when you're on the country side. Perhaps it has to do with the need to speak other languages. People coming from countries where Danish, Dutch and other such small languages are spoken need to learn other languages. Those coming from countries where English, French and other more spoken languages are used, don't need it very much.

    > Practically no grammar rules, and if I go to Germany and start
    > talking Aafrikans they understand me.

    A friend once showed me a South-African online newspaper, on www.beeld.com. To me it seems almost Dutch.

    I also think German is easier to learn for English speakers, perhaps it is because these languages are more close related than Spanish and German.

  4. #19
    It's full of stars adrianxw's Avatar
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    >>> Yes, that is amazing.

    It is a stated goal, certainly of the Danish government, and probably the other Scandinavian governments also to have a truly billigual society. The kids begin English quite young, (depends on the school, but where I am, typically at age 8), and it is proposed they begin younger, and are taught English as a compulsory subject for the rest of their school career. This has been the case for decades now.

    It's simple really, in the past, the free trade area in Scandinavia worked because within reason, we were self sufficient, we didn't need to trade, we did, but it wasn't necessary.

    The world changes, you adapt or die. The Scandinavian languages are notoriously difficult. People aren't going to go to all the trouble of learning them, when the population is so small, (Denmark a little over 5,000,000).

    To have your industry remain competitive, you need to be able to talk directly to your customers, and not in some broken half talk. You need to be able to analyse their problems, and succinctly and accurately present your proposals. It works.

    The French are really troublesome with their "you must deal with us in French" attitude. We don't bother marketing much in France, no point, we can do without them. Germany is waking up to this, and a great number of younger Germans speak English.
    Wave upon wave of demented avengers march cheerfully out of obscurity unto the dream.

  5. #20
    Board Conservative UnregdRegd's Avatar
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    Originally posted by codegirl
    I have heard that German is easier than Spanish or French for English-speaking people to learn, because a lot of the grammar rules are the same. But in languages like Spanish, you always put the adjectives after the nouns, and you've got the whole masculine/feminine thing going on, and who knows what else (I only took a little Spanish in high school). But supposedly German sentence structures are similar to English -- any German speakers out there are welcome to correct me
    It's all a subjective matter of opinion, but German grammar shows a lot of features that were lost in English: gender (gone except in the third-person singular personal pronouns - he, she, it) and inflection. German nouns are inflected for gender, number, and whatever else; English marks nouns for number and usually adds an -s or -es for that; English also marks for posessiveness. German verb conjugation is also more complex than English's (but English has auxillory verbs, which are supposed to be pretty confusing for non-native speakers).

    French is not a highly inflected language, like English and unlike German, although verb conjugation is still more complex than in English. French word order is similar to English's:
    "Il aime manger la bonne nourriture" = "He likes eating the good food."
    "Il a dit que je sois méchant" = "He has said that I am mean."
    "Avez-vous déjà mangé ?" = "Have you already eaten?"
    "C'est moi !" = "It's me!"

    As far as I know (I'm not an expert on German), German's word order would be like this (but in German): "I like food eating." French's main disadvantage is that, although the words often look like English words, the pronunciation (and sometimes the meaning) is different, and many written letters have become (in French, you would say "are become" (sont devenu) - archaic in English) silent.

    Originally posted by Shiro
    A friend once showed me a South-African online newspaper, on www.beeld.com. To me it seems almost Dutch.
    Afrikaans is derived from the mixture of Dutch and Low German spoken by South African settlers from the Netherlands and Germany. It's sometimes called Cape Dutch. And it has a grammar, too. All languages do, including computer languages.

  6. #21
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    Sure, if you consider THAT grammar. It's not much more than "go from left to right forming letters into words and words into sentences". OK, that is some grammar, but compared to English and all the other languages mentioned here, not much at all.

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    First I would like to say that I am a native speaker of Swedish, and that I found English very easy to learn. I would say that I know all of the English grammar by now, and that improvement in English to me merely is a matter of extending my English vocabulary, and to learn where to use some prepositions.

    There are alot of languages that I would like to learn, just for the sake of that I consider it to be cool. I believe that I have lost my potential to ever achieve native fluency in pronouncement in most languages (if not all) other than Swedish, by now (at 15 years of age). However, I believe that it is practically never too late to achieve native fluency in writing in any language. (Maybe there's no need for you to know all this egocentrical information).

    stovellp, I think that Spanish and Mandarin would be good for you to learn, in the purpose of being able to understand various information found on the web. I believe that there are alot of people who know either of these languages, but who don't know English, and are likely to submit information to the Internet in a pretty near future.

    Originally posted by UnregdRegd
    (but English has auxillory verbs, which are supposed to be pretty confusing for non-native speakers).
    I never found this trait in English confusing. At least in Swedish (and most likely the other languages of the Scandinavian family), we use auxillary verbs in the same way as English does, such as when expressing a verb in past participle. Example: "I have eaten". Swedish also uses the auxillary verb "have", conjugated after the subject in present tense, to mark the following tense. The same goes with French.

    Well, I feel that I have to admit that the main purpose of this post really was for me to shine linguistically, but I hope that it could be of interest and help to you as well.

    ....................Although, I belive that I am not so good at "verbality", or whatever it's called

    ..........damn, I can never relax (like I think I did now, on purpose though)
    Last edited by Zewu; 08-01-2003 at 05:08 PM.

  8. #23
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    Learning the very basic German grammar is pretty easy for an English speaker.

    Ich bin sicher.
    I am sure.

    Ich habe mein Baum gebrochen.
    I have my leg broken.

    However, it starts to get more complicated when you throw in the endings on all the adjectives and such. I found that it got to be too much for me after three years of German, so I'm not taking the fourth year.

    Basically, I'm saying that at first, German isn't too hard, but it rapidly becomes harder to learn. Spanish is a much easier language to learn.
    Away.

  9. #24
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    Alright then, spanish is starting to sound like the language I might go for becuase so many of you recommended it. But I have one question, will learning spanish make it easier to learn portuguese/romanian as well? So if I knew spanish I wouldn't have much trouble understanding simple portuguese/romanian languages? Or are they still much different.

  10. #25
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    Portugal and Spain have been the same country in the past, and Portugal is surrounded by Spain, so I would guess that the languages are pretty similar. I know from a friend that Spanish and Latin are quite similar, and an understanding of one will give you a basic understanding of the other. Kind of like English and American j/k
    Away.

  11. #26
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    On top of that, portugese and spanish are used side-by-side in South and Central America. There are slight differences, but they're practically eachother. Maybe one class and you're switched.

  12. #27
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    Ebonics
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  13. #28
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    Originally posted by blackrat364
    Learning the very basic German grammar is pretty easy for an English speaker.

    Ich bin sicher.
    I am sure.

    Ich habe mein Baum gebrochen.
    I have my leg broken.

    However, it starts to get more complicated when you throw in the endings on all the adjectives and such. I found that it got to be too much for me after three years of German, so I'm not taking the fourth year.

    Basically, I'm saying that at first, German isn't too hard, but it rapidly becomes harder to learn. Spanish is a much easier language to learn.
    Ditto. I took 4 years. Making sense of the language isn't difficult. The grammar rules are much stricter than in English, which also lessens the number of special cases you have to watch out for.

    ie: (disclaimer: plurals don't have a pattern, so I've probably got them wrong)
    Ich habe keine mehr Zeugfleuge. (I have no more airplanes.)
    Wenn ich um ein paar Stuehle gekaufen, faehre ich zum Luxemborg. (Whenever I a few chairs bought, drive I to Luxemborg.)
    Wieviel Uhr ist es? Ich moechte nach Hause. (How much Clock is it? I might to home.)

    The last one shows how weird german can get to the non-speaker. But if you think about it, it begins to make sense. (What time is it? I might go home.)

  14. #29
    It's full of stars adrianxw's Avatar
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    >>> portugese and spanish are used side-by-side in South and Central America.

    Can't speak for Central America, (only been to Panama), but in South America, (not been into any of the Guianas - but all the others), the only place I heard Portugese was Brazil.

    The spoken Spanish in South America is way easier than in Spain. It is pronounced much more in the way the word is spelt.

    Cerveza in South America is pronounced "Sir-vay-za" in Spain "Ther-bay-thar", for example. Cerveza is an important word.
    Wave upon wave of demented avengers march cheerfully out of obscurity unto the dream.

  15. #30
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    > It is a stated goal, certainly of the Danish government, and probably the other Scandinavian governments also to
    > have a truly billigual society. The kids begin English quite young, (depends on the school, but where I am,
    > typically at age 8), and it is proposed they begin younger, and are taught English as a compulsory subject for
    > the rest of their school career. This has been the case for decades now.

    In the Netherlands children start learning other languages at 12. English is not a compulsory subject here. They can choose between German, English, French and sometimes Spanish and/or Russian, it is possible to choose more than one language. Most of the children choose English, since they often know a bit of that language already and it seems easier to learn than German for us here, probably because it is used much more. In music, on TV etc. Often boys choose English and German, girls usually choose English and French.

    I've added some Dutch translations:

    Ich habe mein Bein gebrochen.
    I have my leg broken.
    Ik heb mijn been gebroken.

    Ich habe kein Flugzeuge mehr.
    I have no more airplanes.
    Ik heb geen vliegtuigen meer.

    Wie spät ist es?
    What time is it?
    Hoe laat is het?

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