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The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

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The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby Lumen_et_umbra » Mon Sep 08, 2003 8:31 pm

I would have included more languages, however, most here are only just reasonably familiar with these five languages or fewer. Feel free to add any language which you deem to be more difficult than those listed above.<br /><br />I personally think Latin to be substantially more difficult than Greek. Perhaps because, while learning Greek, I have the benefit of having learned the major grammatical concepts already in my Latin studies. Greek is so shapely, ingratiating, and logical, both in-and-of-itself, and commensurately. I am almost giddy at the thought of those delta's and psi's. ;D <br /><br />To illustrate by what degree Latin is more difficult than Greek for me: within a given amount of time I was able to learn how to say more in Greek than I was able to say in Latin after quite some time.
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby Keesa » Mon Sep 08, 2003 10:49 pm

English grammar, most certainly. It's my native language, I'm majoring in it in college, I tutor my sister and my neighbor's son in it, but I still don't completely understand it...<br /><br />Keesa
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby MDS » Mon Sep 08, 2003 10:53 pm

English, definately English. You will never meet a larger group of native speakers that cannot spell or use basic grammar with regularity. :) Myself included.
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby Carola » Mon Sep 08, 2003 10:58 pm

Yes, English is my native language too, but I feel sorry for anyone trying to learn it! It has been so patched up and uses so much borrowed bits - it's like one of those country roads they keep repairing - all lumps and bumps! Do other languages have three present tenses or so many ways of expressing what in Latin would be a straight subjunctive phrase? <br />English is a great language for politicians as you can say a lot yet mean nothing!
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby benissimus » Mon Sep 08, 2003 10:58 pm

I put Greek. Latin is infamous as being an incredibly difficult language to learn, but I think the title is undeserved. Greek may not be all that hard to those familiar with the alphabet and inflection, but it is a lot more intimidating (to me at least) than any other language I have ever learned... or that could just be the book I am using...<br /><br />I really don't think English is that hard at all. I have known English grammar and spelling very well since elementary school (and this is in a country which has forsaken the teaching of grammar and in the second to worst state in the U.S.) and the few things I didn't understand (i.e. who/whom; whence/whither/thence/thither/hence/hither/wheretofore/etc.) all got cleared up when I took Latin. If anything I would say that English is remarkably simple, but requires a totally inordinate amount of memorization.
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby annis » Mon Sep 08, 2003 11:39 pm

[quote author=Carola link=board=6;threadid=612;start=0#5587 date=1063061900]<br />Yes, English is my native language too, but I feel sorry for anyone trying to learn it!<br />[/quote]<br /><br />Yes. I have done ESL (english as second language) tutoring. Non-native speakers get quite grouchy about the way we chain prepositions.<br /><br />
It has been so patched up and uses so much borrowed bits - it's like one of those country roads they keep repairing - all lumps and bumps! Do other languages have three present tenses or so many ways of expressing what in Latin would be a straight subjunctive phrase? <br />
<br /><br />You have clearly never studied Classical Arabic. Or had to come to terms with the mind-bending complexity of just figuring out which of the several separate Japanese words for "to give" is correct in any given context. Russians write humorous short stories about soldiers getting killed while they argue trying to figure out the correct genitive plural of "machine-gun".<br /><br />Every language has its rough patches, which they acquire after 1000s of years of being lived in, as it were, and being afflicted by history. If you want a rational language, learn lojban (http://www.lojban.org/).<br /><br />
English is a great language for politicians as you can say a lot yet mean nothing!<br />
<br /><br />Now this I must object to! English is no better nor worse equiped to say nothing with many words. Every language can do that. Wasn't there some Roman poet whose poems were adressed to Lalage ("chatterbox")?<br /><br />*partisan jab alert * partisan jab alert * <br />The US president can barely speak at all, and that hardly interferes with his jabbering information-free nonsense.<br />*partisan jab alert * partisan jab alert * <br /><br /> ;D <br /><br />In any case, any native speaker of English who feels it's just a patched together kludge needs to read more Shakespeare.
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby klewlis » Mon Sep 08, 2003 11:45 pm

[quote author=MDS link=board=6;threadid=612;start=0#5585 date=1063061592]<br />English, definately English. You will never meet a larger group of native speakers that cannot spell or use basic grammar with regularity. :) Myself included.<br />[/quote]<br /><br />This is due to the attitudes of the population, not to any inherent difficulty in the language. ;)
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby benissimus » Mon Sep 08, 2003 11:46 pm

I love all the languages of the world equally 0:-]
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby Keesa » Tue Sep 09, 2003 12:11 am

I notice that no one has yet selected French...is it a perfect and beautiful language, then? :D<br /><br />Quote: <br /><br />This is due to the attitudes of the population, not to any inherent difficulty in the language. ;) <br /><br />It is not! I assure you that my attitude towards English is that of the most humble and dedicated of learners...the dratted thing is just so complicated! ;D <br /><br />Keesa
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby mingshey » Tue Sep 09, 2003 12:31 am

A lot to memorize in Greek. But English is almost a creole, if I'm right in this point.
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby Keesa » Tue Sep 09, 2003 12:46 am

If by "creole" you mean a mix, I couldn't agree with you more...no, I can't see your icon, mingshey. <br /><br />Keesa
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby klewlis » Tue Sep 09, 2003 12:55 am

[quote author=Keesa link=board=6;threadid=612;start=0#5603 date=1063066313]<br />I notice that no one has yet selected French...is it a perfect and beautiful language, then? :D<br /><br />Quote: <br /><br />This is due to the attitudes of the population, not to any inherent difficulty in the language. ;) <br /><br />It is not! I assure you that my attitude towards English is that of the most humble and dedicated of learners...the dratted thing is just so complicated! ;D <br /><br />Keesa<br />[/quote]<br /><br />I did say the attitudes of the population, not your attitude in particular. ;) What I mean, specifically, is that in North America we are very lax about education in general and english in particular... people don't know their own language and no one seems to care... I can't tell you how many times I've been frustrated by listening to someone or reading an article by someone who should know better... teachers, politicians, journalists, etc... but who make even the most elementary mistakes. I think that Japanese is a far more difficult language than English, but because of their general discipline in life and education, they learn it anyway. (I recently watched a Japanese father working with his young son on translating certain Chinese characters/words into Japanese characters/words... and I was incredibly impressed by what I saw.)
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby MDS » Tue Sep 09, 2003 1:02 am

Klewlis:<br />"This is due to the attitudes of the population, not to any inherent difficulty in the language."<br /><br />benissimus:<br />"...and the few things I didn't understand (i.e. who/whom; whence/whither/thence/thither/hence/hither/wheretofore/etc.all got cleared up when I took Latin."<br /><br />No argument there, I have learned more English grammar studying Latin then I ever did in school! English speakers GENERALLY put minute amounts of effort into perfecting their native language...the Ontario school system didn't help me any in that regard
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby mingshey » Tue Sep 09, 2003 1:07 am

[quote author=Keesa link=board=6;threadid=612;start=0#5609 date=1063068398]<br />If by "creole" you mean a mix, I couldn't agree with you more...no, I can't see your icon, mingshey. <br /><br />Keesa<br />[/quote]<br /><br />I also have in my mind that creole languages tend to show the word orders as in English.<br /><br />My icon, the webshots site seems to block outside links. On netscape you can bypass the limitation by reloading the link, but it is annoying, anyway. You may ignore it since it's charming in no way.<br /> ;D
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby Keesa » Tue Sep 09, 2003 1:16 am

[quote author=MDS link=board=6;threadid=612;start=0#5613 date=1063069375]<br />No argument there, I have learned more English grammar studying Latin then I ever did in school! <br />[/quote]<br /><br />Hehe, so have I! Actually, I never studied English grammar in school, which didn't stop me from getting perfect scores in English grammar on my tests. (I read a lot.)
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby Keesa » Tue Sep 09, 2003 1:23 am

[quote author=klewlis link=board=6;threadid=612;start=0#5611 date=1063068939]<br /><br />I did say the attitudes of the population, not your attitude in particular. ;) What I mean, specifically, is that in North America we are very lax about education in general and english in particular... people don't know their own language and no one seems to care... I can't tell you how many times I've been frustrated by listening to someone or reading an article by someone who should know better... teachers, politicians, journalists, etc... but who make even the most elementary mistakes. <br />[/quote]<br /><br />Now, that I can agree with...my brother was educated in a private school, rather than homeschooled, but my mother once tried to put him in a public school for a year. His grades started slipping, his attitude towards school deteriorated, and in short, Mamma grew worried... She called his teacher to explain the signs she had seen, and to ask if he was having any problems in school. The teacher's answer, Mamma says, was, "Oh, he ain't got no problems!" <br /><br />My brother was put back into private school the next day, and by the time my sister and I were born, she had discovered homeschooling. But then, that belongs in another thread. <br /><br />Quote: <br /><br />You have clearly never studied Classical Arabic. Or had to come to terms with the mind-bending complexity of just figuring out which of the several separate Japanese words for "to give" is correct in any given context. Russians write humorous short stories about soldiers getting killed while they argue trying to figure out the correct genitive plural of "machine-gun".<br /><br />Remind me never to take up Classical Arabic, Japanese or Russian. ;D<br /><br />Keesa
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby annis » Tue Sep 09, 2003 1:38 am

[quote author=Keesa link=board=6;threadid=612;start=15#5617 date=1063070624]<br />Remind me never to take up Classical Arabic, Japanese or Russian. ;D<br />[/quote]<br /><br />No, no! Arabic is a very elegant language! So can Japanese be. I have less to say about Russian, since I really don't know that. I have friends into Slavic languages who report back from that grammar battlefront.<br />
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby bingley » Tue Sep 09, 2003 5:18 am

You did not mention what I think must be one of the most difficult languages: Chinese.<br /><br />I tried to learn Mandarin while I was living in Singapore. I picked up the general meaning of some of the characters just from seeing them so often (things like no entry, small, medium, large, Chinese) and I took a course in the spoken language and finally had to admit defeat. I can't hear the tones, I can't say them. When it was my turn to say something in class I would dutifully repeat -- I thought I was repeating any way -- what the teacher said when she tried to correct my pronunciation but was never sure when she moved on to the next person whether I'd got it right by pure chance or she'd given up in despair.<br /><br />I'm glad I've never had to learn Cantonese or Vietnamese, both of which I understand have more tones than Mandarin.<br /><br />I was justified in the belief that it is completely impossible by this recent article:<br /><br />http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/3025796.stm<br /><br />My brain's just not big enough, or I'm using the bits which are essential for tone languages for other things.
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby Carola » Tue Sep 09, 2003 5:32 am

[quote author=William Annis link=board=6;threadid=612;start=0#5598 date=1063064373]<br /><br /><br /><br />You have clearly never studied Classical Arabic. Or had to come to terms with the mind-bending complexity of just figuring out which of the several separate Japanese words for "to give" is correct in any given context. Russians write humorous short stories about soldiers getting killed while they argue trying to figure out the correct genitive plural of "machine-gun".<br /><br />[/quote]<br />I'd love to study Classical Arabic, William - any good links to sites on the internet like Textkit, but for Arabic?<br />
<br />*partisan jab alert * partisan jab alert * <br />The US president can barely speak at all, and that hardly interferes with his jabbering information-free nonsense.<br />*partisan jab alert * partisan jab alert * <br /><br /> ;D <br /><br /><br />
<br /><br />Be grateful - we have a prime minister who can speak and has never spoken a true word yet! He uses the language as a weapon of mass distraction.<br /><br />Yes, I guess most old languages in places with plenty of invasions and cultural mixing do get fairly "irregular" after a while
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby Clemens » Tue Sep 09, 2003 9:03 am

I chose Greek. I don't speak Latin, but as far as I know it isn't as complex as Greek...<br /><br />But I think English is very difficult as well. So I have problems with the difference between Present Perfect Tense and Past Tense because there isn't anything compareable in German...
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby Keesa » Tue Sep 09, 2003 12:10 pm

[quote author=William Annis link=board=6;threadid=612;start=15#5618 date=1063071526]<br /> I have less to say about Russian, since I really don't know that. I have friends into Slavic languages who report back from that grammar battlefront.<br />[/quote]<br /><br />Well, my brother speaks Russian, or did several years ago. He says that the only reason he was able to pick it up was because we have Russian ancestors; I'm not sure if having ancestors who spoke the language makes it easier to speak it or not, but that's a topic for another thread. (Which I shall start, as soon as I finish this post.) <br /><br />He [my brother] says that Russian is the most difficult and grammatically complex language he's ever had to learn, and I couldn't help laughing, because as far as I know, the only other languages he's learned are computer languages. (Do they even have grammar?) <br /><br />So, according to my brother, Russian is quite difficult. <br /><br />Keesa
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby annis » Tue Sep 09, 2003 12:27 pm

[quote author=Carola link=board=6;threadid=612;start=15#5622 date=1063085541]<br /><br />I'd love to study Classical Arabic, William - any good links to sites on the internet like Textkit, but for Arabic?<br />[/quote]<br /><br />There are not, which is a great shame.<br /><br />For a few months now I've been going back to Arabic to do some studying. I've been collecting notes, so in a few months there will probably be a site like Aoidoi.org, but with more basic grammatical information. Unfortunately, I know no out of copyright books I'd want any learner to work from for Arabic.
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby Episcopus » Tue Sep 09, 2003 1:51 pm

Greek would probably be harder but it have I not studied. The three accents of which I see no point (nor do I understand them)<br /><br />So German it is! With it's long words many types of nouns "hang in to the end" word order, seperable verbs, DEFINITE ARTICLE FORMS ;) (hey why is english hardest all it is is "the") annoying prepositions and capital letters for every noun! <br /><br />French does have some strange parts and the hardest part of it is speaking (because honestly is sounds a little homosexual for me).<br /><br />English grammar?! What's that?! Where is our subjunctive? FAIRE, FACERE, MACHEN an auxiliary? Qué?! Insiquierdas!Why the should would ought to must may might egg?!<br />And the spelling pronunciation irregularities! mommy<br /><br />That one settle for Latin to be the man. <br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby klewlis » Tue Sep 09, 2003 2:14 pm

oh yes, no one has yet mentioned hebrew... I imagine it is comparable with arabic since they are both ancient semitic languages. I took one semester of hebrew after three years of greek and couldn't stomach it. It's a thousand times more difficult than greek. <br /><br />For example, they take all their conjunctions, prepositions, and articles and mash them right into the word they're modifying... which of course changes the form of the word so that by the time all the little words are added on, the original has completely changed form so that it is unrecognizable. <br /><br />Principal parts are a breeze after that torture!
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby Keesa » Tue Sep 09, 2003 9:42 pm

Really? Then perhaps I should think twice before taking Hebrew in college...or perhaps not. :D At any rate, first I have to get through the languages I am studying. <br /><br />Keesa
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby klewlis » Wed Sep 10, 2003 2:38 am

If your goal is biblical studies then it may be worth it to take one semester of hebrew just to get an idea of how it works... I found that even knowing how to read the words opened up a whole bunch of new reference works to me, since there are many that require an understanding of the alphabet at least... (for example, certain old testament dictionaries and lexicons, even commentaries) and it helps you understand other aspects of biblical studies as well. you might not hate it as much as i did... some people love hebrew, so who knows...
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby mingshey » Wed Sep 10, 2003 4:24 am

Don't mention hebrew. Most of its inflections are distinguished by vowel changes similar to ablauts and some augment, but in the talmud and ancient writings they omit all the vowel points! except the massoratic text with the points you cannot even start pronouncing though you have learnt the alphabets. (Thus they lost their own god's name forever. Yahweh or Yehovah? Though I think it must had been Yahoo :P)<br />
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby klewlis » Wed Sep 10, 2003 4:59 am

[quote author=mingshey link=board=6;threadid=612;start=15#5669 date=1063167852]<br />Don't mention hebrew. Most of its inflections are distinguished by vowel changes similar to ablauts and some augment, but in the talmud and ancient writings they omit all the vowels! except the masoratic text with the points you cannot even start pronouncing though you have learnt the alphabets. (Thus they lost their own god's name forever. Yahweh or Yehovah? <br />[/quote]<br /><br />Well, my hebrew bible has the vowel markings for the sake of those of us who need them... but I can see how one could learn to work without them... there are certain words that I still recognize without the vowel markings, and I only took it for one semester, several years ago! If a person studied it regularly, they could figure it out without the vowel markings.<br /><br />As for God's name, I believe it was quite intentional to leave out the vowels, since (I am told) it was forbidden to actually speak God's name and so they never did add those vowels. <br />
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby mingshey » Wed Sep 10, 2003 5:02 am

A side story.<br />When I first purchased a copy of Biblia Hebraica and looked for the longest known chapter of the bible -Psalms 119 I was gagged to find that each eight verses started with the letters of alphabet in its order. Thus it has 22x8=176 verses. Some of other shorter psalms had similar alphabetic order. See Psalms 111,112, and Lamentations chapters 1 through 4.<br />Such emphasis on alphabetical ordering in religious writings I had seen nowhere else. Thou there's a Zen poem in japan that is composed of all their letters in alphabet(syllabic signs, actually) appearing only once - and none of them omittted. There's a "Thousand Letters Poem" in chinese that was also composed of a thousand letters appearing once once each. But chineses letters are no alphabetic in nature.
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby klewlis » Wed Sep 10, 2003 5:09 am

in fact such artistic literary devices are quite common throughout the OT :)
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby mingshey » Wed Sep 10, 2003 5:18 am

As for God's name, I believe it was quite intentional to leave out the vowels, since (I am told) it was forbidden to actually speak God's name and so they never did add those vowels.
<br /><br />So long as massoratic signs were additions of later ages, any kind of addition to the god's name must have been regarded blasphemous. As for the fobidding of speaking god's name, it was common taboo for ancients to speak king's or god's name. Calling name of even common people was in the realm of taboo because the ancients belived the name was inseparable part of the owner.<br />
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby mingshey » Wed Sep 10, 2003 5:30 am

[quote author=klewlis link=board=6;threadid=612;start=15#5673 date=1063170551]<br />in fact such artistic literary devices are quite common throughout the OT :) <br />[/quote]<br /><br />Oh I'd like to listen more about them. :)
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby Keesa » Wed Sep 10, 2003 12:42 pm

Is Hebrew the only language that has no vowels?
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby Emma_85 » Wed Sep 10, 2003 1:18 pm

Hebrew has no vowels? Think what you meant to say was: Is the Hebrew alphabet the only one with no vowels? ;)<br /><br />Well, the ancient Phoenician alphabet definitely didn't have any vowels. :)
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby klewlis » Wed Sep 10, 2003 1:42 pm

[quote author=mingshey link=board=6;threadid=612;start=30#5675 date=1063171840]<br />[quote author=klewlis link=board=6;threadid=612;start=15#5673 date=1063170551]<br />in fact such artistic literary devices are quite common throughout the OT :) <br />[/quote]<br /><br />Oh I'd like to listen more about them. :)<br />[/quote]<br /><br />This page lists some devices used, but doesn't go into detail: http://www.sbuniv.edu/~bbayer/bib1013/lesson19.htm<br /><br />I tried to find better info on google but it all seems to be geared to people who haven't studied hebrew, so it focuses mainly on parallelism. :P
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby annis » Wed Sep 10, 2003 2:49 pm

[quote author=Keesa link=board=6;threadid=612;start=30#5683 date=1063197735]<br />Is Hebrew the only language that has no vowels? <br />[/quote]<br /><br />Hebrew certainly does have vowels. However, writing them is optional. Writing systems of this sort are called 'abjads' from the name of the first four letters of the Arabic alphabet. Take a look at this:<br />http://www.omniglot.com/writing/alphabetic.htm#abjads.<br /><br />As in Hebrew, vowels signs were developed later in the history of the Arabic writing system so that people would know how to pronounce the Qur'aan correctly. Since the text itself is inviolate, the vowel markings float above and below the consonants.<br /><br />In written Arabic in day to day use (newspapers, etc), the vowel markings aren't written except occasionally to avoid possible ambiguities (the active vs. passive verbs often differ only in vowels) and in poetry where getting things exactly right matters a bit more. I understand modern Hebrew takes a similar approach.
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby Episcopus » Wed Sep 10, 2003 4:04 pm

I am glad that I always considered Hebrew to be a disgusting horrible unpleasant language. But that, I know, is due to taste and many may not think thus ;)<br />Otherwise I would learn it to test myself.<br /><br />Speaking of opinions and tastes, it is not a fact that Greek, Hebrew etc. is harder than Latin. In certain facets each language may differ however one can not say something that does not be an opinion ;)<br /><br />Do you want to know how much the German definite article annoys me? I don't know the genitive thereof! I know not why it just annoys me. And usually I would learn it easily but...genitive, Deutsch?! Qué?<br /><br />
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby Emma_85 » Wed Sep 10, 2003 4:30 pm

Time for a little German lesson then...<br /><br />f.:<br />Das Haus der Person. <br />Die Häuser der Personen.<br />m.:<br />Das Haus des Mannes.<br />Die Häuser der Männer.<br />n.:<br />Das Haus des Mädchens.<br />Die Häuser der Mädchen.<br /><br /> :)<br /><br />
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby Clemens » Wed Sep 10, 2003 4:38 pm

@Episcopus<br /><br />...as long as you know the other cases...the genitive is dying anyway... ;D
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Re:The most vapid, but (for me) entertaining POLL..

Postby Emma_85 » Wed Sep 10, 2003 4:42 pm

I thought the dative was dying out ???
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