The Oddities of English and Over-the-counter Languages
Updated on December 29, 2018
I’ve worn-out one-half a c (yikes) composition for wireless and print—mostly publish. I desire to be quieten tapping the keys as I issue my close hint.
Shaping the difficultness of eruditeness another terminology requires a reference. About English-speakers suffer hassle mastering Mandarin and otc Chinese tongues.
Likewise, an Arab is potential to incur German or Swedish cunning. But a French-speaker should be capable to percolate Italian somewhat easy because they both let Latin roots.
The People’s Day-after-day in Chinaware nominates French as a gruelling lyric to hear and says Danish is inclose trouble: “The vocalize organisation of Danish is in many shipway strange among the world’s languages, which makes it one of the hardest languages in the humanity to discover, as the language normally does not audio anything similar its scripted variation.”
The Peculiarities of English
Try explaining to a Hindi verbalizer why it’s potential to enounce the “ough” compounding 9 dissimilar slipway as in: “A rough-coated, dough-faced, heedful plowman strode done the streets of Scarborough; afterward dropping into a sphacelus, he coughed, and hiccoughed.” And, in not one of those “ough” lyric is thither a gruelling “g” strait.
The news “ghoti” is much cited to spotlight roughly of the absurdities of English spelling. The tidings can rather lawfully be marked “fish;” the “gh” forthcoming from laughter or coughing; the “o” from women; and the “ti” from land or note.
This twist is much attributed to George Bernard Shaw, who was a firm jock of attempts to reclaim English spelling. Still, polyglot Benzoin Zimmer has tracked refine a character to the intelligence that predates Shaw.
Richard Lederer, source of the hold Loony English , points out many of the problems non-English speakers are belike to let with the speech: “How is it,” he asks, “that your wind can run and your feet can odour?”
The folk at Pedagogy English Abroad head to various contranyms – speech that can intend the antonym of themselves:
“Bound (Moving towards – ‘London bound’)
“Bound (Ineffectual to motion – ‘Bound by chains’)
“Buckle (To clutches unitedly – ‘Buckle your shoes’)
“Buckle (Bust – ‘Buckled below the weight’)
“Clip (Accompany – ‘Clip on your tie’)
“Clip (Knap from – ‘Clip your nails’).”
Lag, the Oxford English Lexicon has 192 definitions for the countersign “set.”
Piece quirks such as these can be institute by the thou, English is manifestly not one of the near hard languages to passe-partout.
Trouble for Aboriginal English Speakers
From an English view about of the almost hard languages to undertake are Asian.
The Strange Serving Plant (FSI) teaches languages to U.S. Posit Section diplomats; it rates the virtually hard tongues for Americans to nark grips with are Japanese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, and Arabic.
This judgement is confirmed by How-to-Learn-a-Language.com . It too rates the fin on FSI’s tilt as the almost hard for English speakers and adds various fundamental and easterly European languages – Romanian, Cultivation, Hungarian, Czech, and Bulgarian – as finish runners-up.
And, everybody who is not from southerly Africa testament birth hassle with the “click” fathom that is role of the Xhosa nomenclature that was made notable by Miriam Makeba in her Penetrate Strain in the Sixties.
Vowels and Consonants Can Get Complicated
Again, English is one the easier languages with its five-spot vowels (six if y is counted) and 20 consonants.
Vowel-rich languages, such as the Chinese phratry, use tones to make legion vow sounds. Thither are foursome tones in Mandarin, so the intelligence “he” agency “to drink” if spoken in a mellow story timbre, but it substance “river” if a insurrection timbre is exploited. Victimization the improper tint on a news can causa the unwary to twist a congratulate into an vilification.
Ubykh was spoken on the easterly end of the Inkiness Sea some Sochi. This nomenclature had a bewildering 78 harmonic sounds, many of which a native-English utterer would deliver a identical difficult clock subjugation. Nevertheless, that’s not probably to be a trouble as, according to omniglot.com the finale liquid verbalizer of Ubykh died in 1992.
The Byzantine English Spit
The interlanguage of mixer media causes thwarting for multitude of a sealed age but so can kvetch old English.
The jaunt author and humorist Beak Bryson has ascertained that “English grammar is so composite and perplexing for the one really dim-witted understanding that its rules and language are based on Latin, a lyric with which it has cherished piddling in vernacular.”
He power suffer added that English spelling is evenly problematical and the rules and exceptions to rules power, in fact, be rather unneeded. Few English speakers volition suffer worry indication and sympathy the pursuit time from Didactics English Oversea:
“Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch procejt at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosnt mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter.”
Which is the Hardest Terminology?
Mount by the nomenclature that allows a weisenheimer and a mentor to be nail opposites, thither are plenitude of contenders for the almost hard words.
Later a deliberate discipline of the bailiwick, The Economist (December 19, 2009) picked a brace of rattling hard tongues to utter which, ilk Ubykh, are overcloud.
!Xóo is spoken by just a few g citizenry in Botswana, southwestward Africa. The Economist describes it as having “a vesiculation raiment of strange sounds.” It takes the Xhosa pawl to a unhurt new layer with “five introductory clicks and 17 consequent ones.”
Still, the British mag has elect a terminology from the easterly Virago, called Tuyuca, as the world’s nearly hard.
Tuyuca is spoken by lonesome some 800 mass. It is what’s known as an SOV (bailiwick, aim, verb speech), so an English condemnation would understand, “George dinner cooked.”
So Tuyuca gets foxy done agglutination, which is the squeeze unitedly of pocket-sized units of words into a 1 intelligence; an English exercise of an agglutinated password is antidisestablishmentarianism. Afterwards that, comes the postpositional ingredient that agency victimisation modifying elements later a tidings – regulator cosmopolitan in English.
But, the Tuyuca speech has many more pitfalls wait for those dauntless sufficiency to rigging it; it is tonic with a adenoidal constituent. That aforesaid, it’s unbelievable the medium soul inevitably to study to mouth it unless she or he wants to recognise where pirana are lurking.
More English Oddities
But, can any over-the-counter speech equal English for its contradictions, exceptions, and absurdities?
Doesn’t a non-stop fledge signify you’ll ne’er reach your finish?
If a instructor has taught, shouldn’t a sermonizer birth praught?
Why do we dupe our place and socks? Isn’t that the improper gild?
Like with dropping topsy-turvily; isn’t that how we are when standing?
In a Northerly American house we sit in “orchestra” seating but we’re not with the musicians.
In Britain, the like seating are called the “stalls” but the interview is not with the horses, and stable are where Americans go during the interruption.
If the plural of pussyfoot is mice, why isn’t the plural of household hice?
Why are a reduce hazard and a fat bump the like matter?
Offset we hack kill a shoetree then we hack it up.
And, as G.K. Chesterton famed “The parole ‘good’ has many meanings. E.g., if a man were to inject his granny at a orbit of euchre yards, I should cry him a full stroke, but not needfully a commodity man.”
Our Unknown Vernacular
The next poem is attributed to the British solon and diplomatist Master Cromer; it kickoff appeared in The Witness in 1902.
When the English lingua we verbalize.
Why is breakout not riming with addict?
Testament you severalise me why it’s truthful
We say sew but alike few?
And the manufacturer of the poetise,
Cannot verse his sawhorse with worsened?
Whiskers is not the like as heard
Corduroy is dissimilar from watchword.
Cow is cow but low is low
Skid is ne’er rhyming with foe.
Mean hosiery, battery-acid, and miss
And entertain twat and yet with select
Entertain combing, grave and dud,
Wench and scroll or habitation and about.
Since pay is rhyming with say
Why not paying with aforesaid I beg?
Entertain ancestry, nutrient, and near.
Moulding is not marked ilk could.
Why through, but bygone and sole –
Is thither any understanding known?
To add all, it seems to me
Audio and letters don’t concur.
A Canny Fille Displays Awful Science at Mimicking Languages
The Ewok terminology spoken by fancied characters in The Hotshot Wars movies is a compounding of Tibetan and Nepali.
The Guinness Volume of Humans Records tells us that NIIOMTPLABOPARMBETZHELBETRABSBOMONIMONKONOTDTEKHSTROMONT is the world’s longest acronym. The 56-letter taste stands for “The lab for shuttering, strengthener, concrete and ferroconcrete operations for composite-monolithic and monumental constructions of the Section of the Engineering of Building-assembly operations of the Scientific Search Bring of the Administration for edifice automation and proficient aid of the Academy of Construction and Architecture of the Pairing of Soviet Socialistic Republics.” Edubirdie – Glassdoor The Cyrillic rendering is a small 54 characters in duration Нииомтплабопармбетжелбетрабсбомонимонконотдтехстромонт.
From 1969 to 2011 the potentate of Libya was Muammar Gaddafi, or was it Moamar el Kadhafi, or Mu’ammar al Qaddafi? According to ABC Word “… the Library of Relation lists 72 switch spellings, and The New York Multiplication , Associated Crush , and Xinhua Word sources victimized 40 extra spellings ‘tween 1998 and 2008.” You’d deliver intellection that a man who liked to confound his slant astir could have everybody to enchantment his describe one way.
“Top 10 Hardest Languages to Acquire.” Wang Yanfang, The People’s Day-by-day , September 13, 2013.
“ ‘Ghoti’ Earlier Shaw.” Ben Zimmer, Words Log , April 23, 2008.
“The Gaga Earth of English Grammar.” Andrew P, Didactics English Abroad, July 14, 2011.
“Ubykh.” Omniglot.com , dateless.
“Crazy English.” Richard Lederer, Pocketbooks, 1989.
“Tongue Twisters.” The Economist , December 17, 2009.
© 2017 Rupert Taylor