What's the hardest language to learn/master?

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duszek
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Re: What's the hardest language to learn/master?

Post by duszek » Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:47 am

Is there any advantage in speaking a difficult language as one´s native language ?
Can it be assumed that the mind is exercised better from early on as compared to the mind of speakers of relatively simple languages ?

Does a tough language lead to a tough and efficient mind ?

duszek
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Re: What's the hardest language to learn/master?

Post by duszek » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:18 am

It could be that the pronounciation influences the shape of the mouth of the speaker, in the long run.

An Oxford English speaker uses different facial muscles than an American English speaker, I suppose, especially if the American enjoys drawling the vowels.

Try to say "zdzblo" in Polish (ask first a native speaker for a model to imitate). It´s like a beauty exercise for the mouth.

Or in French: Tu te trompes.
It took me hours of practicing before I was satisfied up to a point, it is still a challenge.

Italian is easy to pronounce, this easiness is supposed to convey the lightness of being.
They don´t say expresso, but espresso, because it´s more easy, more delightful, less tough and less like a chore.

A hard language is a kind of chore, isn´t it ?

Skip
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Re: What's the hardest language to learn/master?

Post by Skip » Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:32 pm

duszek wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:47 am
Is there any advantage in speaking a difficult language as one´s native language ?
Can it be assumed that the mind is exercised better from early on as compared to the mind of speakers of relatively simple languages ?

Does a tough language lead to a tough and efficient mind ?
I don't think so. Native Mandarin speakers range from stupid to brilliant, just like native Italian or Navajo speakers.
Indeed, I'm not at all sure that any language is easier or harder than any other to learn in infancy or childhood. They become relatively difficult only to adults learning a new language. It's not so much about the language itself, or the rules of its grammar, as about the habits of thought that have already been established. The whole fact/memory/concept/association data-base in your head was built up in the words and syntax of your native tongue. That's a lot of material to transcribe into a different format.
I had a South American colleague once who was convinced that she would always have to translate her thoughts into English. She had been here just over a year when, while dictating a medical description into the recorder, I suddenly asked her; "How was that in Spanish?" and she found she had to translate. She was already thinking about work-related material in English - simply because that's the language in which the knowledge was being stored from day to day. The same thing happens in school. That's why immersion programs work.
It could be that the pronounciation influences the shape of the mouth of the speaker, in the long run.
I don't think so. We're all such a genetic mix and our physical structures took so many millions of years to evolve, it can't be that easy to change.
But, certainly, just as the practice of skills like playing an instrument or a sport develop muscles selectively and form synaptic pathways, I imagine vocalization does the same. It can be re-trained, but the later in life one begins, the more difficult it becomes.
Anyway, what's wrong with an accent?
A hard language is a kind of chore, isn´t it ?
I guess. You wouldn't know it from the little children who chatter away in Arabic or Inuit.
Did you ever see the The Gods Must Be Crazy II? The adult Bushman uses the clicking sounds of Kung, but the small child sounds just like small children anywhere - squeaky. Those sounds must require a degree of skill, and take time to learn.
Hungarian is starting to look pretty easy!

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Re: What's the hardest language to learn/master?

Post by duszek » Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:14 pm

There is nothing wrong with an accent or with a dialect.

As a non-native speaker I feel entitled to my own personal accent that I work on all the time.
An important criterium of my personal accent happens to be that I pronounce clearly and slowly, not worrying that some people may regard me as a simpleton.

I degustate every word like a cherry one of a kind, and put them on a string, and enounce them one by one.

You don´t like my Frenchism degustate ?
But you can understand or guess the meaning of it, especially if I pronounce with a savoring tone of voice. :wink:

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Re: What's the hardest language to learn/master?

Post by -1- » Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:44 pm

This is what happens when you let two immigrants together to exchange their ideas via ESL notes:
duszek wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:14 pm
There is nothing wrong with an accent or with a dialect.

As a non-native speaker I feel entitled to my own personal accent that I work on all the time.
An important criterium of my personal accent happens to be that I pronounce clearly and slowly, not worrying that some people may regard me as a simpleton.

I degustate every word like a cherry one of a kind, and put them on a string, and enounce them one by one.

You don´t like my Frenchism degustate ?
But you can understand or guess the meaning of it, especially if I pronounce with a savoring tone of voice. :wink:
-1- wrote: Here is noting wong with an ascent or with a die, alec.

As a nunnative speecher I fell entitted to my own personnel ascent that I walk on all the dime.
An impotent critterium of my personnel ascent happenis to be that I prone ounce deadly and showy, not worting that same peepee may gerrard me as a simple tonne.

I degustave a very wart lake a sherry one of a kid, and pit them on a stink, and announce them on be one.

Ewe don lock my Frenchize digestate ?
Butt ewe kin enders tanned or guest the manning of it, espeshiality iff I programm with a saving tune of vice. :fink:
I, -1-, is a immingrant, two.

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Re: What's the hardest language to learn/master?

Post by -1- » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:06 pm

duszek wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:14 pm
There is nothing wrong with an accent or with a dialect.

As a non-native speaker I feel entitled to my own personal accent that I work on all the time.
An important criterium of my personal accent happens to be that I pronounce clearly and slowly, not worrying that some people may regard me as a simpleton.

I degustate every word like a cherry one of a kind, and put them on a string, and enounce them one by one.

You don´t like my Frenchism degustate ?
But you can understand or guess the meaning of it, especially if I pronounce with a savoring tone of voice. :wink:
29 of your words were based on Romance languages, and only 21 on Anglo-Saxon roots. These totals discount prepositions and pronouns.

So basically you were speaking French, or writing in French, with a minority presence of English words.

Try the same thing in a mix of Hungarian and English.
-1- wrote: Guumgombooroo.

Drugmoogooooo... urgumbunduguloo hoobloo shoom.

Dru? You shommblooggoo dungulugoo hoobroo?

Shroomp.

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Re: What's the hardest language to learn/master?

Post by -1- » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:10 pm

duszek wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:14 pm
There is nothing wrong with an accent or with a dialect.

As a non-native speaker I feel entitled to my own personal accent that I work on all the time.
An important criterium of my personal accent happens to be that I pronounce clearly and slowly, not worrying that some people may regard me as a simpleton.

I degustate every word like a cherry one of a kind, and put them on a string, and enounce them one by one.

You don´t like my Frenchism degustate ?
But you can understand or guess the meaning of it, especially if I pronounce with a savoring tone of voice. :wink:
Duszek, I invite you to join me and form a special subculture of a secret club on this website. We'll call ourselves "the Immigrati". Others will call us "the assholes".

This will be harder to rationalize than unifying the field theory.

Skip
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Re: What's the hardest language to learn/master?

Post by Skip » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:16 pm

duszek wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:14 pm
There is nothing wrong with an accent or with a dialect.

As a non-native speaker I feel entitled to my own personal accent that I work on all the time.
An important criterium of my personal accent happens to be that I pronounce clearly and slowly, not worrying that some people may regard me as a simpleton.
On behalf of all the elderly and hearing-impaired and non-native English speakers, I thank you!
We find it increasingly frustrating to watch television, because the young actors mumble, very fast, alongside an overpowering soundtrack. Even the news announcers chirrup and lisp. I suppose they don't have elocution lessons anymore. For relief, I look for old BBC productions on You Tube.

I used to tell my foreign students that, if you're not sure which consonants to pronounce, say them all. That gives the listener a wider choice of guesses. But some Canadians and Americans - rural people, mainly - have difficulty understanding anything that diverges even the slightest bit from what they're accustomed to hearing.

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Re: What's the hardest language to learn/master?

Post by -1- » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:27 pm

Skip wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:32 pm
duszek wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:47 am
Is there any advantage in speaking a difficult language as one´s native language ?
Can it be assumed that the mind is exercised better from early on as compared to the mind of speakers of relatively simple languages ?

Does a tough language lead to a tough and efficient mind ?
I don't think so. Native Mandarin speakers range from stupid to brilliant, just like native Italian or Navajo speakers.
Indeed, I'm not at all sure that any language is easier or harder than any other to learn in infancy or childhood. They become relatively difficult only to adults learning a new language.
while I wholeheartedly agree with you, Skip, I also have a reservation that certain aspects of the language help certain aspects of brain functions.

My starting point is that smartness and dumbness are more-or-less equally spread across any nation. That is, the average RAW score on IQ tests is the same, and the spread is the same too. (Spread I mean standard deviation.)

I can't prove the following, but my intuition tells me that Hungarian and Finnish math success in educative scenarii is not purely coincidental or an outstanding pedagogual or pedagoguish achievement; it is, instead, a sign that languages like ours lend themselves to certain styles of thinking more than other languages. In Hungarian word order is important, but very, very flexible; and expressions can be formed by totally mixing and interchanging verbs with nouns, adjectives and adverbs more than in other languages such as English or German. In fact, English and German have strict and unbending rules that determine word order.

This rigidity, or lack of it in Hungarian, may, I say may, not does, contribute to the mind's ease to pick up symbolic forms of math, such as algebraic expressions, and the translations of word problems to algebraic expressions.

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Re: What's the hardest language to learn/master?

Post by -1- » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:29 pm

Skip wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:16 pm
duszek wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:14 pm
There is nothing wrong with an accent or with a dialect.

As a non-native speaker I feel entitled to my own personal accent that I work on all the time.
An important criterium of my personal accent happens to be that I pronounce clearly and slowly, not worrying that some people may regard me as a simpleton.
On behalf of all the elderly and hearing-impaired and non-native English speakers, I thank you!
We find it increasingly frustrating to watch television, because the young actors mumble, very fast, alongside an overpowering soundtrack. Even the news announcers chirrup and lisp. I suppose they don't have elocution lessons anymore. For relief, I look for old BBC productions on You Tube.

I used to tell my foreign students that, if you're not sure which consonants to pronounce, say them all. That gives the listener a wider choice of guesses. But some Canadians and Americans - rural people, mainly - have difficulty understanding anything that diverges even the slightest bit from what they're accustomed to hearing.
I am aging, too, and when I have a problem watching and listening to whispery dialogue with booming background music, I turn on the subtitle feature. I can watch movies now!

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Re: What's the hardest language to learn/master?

Post by -1- » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:33 pm

Skip wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:16 pm
I used to tell my foreign students, that if you're not sure which consonants to pronounce, say them all.
I bcdghjklmnpqrstvwxyzon't gebcdghjklmnpqrstvwxyz this. Bcdghjklmnpqrstvwxyzat are you supbcdghjklmnpqrstvwxyzosed to pronunce for Y?

Skip
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Re: What's the hardest language to learn/master?

Post by Skip » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:03 pm

-1- wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:27 pm
I can't prove the following, but my intuition tells me that Hungarian and Finnish math success in educative scenarii is not purely coincidental or an outstanding pedagogual or pedagoguish achievement; it is, instead, a sign that languages like ours lend themselves to certain styles of thinking more than other languages.
Or maybe math is cheaper to teach than physics or chemistry, so it's more accessible, so more kids in poor countries can achieve success in that discipline. There is also a cultural influence to encourage some kinds of accomplishment rather than others.

Myself, I am a total mathophobe and can't sing or dance to save my life.

Of course, such things as national accomplishments change over time, as well, even though the language remains the same. Like, they haven't been able to qualify for FIFA in donkey's years. And I'm pretty sure the kids' legs didn't grow any shorter.

Skip
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Re: What's the hardest language to learn/master?

Post by Skip » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:34 pm

-1- wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:33 pm
I bcdghjklmnpqrstvwxyzon't gebcdghjklmnpqrstvwxyz this. Bcdghjklmnpqrstvwxyzat are you supbcdghjklmnpqrstvwxyzosed to pronunce for Y?
Just the ones that actually appear in the word will suffice.
Last edited by Skip on Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Skip
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Re: What's the hardest language to learn/master?

Post by Skip » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:35 pm

-1- wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:33 pm
I bcdghjklmnpqrstvwxyzon't gebcdghjklmnpqrstvwxyz this. Bcdghjklmnpqrstvwxyzat are you supbcdghjklmnpqrstvwxyzosed to pronunce for Y?
iey

Skip
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Re: What's the hardest language to learn/master?

Post by Skip » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:36 pm

flub

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