Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16

Thread: Annoyances in the English Language

  1. Top | #1
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Lebanon, OR
    Posts
    5,581
    Archived
    16,829
    Total Posts
    22,410
    Rep Power
    76

    Annoyances in the English Language

    English is currently the biggest international language, and not surprisingly, the most-studied second language.

    The most annoying things about the English language - Business Insider
    1. English speakers say 'an hour and a half,' but not 'two hours and a half'
    2. Prepositions can prove difficult, like how we get 'on' a bus, but 'in' a car
    3. The level of formality can be unclear
    4. Then you have phrasal verbs, which can be 'mind-bending'
    5. 'Up' and 'down' can be combined with countless verbs, as one commenter illustrated beautifully
    6. And some words sound nothing like they're spelled
    7. Some English learners are thrown by regional accents and pronunciation
    8. Sometimes, English speakers from different countries don't even know how other dialects work
    9. English makes use out of words with very similar meanings, like skinny, thin, and slim
    10. In English, it's easy to turn nouns into verbs, like 'blanket' and 'book'
    11. And English's elaborate tense system can trip people up, too
    12. English has more vowel sounds than many other languages
    13. And some words are just plain hard to pronounce


    Phrasal verbs are verb-preposition combinations, and are related to other West Germanic Separable verbs, notably in Dutch and German.

    I've found Wikibooks:Language Learning Difficulty for English Speakers - Wikibooks, open books for an open world -- how does English rate in difficulty for speakers of other languages? I've yet to find any list like this one for speakers of any other language.

  2. Top | #2
    Contributor repoman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    6,251
    Archived
    2,280
    Total Posts
    8,531
    Rep Power
    72
    What would a highly stripped down (haha) version of English be like?

  3. Top | #3
    Member Tharmas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    446
    Archived
    184
    Total Posts
    630
    Rep Power
    67
    Quote Originally Posted by repoman View Post
    What would a highly stripped down (haha) version of English be like?
    Like the semi pidgin my Thai barber speaks. She tends to use only one tense - the present - and sometimes drops the verb "to be," as in: "Yesterday I shop, and tomorrow I shop again, but today I working all day." However it's not difficult to carry on conversations with her. She understands standard English perfectly well.

    In her defense, English is her third (or fourth) language.
    Last edited by Tharmas; 04-21-2019 at 08:32 PM. Reason: Added thought

  4. Top | #4
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    seattle
    Posts
    4,592
    Rep Power
    11
    I am around Spanish speakers and went through Spanish language CDs.

    Native Spanish speakers have trouble with syntax and tense. They end up substuting English words for Spanish woerds using Spamish syntax.

    Then there is the masculine ferminie categorization of words.

    All languages have problems for non native speakers.

    I took Chinese in college. I'd say what sets English apart and makes it difficult to learn for non natives is the way things are explicitly grammaticaly expressed. Spanish as spoken is loose on form and sentence structure. Pronouns are optional.

    How are you? becomes how are? Como esta usted becomes como esta or just como in passing. In Chinese ni hau ma becomes ni hau? You good?

    That is why native English speakers can sound like they are speaking bad English.

  5. Top | #5
    Veteran Member James Brown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    2,741
    Archived
    5,844
    Total Posts
    8,585
    Rep Power
    54
    Some words change emphasis depending on their suffix.

    POL-itics

    Po-LIT-ical

    Poli-TIC-ian

  6. Top | #6
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Nevada
    Posts
    23,839
    Archived
    96,752
    Total Posts
    120,591
    Rep Power
    94
    Multiple words when one would do.

    Why is it altitude when you're dealing with the air but almost always elevation when you're dealing with the terrain? (We may use altitude when referring the air on the terrain, but not the terrain itself.)

  7. Top | #7
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    The Sunshine State: The one with Crocs, not Gators
    Posts
    21,141
    Archived
    10,477
    Total Posts
    31,618
    Rep Power
    81
    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Multiple words when one would do.

    Why is it altitude when you're dealing with the air but almost always elevation when you're dealing with the terrain? (We may use altitude when referring the air on the terrain, but not the terrain itself.)
    Altitude is above a defined datum (usually sea level); Elevation is above the local terrain minimum; Height is above the terrain directly below the point of measurement.

    In the aviation industry, it is vitally important to understand the difference between barometric pressure due to altitude (QNH) above the standard sea-level datum, and due to height (QFE) above a specified location on the ground, such as an airfield. When cruising, you want all aircraft to agree on an altitude, regardless of the location of their origin or destination airfields, but when landing, the pilot is interested in how far above the runway he is, not how far above some arbitrary datum with no relevance to the local terrain.

    English is full of situations where two (or more) synonymous words have allowed nuance to be established without a neologism - For example, the existence of the Saxon words [which became] 'sow', and 'cow' allowed the use of the French words [which became] 'pork' and 'beef' to refer specifically to the meat of the animal concerned, and the original word to refer only to the whole living animal - a useful distinction, but not one that is easy to make in languages that do not derive from the blending of several precursor languages. (This example also neatly demonstrates the relative social standing of the Saxon and French speakers in late medieval England - the Saxons raised the livestock, and the Normans ate it).

    The great strength of English is that where a single concept needs to be split into smaller parts to convey nuance, there is often a pair or even trio of synonyms available, so over time, each can come to mean a different (but similar) thing. This enables English to convey complex technical detail without excessive verbosity. (Although we do not always take advantage of that fact).

  8. Top | #8
    Elder Contributor
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Located 100 miles east of A in America
    Posts
    22,829
    Archived
    42,473
    Total Posts
    65,302
    Rep Power
    97
    Words that are spelled the same and pronounced differently (bass v bass), words that are spelled the same and have different meanings (lie v lie), letters that are words (they are fucking letters!), words spelled differently but pronounced the same (to v too v two).

    This is why I'd like to smack any teacher in the face when they ask a child to "sound out" a word. Yes, please... sound out the word 'hour'.

    Language... it is what happens when you let liberal art majors create something important.

  9. Top | #9
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Nevada
    Posts
    23,839
    Archived
    96,752
    Total Posts
    120,591
    Rep Power
    94
    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Multiple words when one would do.

    Why is it altitude when you're dealing with the air but almost always elevation when you're dealing with the terrain? (We may use altitude when referring the air on the terrain, but not the terrain itself.)
    Altitude is above a defined datum (usually sea level); Elevation is above the local terrain minimum; Height is above the terrain directly below the point of measurement.
    In the rare situation where it is used in reference to a local minimum I do agree it's a different word.

    However, the most common usage I see for "elevation" is in reference to the height above sea level which is exactly the same thing that "altitude" is normally used to describe.

  10. Top | #10
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    The Sunshine State: The one with Crocs, not Gators
    Posts
    21,141
    Archived
    10,477
    Total Posts
    31,618
    Rep Power
    81
    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Multiple words when one would do.

    Why is it altitude when you're dealing with the air but almost always elevation when you're dealing with the terrain? (We may use altitude when referring the air on the terrain, but not the terrain itself.)
    Altitude is above a defined datum (usually sea level); Elevation is above the local terrain minimum; Height is above the terrain directly below the point of measurement.
    In the rare situation where it is used in reference to a local minimum I do agree it's a different word.

    However, the most common usage I see for "elevation" is in reference to the height above sea level which is exactly the same thing that "altitude" is normally used to describe.
    Yes, it's possible for the constant datum of altitude to coincide with the local datum for elevation.

    Yes, it's common for this to occcur.

    Yes, this leads to casual speakers confusing the two or believing that they are mere synonyms.

    No, they are not synonymous, and there's a good reason to have two different words.

    In summary - You are wrong. The intelligent thing to do at this point would be to acknowledge your error and move on. The wise thing would be to move on, with or without acknowledging your error. The Internet thing would be to insist that you are right, regardless of the facts.

    I am not a psychic, but I know which one I would bet on if I were forced to choose.

Similar Threads

  1. The Spanish-American War on language (& other non-English languages)
    By Copernicus in forum Political Discussions
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-23-2018, 02:54 AM
  2. English reporter interview with Richard Spencer
    By marc in forum Political Discussions
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 01-02-2018, 09:23 PM
  3. NYC cabbies no longer required to speak English
    By Derec in forum Political Discussions
    Replies: 29
    Last Post: 08-31-2016, 04:07 PM
  4. Half of English No Longer Christian
    By Cheerful Charlie in forum General Religion
    Replies: 133
    Last Post: 07-15-2016, 05:13 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •