Social Question

dumitus's avatar

What is your opinion about English?

Asked by dumitus (657points) August 7th, 2012

First of all, my mother tongue is Korean.
I think Korean language is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind language and at the same
time very complicated.

What is, by the way, your own personal opinion about your
mother tongue, English? (If yours isn’t English, please remark
on your mother tongue)

Do you think it is a unique, charming language
or just a mishmash of borrowed words and expressions,
a kind of lump made of linguistically evolutionary
accidents, a monster that has grown too heavy.

Personally, the best thing about English is the way it sounds.
I think English sounds really cool.

If you had to pin down one thing that’s really cool and wonderful
about English, what would it be?
or if you hate it, why is that?

If you want to brag about your mother tongue other than English,
please take advantage of this opportunity.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

26 Answers

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

To a non-native speaker (which I am not), I think the English language is highly confusing.
We don’t have accents to differentiate between the different sounds letters make, and we really need stress marks of some kind because things would get very jumbled. Ex. resent and resent. One means that you sent something again in past tense, while one means that you feel bitterness toward something.
We have many homonyms, and our spelling patterns do not make these easier. Ex. tough, though, thought, bough, dough, rough.

I personally don’t think it sounds very nice. It doesn’t seem to flow the way French flows or how Portuguese flows.

There is this book I want to read about how the English language developed called The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson.

Shippy's avatar

I wish I knew how English sounded, to me it all just makes sense, so I don’t have that outsider observation of how it sounds, like French for example. I don’t understand French so I can hear how it sounds. One language that sounds bloody awful is Afrikaans, and many agree. Then there are songs in Afrikaans, gosh really no, no… no!

marinelife's avatar

I like English. It lets me express myself fully.

dumitus's avatar

-Once the trouble’s gone, the difficulties you mentioned become fun to master. : – )
– English sounds… cool!! At least to me.

tups's avatar

My mother tongue is Danish and I’ve heard it sounds pretty ugly, but it’s hard for me to know. I’ve also heard it’s hard to learn. Well, only about 5 million people speaks it, so it’s pretty special I would say.
I like English, never had any trouble learning it. It came to me naturally. I like to express myself both in Danish and in English, but I hope that English will not outdate Danish or any other language.

Sunny2's avatar

English is a difficult language for a lot of people, including Americans. Grammar mistakes abound. Spelling is so unruly. In another country, say in a biergarten in Gremany, when you hear many voices, you can recognize some languages by cadence; others, by prominent vowel sounds or sound patterns. English sounds to me like many s sounds. Not a beautiful sound.

LuckyGuy's avatar

There are too (two , to) many exceptions to the rule. Words are pronounced and spelled differently. Ridiculous.
I like Korean Hangul. It is crystal clear and is much more flexible than English. Learn it once and you can spell anything.

Do they even have spelling bee contests in Korea?

DominicX's avatar

The main thing I don’t like about English is the inconsistent spelling/pronunciation. I know why it occurs, vowel shifts and what not, but that doesn’t make me like it any more. Still, a “spelling reform” would be a horrible ridiculous solution, so the inconsistent spelling/pronunciation is the best we’ve got. I don’t know of any other languages where two words can be spelled the same and pronounced differently as in “read” and “read” and “bow” and “bow”.

Personally, I prefer the sound of Shakespearean English as well as the sound of Middle English. Modern English’s sound is meh. Too many unstressed vowels, almost no pure vowels, they’re all diphthongs, and too many odd consonant clusters as in words like “strengths”, “squish”, etc.

Kardamom's avatar

English, when spoken by Americans sounds pretty blah, but when spoken by the Brits, especially Alan Rickman and Patrick Stewart, it sounds like sweet ear candy : )

Listen to Alan and Patrick

Rarebear's avatar

It’s a fascinating language. It’s a mish-mash of Anglo-Saxon Germanic, French, Scandanavian, and a smattering of other stuff. This allows for the language to be extremely rich and varied, with multiple words to describe the same thing.

morphail's avatar

@Aesthetic_Mess I don’t recommend Bryson. Read David Crystal’s The History of English instead.

augustlan's avatar

I love English, despite its contrary nature (maybe even because of it.) It’s a tricky little language!

To my ear it American English doesn’t sound particularly nice, though, just ordinary. Maybe I’m too close to it to hear the beauty, I don’t know. I love the way the romance languages sound.

JLeslie's avatar

English has so many exceptions andnwords that sound the same, but mean different things, even spelled the same and mean many different things. Two, too, to; pear, pair; heal, heel; and on and on. Fine means penalty or everything is ok. I mean really the language has a limited amount of words from what I can tell. I don’t know how many words English has compared to other languages? Also what @DominicX pointed out about pronounciation…read is red or reed. And, wmore weirdness like ough, think through and tough, WTF?!

English is also interesting in that we adopt words from many languages, sometimes maintaining the pronounciation of the orignal language, sometimes changingnit to an English pronounciation, I think it is usually the former.

Our verbs are simpler than a lot of languages I think. In present tense we just add an s or not. I want, he wants, they want. In the other language I speak, Spanish, the verb is conjugated 5 different ways depending n who you are talking about. There is actually a 6th conjugation, second person plural, but it is almost never used. So, if you conjugate the verb to mean someone else, but say I, the person listening can’t really be sure who you are talking about, but if you say in English I wants, we just figure you conjugated the verb wrong, but you are talking about you. Or, I. You know what I mean. :)

dumitus's avatar

As far as I know, no we don’t.
Every sound can be spelled the moment you hear it using Hangul without fail.

dumitus's avatar

probably yeah~ likewise I can only guess how Korean would sound to foreign ears.

dumitus's avatar

oh really? I was expecting to buy Bryson’s book!

morphail's avatar

@dumitus Hangeul is not completely predictable, is it? For instance, wouldn’t 갑니다 and 감니다 be pronounced the same: gamnita? And 밖, 박 and 밬 would all be pronounced the same.

dumitus's avatar

uhuh definitely. So old people tend to be inaccurate in spelling from time to time, but the difficulties are much less severe than English.

dumitus's avatar

How can you type Korean by the way, it’s quite amazing! heehe

morphail's avatar

@dumitus so am I right in what I said about Hangeul? I agree its not as bad as English, but I wouldn’t say that you can correctly spell every word you hear without fail, especially if it’s a word you’ve never encountered before.

dumitus's avatar

Of course not, because there are words that can be spelled in several different ways,
like 밖 밬 박 밗.
But most words are not like that, for example, 합 사 랑 터 려 and so on so forth.
This happens not because the Korean alphabet system is inaccurate or inconsistent but because we don’t know how to spell it if we hear a certain word for the first time. But then again, the rate of mistake is extremely rare.
Even with 박 밖 밬 밗, no korean word is spelled in the form of 밬,
and in most cases ㄲ ㄳ are not used, so none of us would use the two
to spell the word that sounds like 박.

dumitus's avatar

most of the time, there is only way to spell a word.

morphail's avatar

“This happens not because the Korean alphabet system is inaccurate or inconsistent but because we don’t know how to spell it if we hear a certain word for the first time.”

But that’s an issue with the spelling system. It means the spelling system is not completely predictable. It’s because Korean spelling represents the phonology, and there is a lot of allophonic variation, so for instance ㅄ, ㄼ, ㄿ are all pronounced the same at the end of a word. So I, a Korean learner, have no idea which one to use when I hear a word for the first time. Obviously it’s easier for a Korean speaking who is already familiar with all the spelling patterns.

I’m not saying this is a bad thing; all spelling systems have to compromise between phonology and allophony, and I think Hangeul does a good job.

dumitus's avatar

Hm, good job!
I may’ve overlooked that part, as a Korean already familiar with this tricky language.
I hope you succeed in your studies!
With good Korean skills it will go a long way towards having Korean girl friends and
enjoying Korean movies. (Korean soap operas are not recommended, they are so typical)

mattbrowne's avatar

Wonderful language. Love it.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther