General Question

klaas4's avatar

Do English-speaking Dutch people use shorter words in sentences?

Asked by klaas4 (2186points) March 1st, 2008

I sometimes just have this feeling.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

5 Answers

Vincentt's avatar

In Dutch or in English?
I think this might be true for all non-native speakers, as shorter words are easier to remember and thus more likely to be part of one’s vocabulary. Though I’d like to think otherwise, my vocabulary is nowhere near as expansive as that of a native speaker, so I’m more likely to use easier words and less variation.

lifeflame's avatar

@vincentt… not true… it depends on the root of the language—and therefore what is easier to transfer.

For example in Polish it’s easier to produce long academic sounding English.
That’s because their language has two basic roots – Slavic and Latin. Everyday words like “girl” (dziewczyna) or “red (czerwony) or follow the Slavic root, while academic words like “philosophy” (filozofia) and “chaos theory” (Teoria chaosu) follow the Latin.

So when I was in Poland it would be easier for me to have a philosophical discussion with someone than to chat about the weather!

But funky language pairs aside, vincett, you are probably right that for most langauges, people start simple with words they can remember. Which is many cases tend to be the shorter words.

@klaas – Unfortunately I have no insight on Dutch people speaking English…

gailcalled's avatar

However, when Vincentt and Klaas4 write to us in English (see above) their use of the language is almost flawless, including clarity, hyphenated words, correct spelling, grammar, usage and accuracy. I am always dumbstruck at their use of our language, and their classy Qs & As. Enviable and—<cough>—worthy of imitation.

DeezerQueue's avatar

It depends upon the person. My command of the Dutch language didn’t accelerate until I enrolled in higher education. Motivation is the deciding factor. There is no single or simple answer and, unlike gailcalled, I don’t find it to be such a provocative question.

Vincentt's avatar

@lifeflame – does English have slavic influences? Wow, I didn’t know that.
OTOH, Dutch is a germanic language, yet I suck at German. Then again, most Dutch people have no problem with German. I think it’s what DeezerQueue said – it’s about motivation: I find German an ugly language and we’ve never had good teachers for German at school, so…

@gailcalled – but then you’re overlooking the fact that I’m avoiding advanced vocabulary. Besides, when reading this you cannot see that I had to think about the word “advanced” before I found it. When speaking, my English sucks :)

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