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What's the easiest language for you? - Page 3 - UniLang

What's the easiest language for you?

This is our main forum. Here, anything related to languages and linguistics can be discussed.

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mōdgethanc
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Re: What's the easiest language for you?

Postby mōdgethanc » 2014-12-06, 18:38

Lauren wrote:Frisian is closer than Dutch, and Scots closer than Frisian. ;P
I know that. But he was talking about languages he's learned; I was asking because I vaguely recalled he mentioned Dutch before.

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Re: What's the easiest language for you?

Postby Reinder » 2014-12-06, 18:51

mōdgethanc wrote:Wouldn't Dutch be closer?
I was thinking exactly the same. I would definitely say Dutch is closer.
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Re: What's the easiest language for you?

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-12-06, 20:53

He did say almost anything else he's learned. ;) :lol:

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Re: What's the easiest language for you?

Postby Reinder » 2014-12-06, 22:16

vijayjohn wrote:He did say almost anything else he's learned. ;) :lol:
You're right, I didn't read well. It's probably the little exposure to Dutch that makes Dutch harder than German.
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Re: What's the easiest language for you?

Postby Prowler » 2014-12-06, 22:37

I thought there wasn't really a consensus on which language was closer to English: Dutch or German. Aren't Frisian and Scots even closer, though?
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Re: What's the easiest language for you?

Postby Lauren » 2014-12-06, 22:44

mōdgethanc wrote:
Lauren wrote:Frisian is closer than Dutch, and Scots closer than Frisian. ;P
I know that. But he was talking about languages he's learned; I was asking because I vaguely recalled he mentioned Dutch before.

Well, sorry, I did not vaguely remember that. :P

Prowler wrote:I thought there wasn't really a consensus on which language was closer to English: Dutch or German. Aren't Frisian and Scots even closer, though?

Yep, that's what I said in my last post.

Basque is the easiest language for me. It's the one I've studied the most. :)
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Re: What's the easiest language for you?

Postby TeneReef » 2014-12-07, 9:03

Dr. House wrote: Many European languages such as French, Dutch or even English are more difficult to pronounce than Japanese.

Only if you sound flat by neglecting the complex pitch accent of Japanese.
I find Japanese pitch accent and intonation much more difficult to master than Mandarin tones and intonation. Maybe because Mandarin tones and intonation are given more study time in language courses than Japanese pitch/intonation which are neglected...
It's easier for a Westerner/European to learn how to speak perfect Mandarin than to learn how to speak perfect Japanese.

In real life, Japanese sounds faster and less clear than Mandarin:
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Re: What's the easiest language for you?

Postby Prowler » 2014-12-07, 9:43

I've been told that "anime japanese" can be quite different at times form the real deal. Apparently a big difference is how male characters in anime tend to use "ore" for "I" while in real life most males mostly stick to "boku" or "watashi". This was told to me by someone who spent some time in Japan a few years ago.
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Re: What's the easiest language for you?

Postby ElectornicFox » 2014-12-07, 14:56

For me the answer is: norwegian, swedish,... scandinavian languages. My native language is Dutch and I can speak german fairly well, so when I first picked up norwegian a couple of years ago I could understand a lot without studying it (reading comprehension). Listening was harder but I got used to it very quickly (except for danish :para: )

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Re: What's the easiest language for you?

Postby Mutusen » 2014-12-07, 16:59

Esperanto, hands down. Unlike every other language I studied, I never thought "that's too difficult" or "I'll never speak it".

I didn't find Spanish very difficult when I studied it at school. The most complicated things for me were rr (but I can pronounce it now) and ser/estar.
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Re: What's the easiest language for you?

Postby Dr. House » 2014-12-07, 18:29

Tenereef: Unlike many laymen, I am aware of the pitch accent. Plus I try do my best at any given language. The right stress is just as important in Russian or Swedish. It's just that if you mispronounce a word that's this long: госпитализированы , it won't be such a big deal, unlike in Chinese' one or two syllable words. Hey, I never said that tones were that difficult. Every language is tonal, but sign language. The melody of Italian can be also depicted with tones applied. It's just as I pointed out above. If you'll go with the penultimate syllable stress (85% of Italian words) in words like albergo or divolgono, you'll still be understood, unlike in say Thai.

I don't really get it. If I've created some false realities about Japanese pronunciation, it's my problem and I'm only about to find out when I study it more deeply. No need for you guys to get all defensive as if we're touching your sacred super-hard languages, you've spent so much time on...

I'm not Benny the Oversimplifier, but I don't think I'm wrong if I say that Cantonese or Vietnamese are harder than Norwegian when it comes to tonality.
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Re: What's the easiest language for you?

Postby Hoogstwaarschijnlijk » 2014-12-07, 18:37

Flemish :wink:

But as that's not an official language, I think I should say English because that's the language I know best and have had the most exposure to. But at first German was easier to me, because it's so similar to Dutch. But then I discovered what cases are...
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Re: What's the easiest language for you?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-12-07, 22:59

mōdgethanc wrote:
linguoboy wrote:German. I've had the most exposure to it and it's more closely related to my native language than almost anything else I've studied.
Wouldn't Dutch be closer?

I haven't had nearly as much exposure to Dutch. I lived for a year in Germany; I've spent less than a week in the Netherlands (where, with only one or two exceptions, I spoke either German or English). I've read a single novel in Dutch; I've read dozens in German. I can't remember the last time I saw a movie in Dutch, but I watch a couple in German every year. My husband speaks German, as does my ex (who taught it for more than forty years), and two of my coworkers; I don't think I currently know any Dutch speakers IRL. I couldn't name a pop or rock band that sings in Dutch, but I can sing songs by Element of Crime, EAV, SDP, Kiz, Rammstein, and other bands from memory.

It's possible I would find Dutch easier if I'd come to it first. But that ship sailed ages ago.
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Re: What's the easiest language for you?

Postby Dr. House » 2014-12-08, 15:19

It was so cool to hear Flemish when I stayed one night in Antwerp. I couldn't understand much of it, but it was awesome. My mom's ex is Belgian and he took us to France twice. He's a native speaker of Flemish, but his German and French were also quite good. However, when he ordered something a French café, the guy didn't understand much and thought we were from England or so. He even started to sing "Dancing in the Rain" when he served us our coffee/wine.

Hogwarts: I have been tempted by Dutch and thought it would help me a lot with my German later on, but it sounds like the cases and genders (3 instead of just 2 in Dutch or Swedish) are nothing easy even for a speaker of such a close language. :)
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Re: What's the easiest language for you?

Postby Meera » 2014-12-08, 19:02

Hindi so far has been the easiest for me. To be honest though I think it is because I like it a lot and I don't mind studying it so it doesn't feel like a chore. For example Persian is probably easier than Hindi but I just never have fun studying it. I haven't gotten into it much but Swedish has been surprisingly very easy so far.
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Re: What's the easiest language for you?

Postby mōdgethanc » 2014-12-09, 6:22

Prowler wrote:I thought there wasn't really a consensus on which language was closer to English: Dutch or German.
Well, genetically, I don't think either is closer. Dutch is closer grammatically, although not phonologically. A better question would be if Dutch is closer to English or to German. I'm inclined to say German, but I still think it's closer to English than German is.
Aren't Frisian and Scots even closer, though?
Yes. Frisian is closer to English than Dutch is, and Scots is the closest.

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Re: What's the easiest language for you?

Postby Dr. House » 2014-12-09, 7:55

I don't know if you can say that a certain language is the closest. There are too many factors involved. The closest language to Czech is Slovak, because you can understand it right away, even though some parts are more distant than say Polish. Slovak doesn't have the vocative case, just like Russian. After Slovak, I'd say I'd go for Sorbian, but I haven't had much exposure to it. If somebody thinks that Czech is heavily Germanized, then I'd counter that Sorbian is even more so. Czech word for mirror is zrcadlo, while Sorbians use špihel (der Spiegel). After that I'd say Polish is really close, but in terms of phonology Serbo-Croatian wins over.

 (cs) -  (sk) -  (dsb),  (hsb) -  (pl) -  (hr)

So is Ukrainian closer to Czech than Russian? I can't say. Some stuff is closer, some is more distant.

e.g parents  (cs) rodiče  (ru) родители  (uk) батьки
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Re: What's the easiest language for you?

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-12-09, 8:13

mōdgethanc wrote:
Prowler wrote:I thought there wasn't really a consensus on which language was closer to English: Dutch or German.
Well, genetically, I don't think either is closer. Dutch is closer grammatically, although not phonologically. A better question would be if Dutch is closer to English or to German. I'm inclined to say German, but I still think it's closer to English than German is.

You know until I looked it up just now, I honestly would never have guessed that Low German and Dutch came from different branches of West Germanic. :shock:
Dr. House wrote:I don't know if you can say that a certain language is the closest.

You mean in general, whether one language is most closely genetically related to another? Sure you can.
If somebody thinks that Czech is heavily Germanized, then I'd counter that Sorbian is even more so.

Um, duh. It's spoken in Germany and is being displaced by German.

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Re: What's the easiest language for you?

Postby voron » 2014-12-09, 8:39

Dr. House wrote: (cs) -  (sk) -  (dsb),  (hsb) -  (pl) -  (hr)


From the viewpoint of a native Russian speaker:
 (ru) -  (be) -  (uk) -  (bg) -  (sr) -  (sk) -  (cs) -  (pl) -  (sl)

This does not reflect my own comprehension, it's rather based on the accounts of Russians whom I met either personally or on the internet, and their testimonies about their abilities to understand the respective languages (in their spoken form) without prior studying.

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Re: What's the easiest language for you?

Postby linguoboy » 2014-12-09, 14:06

mōdgethanc wrote:Dutch is closer grammatically, although not phonologically. A better question would be if Dutch is closer to English or to German. I'm inclined to say German, but I still think it's closer to English than German is.

A data point for you: When I lived in Germany, I knew a native Dutch-speaker who was studying at the Max Planck institute. Over the spring break I spent several days with him and his family back in Zundert. Like most Netherlanders, he'd studied both English and German for comparable lengths of time, but he told me once that speaking German was almost as easy for him as speaking Dutch, whereas English required some real effort. (We always spoke German with each other except for one conversation when I was worn out from the effort of constantly speaking German and needed a break.) He was very competent in English, but spoke somewhat haltingly.
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