English language

janosabel

The Force is Strong With This One
parallel said:
janosabel said:
Forge asks, in his/her signature, "How to reconcile the irreconcilable"?
My suggestion, as a born (but untutored) philosopher, is go Meta---the superordinate level of meaning where contradictions dissolve.

Example: Evolution versus Creationism. No problem: Evolution is God's way of creating.
The trouble with this form of thinking is that it's not really considering the premise being a false dichotomy, ...
...Though I'm not sure what you mean by 'go Meta', but the control system is betting that we somehow seek out the golden middle ground between two extremes. Whether one extreme is lying and the other is not or both are lying and wrong, making an average of that will result in a wrong either way.
This sounds like a trained philosopher. Very interesting. Of course we may challenge the validity of the premise---is evolution true, is there a God?---but I think this way lies the intellectual illness, paralysis of analysis.

"Meta" as in mathematics a la Godel's theorem. Or. in layman's terms and reversed, islands look separate things but they are one on the seabed.

I also agree that these difficulties of reading "reality" is well exploited by the "control system" (if I guess your meaning right).
 

Wyatt Shipley

The Force is Strong With This One
Laura said:
Gendered Grammar Linked to Global Sexism
_http://www.livescience.com/18574-gendered-grammar-sex-inequality.html
Stephanie Pappas
Live Science
Tue, 21 Feb 2012 14:03 CST

Mandarin Chinese, as spoken, is a genderless language, meaning the pronoun for both “he” and “she” sounds the same. English is a natural gender language, meaning there are special pronouns for each gender, but nouns are gender-free.

Languages in which nouns are given male or female status are linked to gender inequality, according to a new study that compares languages and equality across the globe.

Surprisingly, though, languages with no gender at all – where even “he” and “she” are represented by the same word – are associated with the most gender inequality, perhaps because people automatically categorize gender-neutral references as male.

“These are aspects of language that seem very mundane and seem like they wouldn’t make a difference,” said study researcher Jennifer Prewitt-Freilino, a psychologist at the Rhode Island School of Design. “But more and more research that is starting to come out looking at grammatical gender and language suggests that it has more of an impact than you would think.”

Language and attitudes

In other words, our thoughts don’t just shape our language. Our language may also shape our thoughts. For example, one 2009 study asked high-school students to read a passage in English, Spanish or French. English is a “natural gender” language, meaning that speakers use gender-specific pronouns, but nouns do not have gender. Spanish and French are “gendered” languages, in which nouns are assigned as masculine and feminine. In Spanish, for example “la fruita” (the fruit) is feminine, but “el dia” (daytime) is masculine.

Compared with the students who read the passages in English, those who read in gendered languages responded with higher levels of sexism to a questionnaire they took after the study.

Prewitt-Freilino and her colleagues wanted to take a broader look. Using the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, which measures inequality between men and women in economics, education, politics and health, they compared nations’ inequality to the type of language most frequently spoken there. Of the 134 countries included in the index, 54.5 percent spoke predominately gendered languages, 9 percent spoke natural gender languages and 19.4 percent spoke genderless languages. Genderless languages include Finnish, which uses the same pronoun for males and females. The remaining countries spoke some mixture of gendered, natural gender and genderless languages.

The researchers controlled for geographical location, religion, political system and relative development in an attempt to account for other factors influencing gender inequality.

Gender and equality

On average, countries where gendered languages are spoken ranked lowest on the scale of gender equality, researchers reported in the journal Sex Roles. But surprisingly, genderless languages didn’t fare as well as natural gender languages such as English (though they did fare better than gendered languages).

Gender-neutral pronouns likely conjure male images, Prewitt-Freilino said. Previous research has suggested that when people are cued with the gender-neutral “they,” they think of male characters far more frequently than when cued with “he or she.”

“Being able to use gendered pronouns, things like ‘he’ or ‘she,’ and being able to modify the language could actually have a function,” Prewitt-Freilino said. That result suggests that efforts to invent gender-neutral pronouns in English could backfire.

There is not a one-to-one correlation between language and equality. Iran, for example, is a predominately Persian-speaking country, and Persian is a genderless language.

“There’s a lot of variability between the countries, which is also what makes it pretty surprising that we still found this difference,” Prewitt-Freilino said.

There are limitations to the study, including the fact that the results don’t indicate that language differences necessarily cause the inequality. There are also relatively few natural gender languages, Prewitt-Freilino said, making them harder to compare.

Yemen scored lowest on gender equality scale, followed by Chad and Pakistan. Citizens of all three predominately speak gendered languages. Finland, which boasts a genderless language, and Iceland, which boasts a natural gender language, tied for most gender-equal country, with Norway, another natural gender language country, coming in third.
Wyatt here: Yes, I love English for various reasons and I taught English for many years. I also had to learn the Thai Language, speaking more that writing because writing involves a lot of memorization. Yes, Thai has gender specific nouns, but I believe that is more for clarity than a kind of inequality. English was codified when printing books became economically feasible, that is spelling, punctuation and page lay-out. The Thai language, which is a derivative of Chinese, became codified about 80-90 years ago.

It is interesting to compare the use of genders between both English and Thai. As far as Thai is concerned, the gender use of Kah started losing the connotation of "Hind leg of the Elephant" back in the early 70's, when young girls could provide American Dollars. Of course, America had the "Women's Right Movement" and I believe it is all about Society and how society adapts and changes. Language is Dynamic for any society, but language makes modifications, the written word is slow, usually a generation behind social patterns, trends and agreed upon concepts. When any society decides that gender is not to be used as in status, language the spoken word adapts, while the written word searches for ways to homogenize both.

Hence; I think distinction should be made as to the Spoken gender's in Society and the meaning. "That's one Hot Babe!" I might be tempted to throw water on the baby. "She's too intelligent for her own Good." I would like to get her phone number, but others might be intimidated. So, it is all about social mind-sets, language, facial expressions, what has been accepted and finally the written word. When any society (Norway) decides to adapt, it does. And Sub-Saharan societies can do the same if they choose.

Best of everything always, Wyatt
 

MusicMan

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Laura said:
Arbitrium Liberum said:
To me, as a non-native English speaker (if I can even now say that I am "English speaking person"), English was interesting from the moment when I started to learn it. Not because of the beauty of the language (to be honest English sounds very ugly), but because it looks fake, conglomerate, made up from the pieces of other languages, franken-language. Some words seems to be French, some German, and many of them looks latin.
I wonder if you mean England English as opposed to Southern U.S. English which are so different as to almost be two different languages. I'll admit that I have to watch British movies with subtitles because I understand only about half of what they say. And forget Australians. I only understand about 40%!
I am having a laugh as I read this, because I am an Englishman born in England, but raised in Australia (by a Scottish family) from a young age, so I know what you're up against.

Even in England everywhere you go you will find different accents, just imagine the Scots, Welsh and Irish ways of talking. This happens in the US too, and even in Australia - New Zealand, the accents differ.

We do know that the roots of English language come from a polyglot of different cultures, depending on which force was invading England at the time, so it has words from Celtic, Hebrew, Greek and Latin, as well as from the Nordic / Germanic / French sources.
 

Wyatt Shipley

The Force is Strong With This One
MusicMan said:
Laura said:
Arbitrium Liberum said:
To me, as a non-native English speaker (if I can even now say that I am "English speaking person"), English was interesting from the moment when I started to learn it. Not because of the beauty of the language (to be honest English sounds very ugly), but because it looks fake, conglomerate, made up from the pieces of other languages, franken-language. Some words seems to be French, some German, and many of them looks latin.
I wonder if you mean England English as opposed to Southern U.S. English which are so different as to almost be two different languages. I'll admit that I have to watch British movies with subtitles because I understand only about half of what they say. And forget Australians. I only understand about 40%!
I am having a laugh as I read this, because I am an Englishman born in England, but raised in Australia (by a Scottish family) from a young age, so I know what you're up against.

Even in England everywhere you go you will find different accents, just imagine the Scots, Welsh and Irish ways of talking. This happens in the US too, and even in Australia - New Zealand, the accents differ.

We do know that the roots of English language come from a polyglot of different cultures, depending on which force was invading England at the time, so it has words from Celtic, Hebrew, Greek and Latin, as well as from the Nordic / Germanic / French sources.
Wyatt here: I have a question about language and noun verb syntax. I can say that, "Wow, that candy colored red car looks nice." I can also say, "Wow, that car that has candy colored red paint sure is nice looking." Which Language has the better Noun / Verb arrangement English/Germanic or Latin/Romance because speakers of both find the emphasis on the important word is done by place. Language is Dynamic with New words constantly being appropriated, borrowed and Re-used. (A Computer was somebody who inspected the accounting books checking for Mathematical errors. It was a tedious job. Fortunately we now have computers.
In Bangkok I saw a Tee-shirt, read the writing for a moment, then asked my friend, "What is a WANKER?" "You don't want to know," he replied. I have never received a clear explanation, but I saw quite a lot of Aussies wearing similar Tee-Shirts.

Language would be boring if it wasn't Dynamic and is English any better than the rest? Well, it is a time based language with past, present and present continuous/future tense use of Verbs. It can be a difficult language to grasp, but it is also an exact language. So, does society wag the tail of the Animal called Language? Perhaps when any society needs exactness in Information Exchange, it will happen in the spoken word, then the written word.

Pondering the Tele-Pathetic form of communication that awaits US ALL, Wyatt :cool2: :cool2: :phaser: :lkj:
 

MusicMan

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Hello Wyatt, I think society does wag the tail of Language. Just imagine the number of words that have had to be invented to cover inventions since the industrial revolution.
Just programming on a computer required a lot of new words and jargon (every trade has its own jargon).
Think what the world might be like if the first computers had been programmed in a language other than (U.S.) English. They became a global phenomenon, and I think have spread English as a common language.
As an Englishman, I preferred your second option.
 

josev

Padawan Learner
Laura said:
Arbitrium Liberum said:
To me, as a non-native English speaker (if I can even now say that I am "English speaking person"), English was interesting from the moment when I started to learn it. Not because of the beauty of the language (to be honest English sounds very ugly), but because it looks fake, conglomerate, made up from the pieces of other languages, franken-language. Some words seems to be French, some German, and many of them looks latin.
I wonder if you mean England English as opposed to Southern U.S. English which are so different as to almost be two different languages. I'll admit that I have to watch British movies with subtitles because I understand only about half of what they say. And forget Australians. I only understand about 40%!
I'm doing an intensive English course (british) and I had an australian teacher the last month-level, in the first days I had trouble to understand him but I get accustomed. I like the way they don't pronounce the "r", for me is more easy to pronounce but difficult to hear, I enjoy to find words with final r when I'm reading: teache, bette, matte, howeve and read as if I had a potato in the mouth :lol: Maybe because I normally talk in spanish as if I had potato, is a bit silly. But this month my teacher is british and I only understand half of what he says.

Another thing I like is the way that we can use several adjectives one after another, I think this is the main advantage over Spanish (in terms of comunicate something)

I'm really motivated with the learning of the language, I think all languages must have something interesting and I'd like to learn some more (like Russian and Arab) I regret having waited so long. Sorry because I'm still bad and I realize that I use much "I" here, maybe because I'm selfilsh or is more easy to talk about what I think :D
 

josev

Padawan Learner
I forgot something, I have doubts about learn the british pronuntiacion without "r". It's more easy for me (and I like more) but as I said before it might be more difficult for the listener, this could be a problem? Do you understand the pronunciation without r of a non native speaker? if you met someone :D
 

Vulcan59

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
FWIW, Monier-Williams Dictionary - Source

Learning English is the arcane art of remembering over one million words that are constructed using [something like] 64 linguistic concepts [24 consonants + 18 digraphs + 2 ligatures + 20 vowels] which are then [somehow] shoehorned into a basic character set of just 26 Latin letters.
 

petite femme

Padawan Learner
On the topic of learning a second language, I wonder if the ease comes from the method of learning. For example, I took four years of french in school, 6th- 9th grade and I can't speak french very well at all. However, I have a friend who never studied french, studied abroad in France for not even a year. He speaks it fluently to this day! That's always baffled me!
 

mkrnhr

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
petite femme said:
On the topic of learning a second language, I wonder if the ease comes from the method of learning. For example, I took four years of french in school, 6th- 9th grade and I can't speak french very well at all. However, I have a friend who never studied french, studied abroad in France for not even a year. He speaks it fluently to this day! That's always baffled me!
Practicing the language in situ offers a huge advantage, along with language affinities. I've known Spanish and Italian people who learned French within a few months while taking just a few lessons and mostly interacting with people.

On the subject of language affinities, an Iranian professor told me once that the easiest language to learn for Iranians was English because the structure of the language is very close. That intrigued me because the Indo-European model alone wouldn't explain alone such an affinity. We know now that people used to travel a lot in the past, and commercial networks were almost global in the old world (Europe-Asia-Africa) in the late Bronze Age for instance, or in the Roman period. However, both languistics and Genetics may hold clues of large population displacements because of periodic cataclysms and devastations.
 
Interesting thread. Thanks everyone. My sister sent me a link to a YouTube video that's amusing about using proper English. I thought it was pretty hilarious and sent it to everyone on my e-mail contacts list. Enjoy!

https://youtu.be/8Gv0H-vPoDc
 

Adaryn

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
I've started to listen to a series of podcasts about the English language. It's very interesting, comprehensive and touches on more topics than just language/linguistics. In one of the episodes, the speaker describes English as "a hybrid language that pulls words and other influences from a variety of Indo-European languages, with Germanic/Anglo-Saxon/old English at its core, and then Latin and Greek. It's been estimated that almost 50% of the entire reconstructed vocabulary of the original Indo-Europeans is represented in some form in modern English."
You can find the whole series on this website: The History of English Podcast – the spoken history of a global language
 

Arwenn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I wonder if you mean England English as opposed to Southern U.S. English which are so different as to almost be two different languages. I'll admit that I have to watch British movies with subtitles because I understand only about half of what they say. And forget Australians. I only understand about 40%!
Had to laugh when I read that! Aussies can be hard to understand (we like to shorten words a lot), not to mention our slang :-D I can understand most accents, but I must say a thick Scottish or Irish accent still throws me!
 

Arwenn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I've started to listen to a series of podcasts about the English language. It's very interesting, comprehensive and touches on more topics than just language/linguistics. In one of the episodes, the speaker describes English as "a hybrid language that pulls words and other influences from a variety of Indo-European languages, with Germanic/Anglo-Saxon/old English at its core, and then Latin and Greek. It's been estimated that almost 50% of the entire reconstructed vocabulary of the original Indo-Europeans is represented in some form in modern English."
Thanks for posting this, I am looking forward to listening to it. There are also some words that were absorbed from British colonies - for example some words from India (Hindi) have become part of the English vocabulary, such as pundit, pyjamas, avatar, karma to name a few.
 

Adaryn

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
As the show host says, English is so interesting and particular because they have several words of different origin to name the same thing, due to the 3 main influences that contributed to shape this language, the root of them all being proto-Indo-European. For ie, words pertaining to "foot" are derived from German (foot, footstep etc) and Latin (pedestrian, pedestal, pedal, etc) both. The root of it all being proto-Indo-European *ped-. This is pretty cool.

How the Word ‘Father’ Unlocked the History of Language
BY ARIKA OKRENT

JUNE 21, 2015

In the 1700s it was clear to European scholars that certain languages were related to each other. French ciel, Spanish and Italian cielo, and Portuguese céu were clearly versions of the same thing, and had obviously descended from Latin caelum. It was also apparent that there were relationships between languages that hadn’t descended from Latin but were similar to each other: English earth, Dutch aarde, and German Erde were too close to be a product of mere coincidence. But it wasn’t until 1786 that people started to consider that all of these languages might be related to each other on a deeper level.
That’s when Sir William Jones, a British language scholar and judge who had been posted to Calcutta, suggested in a speech to the Asiatic Society that the classical Indian language Sanskrit had such strong similarities to classical Latin and Greek that
no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists; there is a similar reason, though not quite so forcible, for supposing that both the Gothic and the Celtic, though blended with a very different idiom, had the same origin with the Sanskrit; and the old Persian might be added to the same family.
The similarities could be seen when comparing Sanskrit to various Latin and Greek words, but they were most striking when all three languages overlapped, as they did for the word father:
SanskritLatinGreek
pitarpaterpater

When laid out this way, tantalizing similarities to other European languages came into focus:
SanskritLatinGreekOld EnglishOld NorseGerman
pitarpaterpaterfaederfathirVater

The words for father in these very different and geographically distant languages seem close enough, but it could be by chance. Could a p sound really have transformed into an f sound (the German V is pronounced as f)?
Philologists started looking for explanations that would shed light on the sensed kinship between these forms. The person who finally found a satisfactory answer was Jakob Grimm of the Brothers Grimm, who was well-versed in the history of Germanic languages from his work digging through old folktales. He formulated what is now known as Grimm’s Law, the first of many sound-change laws that were the foundation of the evidence-based, scientific study of linguistic history that would dominate the following century.
The first part of Grimm’s law says that in the Germanic languages, the pof proto-Indo-European—the hypothetical ancestor of Sanskrit, Latin, Greek, and many other European and Indian languages—turned to f. Bolstering his case was the fact that a whole other group of words showed the same alternation as father, including foot, field, and fill.

SanskritLatinGreekOld EnglishOld NorseGerman
patped-pod-fotfotusFuss
prthu (broad)planus (flat)platus (flat)fealdfoldFeld
prnatipleopleroofyllanfyllafüllen
The similarities may not be as striking for these words as they are for father, but when this p to f correspondence (as well as other correspondences) showed up across hundreds of words, the argument for a common linguistic ancestor grew stronger and stronger.
Father/pater/pitar was an elegant, tidy example that helped facilitate our understanding of the development of the Indo-European family tree. Tell your dad all about it this Pitar's/Pater's/Father's Day!
 
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