Slightly OT - Learning english

In message , geoff wrote
Doesn't the answer required depend on this persons native language in the first place? It's little point in recommending a site that is in English if he cannot understand English:)
Reply to
Alan
It's important to know what the starting point is.
English is an incredibly difficult language to learn.
The vocabulary is enormous because for most things there are at least two words (with latin or germanic origin) plus a smattering of celtic and ancient nordic words.
Pronunciation is completely inconsistent across the range of some very commonly used words.
Grammar is all over the place.
Someone who speaks one of the other European languages has a starting point with some of this.
What is the native language of the person concerned?
Reply to
Andy Hall
Thus spake Andy Hall ( snipped-for-privacy@hall.nospam) unto the assembled multitudes:
Wonderful, isn't it?
Reply to
A.Clews
In message , Andy Hall wrote
The understanding of English is helped by the speaker shouting :)
Reply to
Alan
What struck me as odd was that mostly the Germanic words tend to be treated as the poor relatives. Those derived from Latin and/or medieval French seem to be regarded as posh. Examples are things like "cess" as in "cesspit" which is posher than "shit". However in Italian "cesso" is regarded in much the same way as saying "shit". One that's the other way aroudn for some reason is lamb/mutton where the French version is the inferior term and the German is the posh/better regarded.
It's definitely a funny old language.
Reply to
Steve Firth
In message , Alan writes
I wouldn't have thought it would be so important
but ... Hungarian (where goulash comes from)
Reply to
geoff
In message , Andy Hall writes
As I said - Hungarian
If you think English is difficult, the only word I know in Hungarian is cheers - which is Aggisheggdera (might not be spelt 100% correctly)
How do they say that after 10 pints ?
Reply to
geoff
In message , Alan writes
Well, this person has just started working for me, I have an english employee who, when he tried talking to him, breaks into crap french. I suppose forrin is forrin
Reply to
geoff
That could be a tricky one. It might be a long shot, but I'd try search some Finnish sites. Their language has the same roots and they are good at English.
Reply to
clot
I think you're right on that. I wonder if it has something to with Latin as a language of classics and historically the establishment church (in some countries) and French as a diplomatic language.
Although I can speak acceptable daily French and a certain amount of German and understand a great deal more, I do sometimes have situations of being with someone who speaks some English but doesn't use it daily. I've found that one good solution that works for communication is to avoid complex sentence constructions and tenses and to use the English word derived from whichever language where possible. For example, in France I found that using the word "firm" (for a company) gets a blank look normally, whereas "company" is understood (I know that societe - I missed the accents - is the correct word) There are plenty of other similar examples.
Another aspect is what is done in a language in order to preserve it and identified cultural associations. One measure of this is the extent to which words for new things are borrowed from English and whether the trouble is taken to coin new ones in the language. Often, the smaller the language in terms of native speakers, the more that there are words invented. The extent to which they are used is another matter.
I thought that "merda" was the Italian word for the brown stuff. It seems to be used by taxi drivers when they actually end up having to stop at red traffic lights; although they are good at giving traffic hand signals with the middle finger of the left hand.
Reply to
Andy Hall
I don't know how suitable it is for complete beginners but there are lots of different aspects catered for on the BBC Learning English websites.
Not online, but have you tried your local library?
Owain
Reply to
Owain
But you only really need one, for beginners. No-one will get upset if you ask for a cowburger in MacDonalds.
But at least our plurals are reasonably consistent.
But is much simpler than some other languages.
After all, we can make a fair guess at what Dribble's on about most of the time.
Owain
Reply to
Owain
I know that in most languages.
Hungarian is distantly related to Finnish in the sense of being in the same (Finno-Ugric) linguistic family.
A Finn once told me that there are about 200 words in common, which is not many. Finns are people of few words anyway, and he went on to tell me the story of two Finns going into a bar.
One orders the first round of drinks and they are set up on the bar. They pick them up and one says "kippis" (word for cheers). The other says "Are we going to talk or drink?"
Coming back to your Hungarian friend, I wonder whether an online thing is really the way to go. Are they living in Hungary or the UK or?? If it's the UK, I would have thought that finding a local Hungarian community and finding out what they have done would be a better bet. Otherwise, exposure to English in a non threatening way works well.
When I talk to people in different countries about how they learned English, after the obvious answer of school, TV is a common answer, but more so in countries where English programs are subtitled rather than dubbed. Swedes and Norwegians often tell me that this made a difference for them. Others have told me that they listen to the news on the World Service. The announcers do speak very slightly slower and more carefully, so as to be helpful without being patronising - I don't mean the stupid English habit of speaking very slowly and increasing the volume because Johnny Foreigner must be deaf or stupid.
I think as well, it depends on what the objective is - i.e. enough to get around and get by day by day or a much more intensive level.
Reply to
Andy Hall
In message , clot writes
No don't complicate things
WHat is required in learning a language is firstly a nucleus of vocabulary and a basic grammar to string it together with
basically common vocabulary is all that is really important to communicate, the rest falls in line with use
believe me, I've been there on a number of times
Reply to
geoff
I asked both Finns and Hungarians about that one. They have the same linguistic root but are not close enough to be able to use that many common words. Think of the distance. Finns and Estonians can understand each other with a slight struggle. Finns have become good at English for other reasons. Languages figure significantly in school because learning Swedish has been a requirement in their (officially) dual language environment and English was recognised as important a couple of generations ago when Finland became a trading gateway between the west and the Soviet Union.
Reply to
Andy Hall

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