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Polish was chosen the HARDEST LANGUAGE in the world to learn... :D


Olaf 6 | 956
25 Feb 2010 #481
Ok, right,
but English doesn't have so many tenses does it.
For Poles the only hard thing in English tenses are perfect tenses as there's no equivalent to that in Polish. The rest is almost like simplification - not much of conjugation, genders, aspects are treated completly different, but understandable.

"Why did you say that?", they don't know.

- I wrote about this before, when I asked English speakers :). It's the same!
- it's just a matter of level of command of language [or a really hard question:) ], and also when you ask any native speaker (so English speakers too, like I'd witten) some complicated linguistic question they often cannot explain fully as they aquired language and foreigners learn it, so they rely only on studied grammar rules etc. and native speakers often rather "sense" which forms to use than apply learnt language rules and then it is harder to explain why.

I'm not sure if I wrote it clear, sorry.
delphiandomine 86 | 18,269
25 Feb 2010 #482
and this, as you have just seen Rikad, simply should not happen in language

Why not? I often argue with people over the best way to say something in English. I think you're also forgetting that language is fluid - of course people will argue about the correct way to say something. I find the way that certain English people stress words really annoying, especially people from London. Yet they would say that I'm wrong.

If you don't believe me - why does "The cat wants out" sound perfectly fine to my ears, yet terrible to an Englishman?

I am talking about simple, silly stuff that a 5 year old should have command of, yet adults often times do not because of no other reason but the inefficiency of their language.

If we want to talk about inefficiency, why do I have to say "A small couch" - three seperate words to be remebered, including an article - whereas in Polish, I can just say "kanapka". If you ask me, Polish is more efficient - much less nonsense and much more ways to vary something without having to bolt on endless words.

and for those of you touting B2 and above proficiency levels in Polish, puff your chest out all you want, but rest assured, if native speaking Poles are getting stumped on silly meaningless sentences, you can be most confident that you are subject to this happening to you 100 fold.

I'm really wondering what kind of morons that you're associating with. Of course, there's often two or more ways to say something in a language - that's absolutely normal. Let's look at the way that Americans and Brits will describe something - very often, it's completely different. That's inefficient.

Anyway, you're not qualified to comment on Polish, seeing as you're only at B1-B2 level. When you pass the State C1 exam, then we can talk.
Olaf 6 | 956
25 Feb 2010 #483
pappy

what's that? calling names helps in discussion or it's your style?

I'm waiting tough guy.

-or you are working on a reputation? :)

Delphiandomine proved some points, and expanded some ideas, I haven't noticed sarcasm in his posts.

Will that reconcile you if I write that there are silly rules in Polish and in English, and both languages happen sometimes to be inefficient, and sometimes you can say sthg better in English and some other time it's more efficient in Polish?

Elaborate language forms are complicated obviously, but I wouldn't agree that Poles have more problems with answering language questions than e.g. Englishmen...
tonywob 6 | 43
25 Feb 2010 #484
Ha ha, I don't think even Polish could beat this below beauty:

Take the incorrect sentence:
James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher

Adding commas, make this valid English.

James, while John had had "had", had had "had had"; "had had" had had a better effect on the teacher. which means "It was the case that while John used 'had,' James used 'had had.' The teacher preferred 'had had.'"

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_while_John_had_had_had_had_had_had_had_had_had_had_had_a_better_effect_on_the_teacher
Olaf 6 | 956
25 Feb 2010 #485
There. I had had something to say but I'm speechless now:))))))))
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
25 Feb 2010 #486
Olaf wrote:

what's that? calling names helps in discussion or it's your style?

no, it's not my style. pappy is a regional thing where i'm from, it's no different than buddy.

Olaf wrote:

Delphiandomine proved some points, and expanded some ideas, I haven't noticed sarcasm in his posts.

this has nothing to do with sarcasm. i wasn't suggesting there was any.

just asking good ole' Delph to answer the same questions he's been refusing to answer for months. what's the matter Delph? credibility concerns?

watch and learn. he'll duck the questions, yet again, by cutting and pasting some stuff I wrote earlier by strapping on his aforementioned Captain Sidetrack suit. it's old hat for me by now.
Olaf 6 | 956
26 Feb 2010 #487
Polish the hardest language? LOL

- true, and that's exactly what I was saynig before. Anyway the article (link in the beginning of this thread) was really silly, serious mistakes in it ("7 genders, 7 tenses"... etc.)

Scottish? why?

- I surmise that from his accent and the way he talks:)).
Seanus 15 | 19,706
26 Feb 2010 #488
Polish may be in the top ten hardest languages but it's not as hard as many Poles make out. Intelligent people find it easier ;) ;) ;) ;)
tonywob 6 | 43
26 Feb 2010 #489
Chinese has my vote as the most difficult, at least for an European ;-)
Olaf 6 | 956
26 Feb 2010 #490
Wish I didn't stop learning it. No way, for me it was quite simple as long as (as in every language learning) you practise writing kanji and learn the rules. I sometimes felt it like "it's so simple that it's hard", as we have developed grammar rules and e.g mandarin has it different, simply said designed by a different architect.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
26 Feb 2010 #491
Regarding Polish, I think what makes it, at the very least, seem horrendously difficult is the mountain you need to climb in the beginning. That's Polish in a nutshell. Polish gets easier and easier for me every day because I hit the books hard during my first year to learn the seemingly impossible case system. For most people, they never accomplish that.
marqoz - | 195
26 Feb 2010 #492
James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher

And what about
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo
You don't need any q'marks, dots & commas and it's still a valid sentence.
What a buffalo!

OK, I give up with this:
Nordöstersjökustartilleriflygspaningssimulatoranlägeningsmaterielunde rhållsuppföljningssystemdiskussioninläggförberedelsearbeten
And puzzle: what is the language of it?
Monastyrev - | 3
26 Feb 2010 #493
Haha, the case system is not the only hard thing to learn ...
z_darius 14 | 3,968
26 Feb 2010 #494
James, while John had had "had", had had "had had"; "had had" had had a better effect on the teacher. which means "It was the case that while John used 'had,' James used 'had had.' The teacher preferred 'had had.'"

You consider that artificially conceived sentence difficult?
I hope don't pretending you're a teacher of English.

There are 32 tenses (including conditionals) in the English language that are technically possible. Of those, 24 tenses are grammatically correct but only 3 to 5 are in daily use. In some areas of the US not tenses are used at all.

All these English tenses are simple jigs and only some of them (past and perfect) will pose an initial issue due to a small number (about 200) or irregular verbs.

About the only real difficulty, for some, is the application of individual tenses. That can be explained to a student with an average IQ in a day. The rest is just practice.
Olaf 6 | 956
26 Feb 2010 #495
Nordöstersjökustartilleriflygspaningssimulatoranlägeningsmaterie lunde rhållsuppföljningssystemdiskussioninläggförberedelsearbeten
And puzzle: what is the language of it?

Swedish? If not then Norwegian or Danish, but I'm betting on Svenska. And what the heck it means? Does this make any sense? I recognize a caouple of words in it but still can't figure out the whole.
tonywob 6 | 43
26 Feb 2010 #496
You consider that artificially conceived sentence difficult?
I hope don't pretending you're a teacher of English.

I didn't conceive this sentence and I would certainly never use it. It's an example of the somewhat chaotic verb system in English. I know from experience, i.e. being round lots of Poles learning English, that lots of them cannot grasp the different tenses, especially not in normal speech. If you're Polish and you can then congratulations :-)

Also, I'm certainly not a teacher, and I'm definitely not qualified to comment on English grammar. If anything, I know more about Polish grammar because I've studied it, I rarely think about the grammar in my own language unless my g/f asks me a question.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
26 Feb 2010 #497
s_darius wrote:

There are 32 tenses (including conditionals) in the English language that are technically possible. Of those, 24 tenses are grammatically correct but only 3 to 5 are in daily use. In some areas of the US not tenses are used at all.

3 to 5? no way.

I go.

I'm going.

I went.

I was going.

I have gone.

I've been going.

I will go.

I will be going.

I had gone.

There's 9, and I don't think an average day has gone by in my adult life not using all 9 of those.
delphiandomine 86 | 18,269
26 Feb 2010 #498
In some areas of the US not tenses are used at all.

A particular trait to America is the horrible way that they mix tenses in writing without rhyme or reason - and the worst thing is that it's practiced by educated people.

(Seanus, ever tried teaching Scottish English grammar to people? For some reason, it seems to make sense to Poles)
Lyzko
26 Feb 2010 #499
German may still have most other languages beat on sheer (yet completely logical!!) word compounding:-) Perhaps only Hungarian and Icelandic can match on word length alone, hence leaving Polish hopelessly in the dust:

Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitaenswitwenrentenaenderungmoegl ichkeit = The possibility of changing the amount of retirement annuity for the widow of a captain for the Danube steamship company

WHHEEWW! Sounds almost as undigestible in English! The German DUDEN though even has this monster surpassed. It has to do with grants for the financially needy.-)

Don't ask me which word it is though. LOL

))))))
z_darius 14 | 3,968
26 Feb 2010 #500
I didn't conceive this sentence and I would certainly never use it. It's an example of the somewhat chaotic verb system in English.

Since you had provided a link I realized you did not conceive the sentence.

It is an interesting example but I don't think it is indicative of any chaos in the English verb system. As stated before, the English tenses are simple jigs, with a minor complication posed by a small number of irregular verbs. Those occur in most languages. Incidentally, the general rule is that the most frequently used ones are the ones with the most irregular forms so these get taken care of pretty soon into the learning process.

In English, all tenses can presented in a nice and simple to understand tabular format taking no more than one legal size (about A4) page. Another page, perhaps two with irregular verb forms and all combination are covered. In some cases it would take at least a page to convey all forms of just one Polish verb - even with the meager number of tenses in Polish.

I know from experience, i.e. being round lots of Poles learning English, that lots of them cannot grasp the different tenses, especially not in normal speech. If you're Polish and you can then congratulations :-)

One of the issues with learning a foreign language is the purpose. A lot of people's needs are pretty limited. An occasional tourist to an English speaking country will get away with one tense and about 1000 words. It's not going to be pretty but sufficiently good for basic communication. Now, try to have that same small arsenal of Polish words.

When I first came to the US I could easily talk about ambiguities in the English language as it comes through the pages of great literary works in the English language but I was afraid to take a written driving test in New Jersey's DMV. The likes of Chaucer, Hemingway or TS Elliot wrote on the subject very sparingly, so rarely did I come across terms such a "turnpike" or "double yellow lines".

Someone working in the US or UK will need a varying degree of competency. A journalist reporting on the Royal Family will certainly be expected to be highly proficient, while a bricklayer will will easily get away with rock bottom basics.

Not all of us are Shakespeares, neither do we aspire to be. Who would the audience be?

I was taught Latin when I was in high school and then in one of Polish universities - 4 years altogether. Do I speak Latin? Hell, no! I will get through a text in Latin when I need to, sometimes with a help of a dictionary, and that's all I need in what I need it for.

There's 9, and I don't think an average day has gone by in my adult life not using all 9 of those.

I assume that you are somewhat more educated than an average American and as such you'll certainly go beyond the bare basics on a daily basis and I'd be surprised if the 9 would be the only tenses in your vocabulary. Heck, I use more.

Of the 9 tenses a few won't be used as frequently, which is not to say they are unknown to most native speakers. All of them are very clear as to their meaning, once you explain it to a learner. Non-native speakers will be often aware of the English tenses they won't use. After all, "I finish this book tomorrow" covenys the same idea as "I will have read that book tomorrow".

Also, difficulties in learning English, or any other language, clearly stem from the learner's linguistic background. As others mentioned before in this thread, some aspects of a language are easier to learn, others are much, much harder to be retained. English is nowhere as difficult to a foreigner as Polish or a number of other languages. English is much more forgiving when to comes to minor errors. Of course the definition of "minor" may be debatable, but I'd argue that what can be construed as a minor grammatical error in English could render and equivalent Polish sentence incomprehensible. In the sentence, where the minor issue of inflection was neglected, what does this sentence mean (spelling incorrect on purpose).

zosia lubić jasiek.

Anybody non-native speaker?

A particular trait to America is the horrible way that they mix tenses in writing without rhyme or reason - and the worst thing is that it's practiced by educated people.

On a daily basis American English is not that complex, but as for the "educated" people, things will depend on what the term is understood to be. Are we talking about a PhD in English Lit. or an undergrad in phys ed?
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
26 Feb 2010 #501
z_darius wrote:

I assume that you are somewhat more educated than an average American and as such you'll certainly go beyond the bare basics on a daily basis and I'd be surprised if the 9 would be the only tenses in your vocabulary. Heck, I use more.

Me? Avg. education. And of course I go beyond 9. I simply stated the basic ones to show that 3-5 is an awfully inaccurate estimation.

z_darius wrote:

English is nowhere as difficult to a foreigner as Polish

I couldn't agree more, but there are several people on this forum that won't agree with that statement.

z_darius wrote:

Of course the definition of "minor" may be debatable, but I'd argue that what can be construed as a minor grammatical error in English could render and equivalent Polish sentence incomprehensible.

you're dead on with that.

On a daily basis American English is not that complex

why? how is it less complex than Irish English, Scottish English, Australian English...?
z_darius 14 | 3,968
26 Feb 2010 #502
why? how is it less complex than Irish English, Scottish English, Australian English...?

In their essential features all those variants are the same. In AmEng the actual usage of some complexities is being replaced replaced, or has already been replaced with other structures that allow to convey the same meaning. As an example, in the area of tenses, in AmEnglish the Present Perfect, while perfectly legitimate and understood by all, is increasingly replaced by Simple Past. Where ambiguities may arise and American speaker will throw in an auxiliary "just" as in I just completed the book.

In spoken language I find British intonation more challenging than the fairly flat American counterpart.
Lyzko
26 Feb 2010 #503
It's really all a matter of what one means by 'difficult', for the umpteenth time! In order to speak English, American, British or Canadian, on or nearly on the level of an educated native English speaker, a great deal more effort is required than to coast by on a mere 'global' tourist level, which is how most non-English speaking natives communicate in the language.

Until the myth of English being 'easy' vs. Polish being 'hard' is debunked once and for all, the same meaningless shibboleths concerning what's good or bad Englsh will keep flying around this and other forums ad infinitum:-)
Seanus 15 | 19,706
26 Feb 2010 #504
Exactly right, Lyzko. Even if one has criteria, what is difficult for one person is easy for another. The hardest doesn't have the required degree of objectivity to it.
marqoz - | 195
26 Feb 2010 #505
Swedish?

Bravo! Svenska indeed.

Nordöstersjökustartilleriflygspaningssimulatoranlägeningsmaterielunde rhållsuppföljningssystemdiskussioninläggförberedelsearbeten means just:

Preparation work to participate in a discussion on the base material support maintenance system for the coast artillery flight simulator in Northern Baltic.

and in Polish:
Prace przygotowawcze do udziału w dyskusji nad systemem utrzymania wsparcia materialnego symulatora nadzoru z powietrza dla artylerii nadbrzeżnej Północnego Bałtyku.
And was the longest word (130 chars) in the world acc to Guiness Book of Records.

And what about:
Hottentottenstottertrottelmutterbeutelrattenlattengitterkofferattentä ter?
Jzyus
27 Feb 2010 #506
No wonder that all swedish people are forced by their government to also speak perfect english
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
27 Feb 2010 #507
Nordöstersjökustartilleriflygspaningssimulatoranlägeningsmaterie lunde rhållsuppföljningssystemdiskussioninläggförberedelsearbeten

This is just an artificial word that has been created by putting many words together. No one would ever use this kind of "word", if you can call it a word. You can make up a word that is twice as long if you want. But it's still not a genuine word, it's an unnatural combination of words.

Hottentottenstottertrottelmutterbeutelrattenlattengitterkofferat tentä ter?

This doesn't mean anything at all. This is not a word or even a combination of words.
brienkinkel 1 | 7
27 Feb 2010 #508
Polish is easy. Example: returning from the salt mines outside Krakow on a tourist bus, I sat in front of two young men from Australia. One asked the other, "How do you say 'thank you'?" The other replied, "Dziękują." The first asked, "How is it pronounced?" His friend replied, "Gin, like the drink, and queer...like yourself!" The whole bus laughed at that one.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
27 Feb 2010 #509
Dziękują is they thank. Dziękuję is thank you. Nice story though.
Lyzko
27 Feb 2010 #510
No wonder that all Swedish people are forced by their government to speak perfect English

'Afternoon there, Jyzus! Guess that's sort of like forcing the proverbial square peg into the traditional round hole; the fit ain't even near perfect:-))) LOL

I hate to puncture the balloon myth of Swedish English skill, but frankly, I've never found that the average Swede knows English any better than the average Pole, Spaniard, Turk or Japanese. It's just a lot more comforting to hear English mimicked with a slight British-style accent, than a Polish, Spanish or Turkish one: It doesn't mean the English is better, only on the surface more familiar sounding. Try getting below the surface, and the fluency often quickly disappears and degenerates into a sort of burlesque of vulgar Hollywoodesque slang, i.e. a poor imitation of the TV series "Baywatch", in which numerous hunky guys and their equally Amazon-like lady friends grunted their way inarticulately thoughout the show.

As the line in one of my favorite classics films goes (the boss cutting the office stud down to size) "You know Walter, you're not necessarily smarter than anyone else,.....just a little taller!")

Seanus, in a number of languages the expression "Thank you!" is rendered by some form of 'I thank..../'I am thanking...', literally translated:

Czech: Prosim!
German: Danke!
Polish: Dziękuję!
Hungarian: Koszonom!
etc....


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