October 7th, 2008

safety mustache

Why English Is Hard

I went to a lunchtime talk on improving your English for non-native speakers. Because linguistics is interesting.

The speaker listed 5 things about English that make it more difficult to master than a lot of other popular languages. (She actually said "uniquely difficult", but I think that's probably overstating the case by quite a bit. English may have some unusual phonemes, for example, but I think those are a lot easier for people to learn than features like tones and vowel length are for people who don't have them in their native language. And English grammar is not particularly exotic.) Anyway, I thought I'd share themCollapse )

Personally, I think a lot of these things make English interesting and fun, and that a weird and complicated language with a lot of expressive power is much cooler than the kind of straightforward and logical system that most of the conlang crowd is always trying to design.

But I freely admit that I'm a freak.