1. shrollowheld32
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    shrollowheld32 New Member

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    Is English Not Shit? Honest Question.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by shrollowheld32, Aug 17, 2016.

    As you're probably painfully aware of, pretty much everyone who's not a native English speaker considers the language infantile, stupid, and nothing but pseudo-intellectualism for emotionally stunted teenagers and half-adults. In general, the native's response to these accusations "they're just prejudiced"/"if they only knew"/"just wait until many-th becomes popular" etc. The assumption is always that people who rag on English are actually ignorant of them. I think this is a fair assumption to make about most Reddit commenters etc., but...

    For one reason or other, I subscribed to this forum and decided to check out a few of the quirks that were getting taught like crazy... and, well. TL;DR: The more I've learned about English, the less I like it. And... I think this mainstream breakthrough some of you guys seem to be hoping for (correct me if I'm wrong) won't ever come as long as it has stuff stuff like Irregular Verbs, Spelling and Homonyms.

    So let me just explain a little about where I'm coming from - I'm a long-term resident of England and I speak English fluently. Though I'm a big fan of languages in general (including some dialects), I really can't stand the language over here. I still use it occasionally, to my wife's chagrin, kind of fascinated over just how horribly wrong things can go. Never mind the horrible language (God, if things could just be more like in the 60's-90's when "limited vocabulary" didn't mean you had to strip the soul out of your words) - the horrible grammar, the squeaky words that sound nothing like how they're pronounced in real life (the borrowed words especially!), and the super-samey accents.

    What I'm trying to say is, I of course had loads of prejudices about the language before learning about it, but I was at the same time better informed then most. I did half expect English to be like cheap language, but because of the praise I had read for it, I also assumed the writing had to be really good, I mean, that there had to be something redeeming about it.

    Well, turns out I was wrong. After learning about Spelling and learning it for half an hour, I quit. No. No. No. "This isn't good writing," I thought to myself. "Even if I play along with what the natives says and assume that I'll get used to it" - it's infantile, repetitive and English fanboy fare resorting to the most irritable and unbelievable words, topped with some incredibly grating pronounciations. Is anybody seriously suggesting that there will be even an ounce of 'great writing' hiding behind what seems like hours and hours of letters, before you get to the words?"

    But... I'd be a fool if I judged the entire language just on one concept, as highly used by the natives as it may have come. So... I check out another highly taught concept.

    Irregular Verbs.

    Oh my God. I forced myself to stick with this one a little longer, but after an hour, I threw in the towel. An arbitrary system ? Check. A completely unbelievable and nonsensical rules ? Check. Grating pronounciations? Check. Stereotypical patterns not behaving how it's supposed to? Check. Wear changes to wore for no good reason??!?! Check. I'm sorry guys, but there's no way there's a gem of highly accomplished literature in any medium with a language like this. I've read comments here saying it says things about "getting used to it" etc. - but seriously, from what I've seen, I cannot be brought to believe that a language who can't stick to using -d/-ed can do anything for me.

    I was already kind of fed up at this point, but I still felt like like there had to be something I was missing. There had to be something that makes people like this language. Well. Onto Homonyms, then. By now, I had decided just researching would be enough. I looked at some words (I was unable to find a complete list of homonyms, which I would have preferred) and... God. I can't imagine sitting through 5-8 millenia (which is what I read somewhere it would take) of this crap to get to the supposedly understand it. I skipped learning the basic ones and though I wasn't really disgusted this time... I was just taken aback by the extremely long and unnecessary first encounter with two words that look the same but are completely different. The extreme quantity of them served absolutely no purpose grammar-wise. In a some other language, this words wouldn't have minimum 5 meanings. The language was wilfully wasting my time, not to further the understanding, but to provide me with the most complexity in the cheapest of ways - "study time". So I gave up on that too. I'm not going to sit through a 50 years of study which should have been overnight. I value my time, and if the language does not, we won't get along.

    I'm stubborn. I'm crazy, probably, but I didn't give up. I checked out other quirks like Idioms, Expressions, and some other stuff I can't remember... but all of them seem the same. I can't get past the language breaking it's own rules.

    The more I learned about languages, the more I grew to dislike it. The only exceptions to this were other takes on the language - I learned Tem-Speak and even bothered sending Temmie to college to get the "full experience". While the writing was shit, the spelling had me hooked. I mastered the extremely better (and extremely short) "L33t 5p3ak". Though not more in 10 minutes in study, it spoke more to me than I imagine hours of sitting through English would (though this is only a guess of course, as I gave up on it). I don't remember Pig latin too well but I did learn it several years back and I have somewhat fond memories of it. The hamfistedness of the English, the non-existant rules, the unbelievable exceptions... yes, it was technically more accomplished than any of the languages I learned, but the language was just... shit.

    I began formulating my own theories why people still enjoy these titles and even suggest they're comparable to other languages in terms of enjoyment and quality.

    Firstly, you have to to be an anarchist to enjoy English. Again, I'm not referring to fake anarchy but the destruction kind. This seems like an absolute must. If you can't stand to break the rules, you won't be able to stand English. Period. Any recommendation to learn English should come with a big disclaimer - "If you like rules, you won't like this."

    Secondly, the complexity of the language leads me to believe... the lure of the massochism. Over and over again, I see people saying the language actually NEEDS to be verbose, repetitive and overly long, for you to bond with the words. You need to read "letters" to care about what happens to the words in "sentences", you need to go through the painstakingly slow study to fully appreciate the prose, etc. Well, no. Good languages can make you bond with and care about a language in a couple of minutes at most. Look at doge. Yes, I cringed in the first 5 minutes, and so did you. Using length to accomplish the same thing is nothing but a staple of a bad language. Yes, English is probably fun and rewarding once you've invested hours of your own time following all the rules. They're still intellectual wastelands however and frankly, shit, when compared to stuff like "Mandarin", "Cantonese", "Hokkien" and I will think worse of you for wasting your time on it, and worse still for suggesting I should get into it too, that I just need to do the time like you have, that I shouldn't criticize it util I'm as involved as you are...

    (I'm aware of the irony in me criticizing English while writing in English myself, but I feel it doesn't invalidate my criticism)

    Am I wrong? Or are you guys wrong? Is the English you tout as "great" in all actuality "shit" to people outside of natives? I hope I haven't been too aggressive in this post, my goal has been to respectfully but honestly state my opinions, even though they will obviously be offensive to some. I look forward to being corrected and have my points refuted. Thanks
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Who touts English as "great"? It's just... English.

    Is @Wreybies around? English is like Microsoft Word. It doesn't matter if it's better or worse than anything else, because it's industry standard!
     
  3. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    If you are speaking in terms of efficiency and ease of introduction to non-native speakers, I believe that English is not as effective as other languages. If you are speaking in terms of one English-speaker to convey ideas to another, I'd say it's just fine. The language is quirky, but useful--sometimes beautiful, in the right hands.

    Short answer, no. English is not shit. I'm not even sure it is meaningful to say any major world language is shit.
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    What...the...what?

    People are born. They learn their native language. They use their native language.

    You speak as if a person can choose their native language, like trading in a Toyota for a Volvo. Like it's a fashion choice.
     
  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're just mad because you made such a stupid mistake and chose to learn English! Sucker!
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, I had the coupon, and....
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I still rue the day my parents elected to let me grow up learning English, rather than teaching me Tzutujil Mayan, along with the associated logograms.
     
  8. SweetOrbMace
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    SweetOrbMace Member

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    I actually really enjoyed this post. It would be great as part of a wider story about someone with... flaws.
     
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  9. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You almost lost me at this. I'm not a native English speaker, yet I love the English language. Of course, I could be one of those not included in "pretty much everyone", but I think you are exaggerating quite a bit.

    Also: most, if not all natural languages have irregularities, rule exceptions, etc. It's a natural part of language evolution. You would probably write a similar post as this one about Swedish if you could speak it (or tried to, at least). I mean, just look at our compound words! Stuff like giftorm and gift orm (venomous snake vs. married snake), min doktorsavhandling and min doktors avhandling (my thesis vs. my doctor's essay), etc. It feels like 90% of the Swedish population are completely at loss of how and when to use them! Or our equivalent of 'a' and 'an', which (afaik) has no rules at all!
    Similar situations could probably be applied to every language in the world (with the exception of artificially constructed languages like esperanto).
     
  10. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    My spirit language is ǃXóõ, with its nearly 100 consonants, many of which consist of clicks and other double tongue articulations. But I was cursed to be born in Canada. English, French, English, French--I chose English, but I haven't been truly fulfilled since that fateful day.
     
  11. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Who are the snakes marrying?!?
     
  12. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Other snakes... I hope. ;)
     
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  13. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Seriously, though...? What the hell is a married snake? Is there a ceremony?

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Oh, almost forgot. @shrollowheld32, just to clarify, I'm neither an anarchist nor a masochist. Those are by no means requirements for one to love the English language.
     
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  15. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Gift orm is a case of separating a compound word and getting a completely different meaning. It's one of many examples that showcase the danger of not knowing how compounds work in Swedish.
    I don't think there actually is such a thing as a married snake (other than maybe in fiction).
     
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  16. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Isn't Trump married?

    [​IMG]


    I'm here all week, folks.
     
  17. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm returning to note that I find it all but impossible to believe that you're serious--not because no one could hate English, but because the idea of someone discussing their difficulty in learning English using highly idiomatic English just seems too implausible. (And that's ignoring the other implausibilities in the post.)

    I'm reminded of "We Tried Baseball and it Didn't Work", which is a parody of people's objections to Agile programming. I feel that there's a parody in here somewhere, but I can't quite find it. Does anyone else get the joke?
     
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  18. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Hahahahahaha!!! :rofl: Spanish is clearly NOT your native language; else, you would not be bringing up the concept of irregular verbs in English as some kind of insurmountable obstacle. If you don't speak Spanish you don't even know what irregular verbs are!

    As for wear changing to wore, there is absolutely a good reason why that verb conjugates that way. Study up on strong verbs in I.E. languages in general and English in particular. Wear belongs to a whole family of verbs in English that are of deeply rooted lineage. Run/ran, sit/sat, fight/fought, etc., etc., etc....

    Irrelevant questions. No one can be right or wrong on the matter of English as a good, bad, or shit language. Your question, and the underlying premiss that gives rise to it, is broken; thus, no answer is of any value.

    No one has touted anything as anything. Those are your words, not ours. The language we speak in the Anglophone world is simply the language we speak. It is as riddled with idiosyncrasy as any naturally occurring language.
    The only correction I can offer is that you have set off on a train of thought that has no logical conclusion. As a polyglot (Spanish, English, Russian) I can point to any number of things that seem to make little to no sense in any of the languages that I speak.

    Basically, you have asked: Which is pointier, green or velvet?
     
  19. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Lots of people make ranty-type intro posts. It is the re-birth moment for @shrollowheld32, and now, clear of ectoplasm he mews contentedly upon my breasts of brown milk.

    I have drawings, no photo as yet.

    [I had an interview today, I was great.]
     
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  20. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I've been told that the southern variant of ǃXóõ is a real bear. The case system alone is insane! Nominative, genitive, dative, instrumental, vocative, splurgative, dorkative, sleepative, wakeative, runative, walkative, fartative, and then there's masculine, feminine, neutral and undecided grammatical genders for all the cases with singular, dual, triple, low plural and high plural versions for each! Ain't nobody got time fo'that!
     
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  21. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nothing in any language is worse than the International House ELT training course.
     
  22. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    My image of Matty as a tall, waifishly thin Tolkien elf from a colorful but not-so-posh neighborhood in Lothlorien is crushed. :bigconfused:
     
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  23. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    In more technologically connected areas where the southern variant is used, linguists are excited about observing the trollative case as an emergent phenomenon of the use of the variant in electronic communication.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016
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  24. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It's been explained to me that trollative case (with its related case endings for inflection) is actually crossing a wide array of linguistic branches due to cybernetic linguistic contant, similar to the way Romanian (a Romance Language) shows obvious evidence of having borrowed the inflectional system from the Slavic family. ;)
     
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  25. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Excuse me, but I seem to be lost. I was looking for the session on "How We Know Speakers of Udmart Are Inherently Inferior Beings". But all I can find is "Why You Can't Take the Cube Root of One in Base Tau" on the mezzanine and this one here. Can someone help me?
     

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