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Poll: Dictionaries (7 member(s) have cast votes)

Of what nature do you prefer your dictionaries?

  1. Prescriptivist (3 votes [42.86%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 42.86%

  2. Descriptivist (4 votes [57.14%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 57.14%

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#21 ᗅᗺᗷᗅ

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Posted 24 February 2016 - 11:58 AM

Does it have a name? A dialect of what language?



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#22 He who posts

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Posted 24 February 2016 - 06:01 PM

Does it have a name? A dialect of what language?

Dutch, but it's so irrelevant and small that even you should not care about it.

#23 ᗅᗺᗷᗅ

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Posted 24 February 2016 - 06:56 PM

I have soft spot for all things Dutch. :)



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#24 He who posts

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 12:31 PM

BDd2adt.jpg



#25 the rebel

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 02:53 PM


Does it have a name? A dialect of what language?

Dutch, but it's so irrelevant and small that even you should not care about it.

I met a Dutch person on holiday one time and I learnt it during, granted it was all vulgar language. Benefits being when I'm in a shop and the owners/workers start speaking their language while serving me, I give them a taste of their own medicine and start swearing at them in Dutch.

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#26 Lord Draculea

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 12:59 AM

English's great strengths are its flexibility and huge (YOOOGE) vocabulary, far bigger than most other languages. These allow English speakers to convey detail and shades of meaning that other languages lack. It is also, despite its weird spelling, pretty concise. For example, the next time you are someplace where they have signs in English and Spanish, notice how many more words it takes to convey the same meaning in Spanish. Use of helping verbs (instead of changing the root word to modify it) and lack of gender help a lot too.

 

Add to that the (former) British imperialism and (present) American cultural imperialism, and you'll have the full explanation why English is the lingua franca for the rest of the world.  :D



#27 KiWi

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 05:47 PM


English's great strengths are its flexibility and huge (YOOOGE) vocabulary, far bigger than most other languages. These allow English speakers to convey detail and shades of meaning that other languages lack. It is also, despite its weird spelling, pretty concise. For example, the next time you are someplace where they have signs in English and Spanish, notice how many more words it takes to convey the same meaning in Spanish. Use of helping verbs (instead of changing the root word to modify it) and lack of gender help a lot too.

 
Add to that the (former) British imperialism and (present) American cultural imperialism, and you'll have the full explanation why English is the lingua franca for the rest of the world.  :D
 



I hope it stays like that forever.

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#28 Lord Draculea

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 04:41 AM

You know what? Me too.  :P



#29 He who posts

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 05:51 AM

Lazy shits not wanting to learn anything else than English.



#30 Redezra

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 10:45 PM

I learnt computer :D



#31 *Anastasia

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 10:50 PM


I hope it stays like that forever.
 


I do as well, only because I'm selfish and really bad at learning languages. Truth be told, I despise the English language, but since it's what I grew up with, it's what I know best. I really wish I had opportunities to learn other languages when I was young enough that doing so would have been easier, because as useful as it is as a lingua franca, I would love to be able to speak and write in many other languages much more than English. Especially write, though. Poetry always sounds so much nicer in other languages.

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#32 Lord Draculea

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 01:49 AM

Understanding poetry in a foreign language is almost impossible, unless you speak it like your own. Even when you're a proficient speaker, you can read the word, understand them thoroughly, even know a lot of synonyms, but the musicality and the joy coming from the specific combinations of all possible senses are forever hidden to you. It's a barrier that very few people can cross.



#33 ᗅᗺᗷᗅ

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 11:30 AM

I wish I could speak foreign languages better. But my problem is that I'm really, really good at speaking English. As a result, I become easily frustrated when learning a foreign language because I am unable to convey the level of meaning and detail that I want to convey. If I'm not good at something right away I tend to lose interest. It's a character flaw.



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#34 KiWi

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 03:59 PM



I hope it stays like that forever.
 


I do as well, only because I'm selfish and really bad at learning languages. Truth be told, I despise the English language, but since it's what I grew up with, it's what I know best. I really wish I had opportunities to learn other languages when I was young enough that doing so would have been easier, because as useful as it is as a lingua franca, I would love to be able to speak and write in many other languages much more than English. Especially write, though. Poetry always sounds so much nicer in other languages.
 



Why do you despise English?

And which languages?

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#35 *Anastasia

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 04:02 AM




I hope it stays like that forever.
 


I do as well, only because I'm selfish and really bad at learning languages. Truth be told, I despise the English language, but since it's what I grew up with, it's what I know best. I really wish I had opportunities to learn other languages when I was young enough that doing so would have been easier, because as useful as it is as a lingua franca, I would love to be able to speak and write in many other languages much more than English. Especially write, though. Poetry always sounds so much nicer in other languages.
 
 



Why do you despise English?

And which languages?
 



It just seems to always be blander than it needs to be, as though no matter how rich a vocabulary is used to express an idea, it always results in a much more boring expression than a similar expression would in another language. English writing, especially, tends to lack the succinctness desirable to express emotion, yet at the same time can tend to be too succinct when it comes to expressing ideas. I dunno, I'm doing a terrible job explaining what I mean. Maybe I'd do better in French. :P

I read a fair amount of foreign-language poetry, and when I do I like to search out multiple translations of the same work. Obviously, something is always lost in translation—it's virtually impossible for it not to be—yet when I have some familiarity with the native language of a work, even though it's never enough to read it natively, it always seems to me as though the original authors were able to express themselves much more earnestly than any of their translators. Even the best translation of Rilke's Buddha in der Glorie cannot compare to the German; nor can English capture the truly magnificent… Iceland-ness of Stephansson's Þótt þú Langförull Legðir. This is without even getting into the turns of phrase many languages have that can allude to emotions or thoughts that English has no way to express: the way French can use the gender of its words to evoke multiple meanings of the same word, or the way Japanese can use different readings of kanji to trick a reader into one conclusion about her reading, only to pull the rug out from beneath her feet and force a reevaluation of the entire piece. I have no knowledge of Chinese, unfortunately: for as Tom Scott points out in his wonderful video on features the English language lacks, Chinese verbs can be time-independent, which sounds like a fantastic way of writing. Hell, even past iterations of English do some of these things better than we do today: and while you may be able to get away with using Middle English pronouns such as, 'thou,' 'thee,' or 'thine,' in your speech or writing, even if doing so would attract some odd stares, using Old English kennings—a truly beautiful way of expressing oneself through figurative language—would sadly render one unintelligible to most audiences.

On top of all that, I just find the sound of the English language rather uninspiring. It's far from the worst offender, of course—tonal languages are much worse for this than English—but there's a certain beauty to many languages' speech that I personally feel English, especially modern English, lacks, which gives foreign-language music and poetry an even nicer edge to it over English.

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#36 He who posts

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 06:04 AM

English is complete crap at giving someone a distinct identity.



#37 He who posts

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 08:34 AM

I have anglopohbia.



#38 Haflinger

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 05:33 AM

I think it is a false dilemma. Any dictionary is both descriptive and prescriptiv, it's just a mater of accent. After all, if you describe something, you implicitly prescribe how it should be used, and on the other hand you can't prescribe anything without a prior description.

You are generally right of course.

 

However, there are definitely dictionaries, especially in English and French, which set out to "improve" the language. That is, they purposely avoid defining terms that the authors of the dictionary do not feel should be in the language. The Academie Française is one of the worst offenders on this count in the modern era; in the 19th century though, the American Webster dictionary was just as bad. (An awful lot of the differences between American English and British English usage now can be traced to Webster.)

 

The OED is a tool for linguists mainly. Linguists are not generally interested in prescriptive dictionaries, because they aren't really scientific but are just reflections of the authors' biases.



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#39 Haflinger

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 05:39 AM

I was surpised to discover on "Effective Language Learning" that Romanian is ranked among the top 10 least difficult languages to learn as an English speaker. It is included in the category of "Languages closely related to English", together with Afrikaans, Danish, Dutch, French, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish. German comes only in the second category, as a "language similar to English"... The site gives a ranking system on five categories, from "closely related" to "exceptionally difficult" (the last one including Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean). Frankly, this came as a surprise to me!

Romanian is a Romance language, and Romance languages are generally relatively easy to learn. English is technically a Germanic language but it has so much borrowed from French and Latin that Romance languages come fairly easy to us.

 

I believe Spanish is considered the easiest foreign language for anglophones to learn.

 

Romanian is also by far the easiest language in your part of the world for anglophones. You're surrounded by Slavic languages, Magyar, Greek, Albanian... all pretty hard.



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#40 ᗅᗺᗷᗅ

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 08:52 AM

I've read that Swedish is often considered the easiest language for English speakers to learn. But that kind of absolute "ranking" is probably not applicable to something like learning a language, which is so subjective and based on the individual learner. But yeah, the list of languages considered easiest for English speakers to learn generally includes the ones already listed. I would also mention Frisian, the closest language to English, which is only spoken by a tiny minority of people in the Netherlands.



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