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Pseudo-intellectual internet "linguists"

- Sun, 27 Jan 2013 02:21:22 EST fa47rx37 No.8677
File: 1359271282322.jpg -(59661B / 58.26KB, 500x348) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size. Pseudo-intellectual internet "linguists"
Stop this, you pseudo-intellectual faggots.

English has many many words that other languages don't have. Also, this isn't a word, not even a compound. I can just start saying "elevating spirit" or some shit too. Stop downplaying English when you find other languages as if they are the arc of the bloody covenant or something and somehow inherently superior to English because they have a few words or phrases that English doesn't use/have in the same manner.
Jack Wevinggold - Sun, 27 Jan 2013 03:43:52 EST Jx1txWaa No.8678 Reply


  1. I don't think most posters on /lang/ are responsible for this, it looks like some trash people post on tumblr/facebook.

2. Why so angry?

3. This phenomenon (discussing 'untranslateable' words) isn't restricted to anglophone idiots discussing it. A quick google search for "Unübersetzbare-Wörter" will reveal several German forums discussing words in other languages (English and French) which are difficult to translate exactly, and words in German which are difficult to translate exactly.

4. French (and other romance languages) typically form compound words with prepositions, e.g. de or aux, so "l'esprit d'escalier" functions pragmatically as a compound noun. There is an old-fashioned word which means the same thing in English: afterwit.
Cornelius Pockcocke - Sun, 27 Jan 2013 09:41:45 EST GHjNXMCW No.8679 Reply
I don't see anything in that picture that says anything bad or suggests anything bad about English. Every language has some unique phrases and words... Isn't that the point? Isn't that why we don't have a universal and mandatory language?
Jack Wevinggold - Sun, 27 Jan 2013 10:48:36 EST Jx1txWaa No.8681 Reply

I think OP is just buttmad about people posting stuff on his facebook wall.
Jenny Gablinghood - Sun, 27 Jan 2013 14:08:06 EST VEd5LuzV No.8682 Reply
As if that's any worse than the idiots claiming English is the richest, most expressive language and no other language can even come close.
Ernest Mammlebanks - Wed, 30 Jan 2013 16:39:34 EST ak/d+mOy No.8704 Reply
It's not really pseudo-intellectual, there really isn't a word or phrase that comes close to this in modern English.
Also escalier means staircase, not elevation.

In this case, I would say OP is the pseudo-intellectual, and a butthurt one at that.
Fuck Blellernog - Wed, 30 Jan 2013 21:44:04 EST hJZLIVg3 No.8705 Reply
1359600244782.gif -(11095B / 10.83KB, 500x426) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size.
Lemme guess, someone was raving about how *said* language has aaallll these different ways to say things than English or that it sounds better or w/e? It's mostly just perspective/ sentimental bullshit. It works both ways.

Of course some languages have ways to say things that other languages don't, they're culturally unique. The only reason people compare languages to English is that they look at in while operating within the context of English or they don't actually speak another language.
On top of that, you get to look/ sound chic and culturally rounded when you say shit like "You can just do/say SOOO much more with *said* language than English, it's just so apparent." I could sit here and do the same thing with English and w/e language that this conversation is NOT taking place in. Not to mention, there's an alaming amount of words from English that enter other languages due to their lack of corresponding vocabulary.

Now, if they say it SOUNDS better than English, that's just a matter of asthetics and taste, can't really debate that.


Any proof apart from your nationality and probable monolingual status?
Jack Blythestone - Fri, 01 Feb 2013 07:06:51 EST CoEBH4TX No.8707 Reply

both the constitution and the bible were written in english
Samuel Sucklespear - Fri, 01 Feb 2013 13:22:59 EST ab6h6S3F No.8709 Reply

Contemporary modern English has a lot less stuff in it than most other European languages.

Contemporary modern English has:

  1. No cases.

2. Two verb conjugation forms. Just two.

3. A heavily-reduced subjunctive mood.

4. No gender.

5. No T/V distinction.

It really is a heavily reduced, simplified language.
Samuel Sucklespear - Fri, 01 Feb 2013 13:35:02 EST ab6h6S3F No.8710 Reply

Also, some dialects of English have essentially no verb conjugation whatsoever. In the Deep South of the USA, some speakers only use the unmarked forms of verbs in daily, informal speech, even in the third person singular.

And yeah, some forms of English do have T/V distinction, like in Lancashire, but this may die away in the future as older speakers die.
Faggy Drammlefoot - Fri, 01 Feb 2013 15:01:58 EST olKC8ZxU No.8711 Reply
1359748918173.png -(575084B / 561.61KB, 793x688) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size.
Kaca elpugiĝo (Esperanto)

That moment when the dick comes out of the butt.

English has no word for this.
Faggy Packleput - Fri, 01 Feb 2013 15:32:33 EST hJZLIVg3 No.8712 Reply
>It really is a heavily reduced, simplified language.

Minus the horrendous orthography and obnoxious verbal aspects coupled with highly-irregular past tense conjugation. When did the phone ring, rang, and rung? Where you wringing your towel out while the phone was ringing?

Oh yeah, and don't forget differences in stress albeit spelling and phonetically identical words with several different meanings: Did you presENT the differences between the past and the PREsent, and did you recieve a present for doing so? I put your ADDress on the box, which had and already addRESSed with your brother. When he was injured, I wound a bandage around his wound. I also wound the clock back to 5 o'clock, that's when I was told that the past tense of 'wind' is 'wound' and not 'winded' which is what this explanation is becoming. I also remember your brother telling me something, couldn't really hear since the wind was wailing so loudly. I think it was about how, when you wind up a clock, you start it, but as I wind up this explanation. I end it. I gotta go polish my Polish furniture.

English is just as retarded and complicated as other languages, just not in the same ways. Some parts are 'simplified' and some are rediculous and illogical.
Hedda Mollybury - Sat, 02 Feb 2013 04:22:02 EST gZo/uwlN No.8717 Reply

>It really is a heavily reduced, simplified language.

It's grammar has changed as a result of contact with Old Norse and Norman, but this doesn't mean it has become 'simple'. It has just moved towards being more isolating, i.e. expressing relationships via prepositions and word order, rather than inflection. Shifting from synthetic to isolating is a common pattern, and it doesn't imply a loss of meaning or richness.

Also, English vocabulary is significantly different to many other European languages. Most German/Dutch/Scandinavian vocabulary is basically Germanic, and most Romance vocabulary is basically Latinate (obviously loanwords exist). English has the unique position amongst European languages of being a Germanic language with an extensive Latinate/Romance vocabulary superimposed on top of its Germanic vocabulary. This results in frequent synonyms and a subtle system of social stratification based on use of the Latinate/Romance lexicon (technical/literary vocabulary is mainly derived from Latin and Old French). This could be regarded as a complication, but I wouldn't make such a simplistic assumption.
Sophie Febbleforth - Sat, 02 Feb 2013 09:27:14 EST VEd5LuzV No.8718 Reply
And yet, Old English had much of this same richness. But we dropped most of our germanic terms in favor of latinate equivalents because they were seen as more "elegant."

Regardless, >>8712 yes there is homophony within English, of course there is! That exists in every language. English tenses are very simple, consisting of the present and the past, formed by either changing a vowel or adding a -d/-t. Compare that to things like soy-fui or suis-fus
Hedda Mollybury - Sat, 02 Feb 2013 12:09:25 EST gZo/uwlN No.8719 Reply

You're just imposing your own value system onto language, change is not necessarily deleterious.

>because they were seen as more "elegant."
You can't summarise centuries of language change and co-existence like this. There was no common decision to adopt Norman words, their use predominated after a long linguistic milieu, wherein they coexisted, and extensive bilingualism existed in the merchant classes. Norman was a prestige language, but this was because of social factors, rather than the inherent elegance of the words.

tl;dr Language change is complex and 'simplicity' is a poor description for large, functioning languages.
Polly Drullyshaw - Sat, 02 Feb 2013 14:40:03 EST hJZLIVg3 No.8721 Reply

You missed the whole fucking point.

>yes there is homophony within English, of course there is! That exists in every language.

Of course English has allophones, just like every other language, but what makes it difficult is that we also have words that are spelled identically but PRONOUNCED differently AND mean different things, meaning there's no solid way of interpreting English orthography. You have to shrug and say "well, I just have to say it like THIS even though it's spelled like this"

>English tenses are very simple, consisting of the present and the past

You're oversimplifying not mentioning all the verbal aspects (past perfective, present, progressive, future perfective progressive, conditional perfective progressive, future simple, etc.) that makes English a fucking nightmare for lots of learners.

>formed by either changing a vowel or adding a -d/-t. Compare that to things like soy-fui or suis-fus

You're oversimplifying again. Yes, a lot of verbs add -ed/t, but just as many use alternations like swim/swam, run/ran, fall/fell, find/found and then the alternations WITHIN the verbal aspect like fall/fell/fallen, ring/rang/rung see/saw/seen, eat/ate/eaten, fly/flew/flown, go/went/gone etc. etc.

I'd rather deal with a few exceptions found in the highly-systemized conjugation in Spanish and French than wade through the shitstorm of spelling alternations in English.
Rebecca Barddock - Sat, 02 Feb 2013 18:46:56 EST at9vR3S7 No.8722 Reply

>coupled with highly-irregular past tense conjugation.

Have you ever studied Spanish?

Spanish past tense formation is MUCH more complicated than in English, and there are tons of irregular verbs.

"I am, I was, I used to be" ---Sure, that's kooky, but no kookier than "Soy, fui, era" AND "Estoy, estuve, estaba" (since Spanish has two infinitive verbs to deal with "be", whereas English only has the one.

It's not as if irregular past tenses are unique to English. Lots of languages have them.
Rebecca Barddock - Sat, 02 Feb 2013 18:48:02 EST at9vR3S7 No.8723 Reply

Also, sorry if that post seems a little harsh or irritable. Sometimes I come across that way but I'm not trying to.
Edwin Pockspear - Sat, 02 Feb 2013 19:21:20 EST VEd5LuzV No.8724 Reply
>Of course English has allophones,
allophones != homophones
>just like every other language, but what makes it difficult is that we also have words that are spelled identically but PRONOUNCED differently AND mean different things, meaning there's no solid way of interpreting English orthography.
I wasn't trying to defend the horrid, outdated orthography of English. There are arguable benefits to being able to spell homophones differently, but meh.

>You're oversimplifying not mentioning all the verbal aspects (past perfective, present, progressive, future perfective progressive, conditional perfective progressive, future simple, etc.) that makes English a fucking nightmare for lots of learners.
Yeah, the english aspect system is fairly complex. But the fact remains that a L2 speaker can easily make themselves understood with command of just do, did, and will do.
>Yes, a lot of verbs add -ed/t, but just as many use alternations like swim/swam, run/ran, fall/fell, find/found and then the alternations WITHIN the verbal aspect like fall/fell/fallen, ring/rang/rung see/saw/seen, eat/ate/eaten, fly/flew/flown, go/went/gone etc. etc.
All of your examples are just changing the vowel, see
>formed by either changing a vowel or adding a -d/-t.
It's really not that hard to examine it as two classes of conjugations, one centered in the suffixed dental consonant and the other on the changing vowel.

English verbs are incredibly regular, compared to most other languages. Yes, there are probably two dozen irregular verbs, I doubt that's above average.
Betsy Billingfuck - Mon, 04 Feb 2013 20:47:05 EST hJZLIVg3 No.8742 Reply

None taken.

Actually, I studied Spanish foe 3 years in highschool. I am well aware of the differences between 'soy' and 'estoy/ and 'ser' and 'conocer' while English only has 'to be' and 'to know'. Those are just two examples that you learn relatively early, and you examples of tense conjugations, alternations, exist by the hundreds in English.

Every language has its irregularites, all natural language does, it's just that English's lack of a stable conjugation system like Spanish or Russian makes it somtimes deceptive for foreigners. You can't easily guess conugations in English like you can for Russian and Spanish, even with the exceptions.
Nell Cobbleworth - Mon, 04 Feb 2013 20:51:16 EST VEd5LuzV No.8743 Reply
I stand corrected. But still, in the corpus of english, with all its many verbs, some 300 are irregular? That still doesn't seem like that many to me.
Nell Cobbleworth - Mon, 04 Feb 2013 20:52:38 EST VEd5LuzV No.8744 Reply
Correction: having read through that list, a large number of them are simply vowel-changing verbs, not irregular in the slightest.
Betsy Billingfuck - Tue, 05 Feb 2013 01:20:38 EST hJZLIVg3 No.8745 Reply
>Correction: having read through that list, a large number of them are simply vowel-changing verbs, not irregular in the slightest.

If it doesn't follow standard conjugation procedures to the T, than it's irregular.


Try looking at it less as something that you can just acomplish but more as adding to the aggregate of shit you need to know and keep in mind while you speak a language. Yea, 300 isn't a lot, but try remembering ALL of them along with the rest of the illogical shit you need to know. Such is the way of all languages.
Nell Cobbleworth - Tue, 05 Feb 2013 10:59:32 EST VEd5LuzV No.8749 Reply
Oh absolutely, irregularities are a pain, I encountered that learning Portuguese, but I disagree over the "standard" conjugation pattern. Even things like fall/fell/fallen can be explained through a combination of vowel ablaut and a past particle suffix. I guess it doesn't matter since if students are taught that the "regular" is just the -d/t then yeah, the rest are going to be a vexing pain.
Edwin Dunnerdock - Tue, 05 Feb 2013 14:36:47 EST 6meQSuY9 No.8750 Reply

>a large number of them are simply vowel-changing verbs, not irregular in the slightest.

Changing a vowel to form the preterite of a verb in English IS irregular.

Regular verbs in the English language are made preterite by adding "d" or "ed" to the bare infinitive. Verbs that are not like this in the preterite are irregular.
Edwin Dunnerdock - Tue, 05 Feb 2013 14:37:18 EST 6meQSuY9 No.8751 Reply

Oh sorry, didn't notice this post. Not trying to be pedantic or anything.
Clara Dubberstun - Tue, 05 Feb 2013 23:51:46 EST VEd5LuzV No.8755 Reply
1360126306398.jpg -(77087B / 75.28KB, 711x427) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size.
>Changing a vowel to form the preterite of a verb in English IS irregular
Okay, so we both agree that this is the way it is taught, but I disagree that this is the way it actually is. Vowel change has been a form of indicating change of tense in English (and iirc plenty of other germanic languages) for as long as it has existed. So if we choose to reexamine the tense system as having two classes of conjugation, one with the -d/t and others with the vowel change, I personally think it would be easier to tackle for L2 learners. Of course, I could be totally wrong, I've never had to learn English.

No problem
Nigger Tootcocke - Wed, 06 Feb 2013 04:52:01 EST fa47rx37 No.8756 Reply

Have you people ever read about English grammar at all? How English is taught in anglophone schools is beyond me, good Lord.

In a simplistic manner, English has two "classes" of verbs that are "strong" and "weak" verbs. This duality exists in all Germanic languages. What >>8750 is calling "irregular" are not irregular at all but verbs which are governed by rules of their class. You might think they are irregular because they change their stem form but in fact their vowel change is definitely systematic. Weak verbs are those which do not change their stem form and add the (often schwa and) consonant -t or -d (depending on how the stem ends). To contrast, the verb "to be" in English is definitely irregular, not belonging to either class.
Martha Fanman - Tue, 20 May 2014 18:27:41 EST v8HtwEYi No.11398 Reply
I study spanish russian and chinese because they are the runners up for global #1 human language, after english
and body language...
G - Tue, 20 May 2014 23:00:48 EST wcroYsxC No.11402 Reply
I am so. very. very. motherfucking. thankful! that human-history played out in such a way that (for the most part), English is the only 2nd language worth learning. nigga!
Jenny Dartcocke - Wed, 21 May 2014 07:06:51 EST NqJL1ymG No.11403 Reply
So... yeah... but, arguably in English itself, because the ablauting verbs have atrophied in number so much (something all Germanic languages are going through but English especially) and the fact that we kinda octupled the possible ablauting patterns in part do to our bizzaro Great Vowel Shift, strong verbs are essentially irregular now. They aren't as bad as like go -> went or be -> is -> was, but the fact that there's little predictive power in the system undermines their claim at regularity. Unfortunately, the historical claim doesn't change the way they are now, no more at least than a claim that English, Greek, Tibetan, French, or Gaelic spells regularly, and exactly for the same reasons - sound change.

But I do agree that we disesteem our language too often. And I do agree that good study can relieve the perception of randomness.

Also, kinda relevant: http://www.grijalvo.com/Citas/Peculiar_English.htm
Henry Wommlesutch - Sat, 24 May 2014 20:16:56 EST vnCJt5Hl No.11411 Reply


Thanks. I'm going to start using that.
Dick Butt - Sat, 01 Nov 2014 15:57:30 EST xGWeyqZ3 No.11824 Reply
Yes you can, I'm french and this is the fist time I see these words put together
Oliver Pirryhall - Wed, 05 Nov 2014 13:33:00 EST uOXkixGi No.11831 Reply
inferiority complex much?

They're not saying French is better, they're saying the uniqueness of every language is awesome
Hamilton Mirrywad - Sat, 08 Nov 2014 06:39:15 EST zEx7MMIU No.11836 Reply
>How English is taught in anglophone schools is beyond me, good Lord
It's not really. It's barely touched on in anglophone schools. I learned more about the grammatical structure of English in a French school in France than I ever did in a Canadian, Australian or British school. They just assume you know the details by growing up with it as your mother tongue.

And then they wonder how kids get to high school talking all funny-like and struggling to write basic sentences.

>There is an old-fashioned word which means the same thing in English: afterwit.
Thank you.
Polly Sumblecocke - Sat, 08 Nov 2014 19:49:35 EST ov1SUctq No.11839 Reply
Look at what you did, OP. Schadenfreude bastard.
Ian Goodbury - Sun, 09 Nov 2014 03:51:20 EST Ee79pa92 No.11840 Reply
Dear Milan Kundera:

The English word for Litost is Regret.


Sophie Nabbersare - Wed, 12 Nov 2014 10:09:48 EST JGkxUoCj No.11850 Reply
I'm not a linguist in any way shape or form but is there any actual point to words having a gender? Who gives a shit if the moon is a chick and the sun has a dick that doesn't impart any meaningful information whatsoever
Esther Firryson - Wed, 12 Nov 2014 22:41:34 EST Z1v+SCTB No.11851 Reply

tl;dr history and it makes things clear what goes where

In ancient times the old languages that French, English, German, Gypsy, Greek, Armenian, Irish, Russian, Farsi, etc spoke with a very free word order. They could put the action before the doer or the done-to after, depending on what they needed to emphasize, sometimes leaving out parts that didn't need to be said. That was only enabled by having word endings, In English today you can't say "the mouse caught the cat", you have to say "the cat caught <i>the mouse</i>" while changing pitch and tone etc for the emphasis or else you imply that the mouse was the doer and not the done-to.

But there was another reason for those word endings: the basic word order. When they weren't moving things around for emphasis, it usually meant that a normal way of saying something was "doer done-to action". But that put 2 nouns on the same side of the sentence, so to keep things clear and ordered they'd have to talk like "thing(doer) thing(done-to) verb". And it wasn't that bad to talk that way: there's an abstract logical reason that makes it very easy to order arguments that way - if our math worked that way, for example, we wouldn't need order of operations. Plus it was only usually 1 sound, not a whole word, attached to the end (eg Cattus muscam capit, where Catt- is a stem and -us is an ending, where musc- is a stem, and -am is an ending).

Originally there were no genders, but certain things never found themselves in the doer role, because of usually real reasons like pots don't do things or rocks or so on. When the languages changed a bit they reinterpreted a lot of do-nothing things as looking like done-tos even in the doer role of sentence; even though rocks don't do things maybe a spirit possessed one and caused it to, right - but whats the doer form? Everyone forgot.

This was the first set of genders - animate and inanimate. Animate things were people, some animals, and other things that did things, inanimate things were things that didn't do things, like rocks, tools, or sometimes plants or other similar stuff.

Some nouns are really complicated though - is love a thing or not? It's abstract, so it's an abstract thing. What about things like water? It can both do things, eg flow like a river, and not do things, what still water does. It's also really hard to count some things, like water, and easy to count others, like pebbles, and since the counting endings had to go next to the what is it doing endings, they kinda blended.

Originally, there was just an ending (an h sound, which in Latin at least became a sounds, and usually -e by the time it came to English) for groups of things. This was however used to count some abstract things that can't be counted like love. Then people started thinking that the group ending was an abstract ending, and started putting it on a bunch of abstract words.

Actions that got turned into things were considered abstract too, and one in particular, birth-giver got the ending. This was then generalized like above to things having to do with birth-givers, and a new paradigm was made: default animate things, abstract or feminine things, and inanimate things, which was quickly reinterpreted to masculine things, feminine things, and neuter things. The masses of nouns is also why in Latin, the ending -a can mean the word is a singular feminine noun or a plural neuter noun. Or why in Spanish, some masculine nouns, going back to neuters in Latin and thus being some of the oldest words from the old language, turn into feminine nouns in the plural.

The new genders though meant that a lot of the details in the case endings, the what's doing what endings, could erode, because there was some redundancy. Most of the languages were already putting their verbs in the middle of things making things more redundant. There's a problem with that though; most of the logic in how a sentence is structured depends on the order of the action and the done-to, and that included where to put adjectives. So in the daughter languages sometimes you'd get nouns right beside each other and an adjective in the middle. But since these languages were gradually in the process of turning their words around to match the core logic, that meant adjectives were ambiguously tied to either noun around it; Latin even made that a feature of it's poetry. But gender, which Latin poetry tried to get around, let it be clear who the adjective belonged to about 66% of the time, thus it stayed.

Most of the European languages, while even though some don't need it, are in a transitioning state from the rigid verb-last or verb-not-last word orders, and so you get things like English having it's adjectives in front of nouns even though they should be behind them logically, like French. German, a close relative, does something really complicated due to being a transitional form but in secondary ideas still puts the verb last, though, so it's adjectives are in the right place, and English spoke like that only 700 years ago. Things ingrained like that take a while to disappear, and usually are doing something to make things a little easier to understand.

But you should know, Armenian, a distant cousin, also doesn't have that gender to keep things clear anymore. Neither, iirc, does Bengali. So it's not absolutely necessary, it just helps keep things very clear and simple when being talked to, if not to talk.

Sorry if I talked down to you at all - since you're not a linguist in any way shape or form, I didn't want to risk overcomplicate it with terms like predicate logic or get into a talk about suffixaufnahmen or anything.
Faggy Bockleway - Fri, 14 Nov 2014 15:00:49 EST LN34p4C8 No.11852 Reply
What a horrifically eurocentric assessment!

You did a great job but answered the question how grammatical gender evolved in PIE but not why grammatical gender is needed. Uralic and Turkic languages never parse their words for gender; they even have gender neutral pronouns. Afro-Asiatic languages also have grammatical gender although there's evolved independently from PIE's. Coincidently, the (classical) Arabic feminine ending ة was also a glottal fricative (h) and is still written as such but these days you just pronounce a or at.

Sophie Nabbersare is correct in thinking grammatical gender has no extricable purpose. It once did in PIE did but it's nothing more than a vestigial feature.
Frederick Chundlelock - Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:17:18 EST +5oX0u2R No.11879 Reply

it often makes it more clear what you are referring to exactly when you say "it"
depends on the language.
Is it necessary, no. is it useful? yes. considering how easy it is for kids to learn it anyway there is no reason not to have like 20 genders.. and there are some languages that have genders in the double digits
Nathaniel Gerrysteck - Sat, 13 Dec 2014 15:39:27 EST 4wV/INP8 No.11900 Reply
I wish we did. All this character, personality and individuality repulses me. It's disgustingly inefficient.

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