Communicating in English

Adam   Wednesday, May 07, 2003, 18:15 GMT
I can speak French but the rules of the forum say that i'm not allowed tp speak in other languages which is a bit strange.
>>>   Friday, May 09, 2003, 04:47 GMT
Speaking in English is a big advantage to anyone. Language is a part of culture, but English holds a special title in that there are a lot of cultures that the English language encompasses. Take the 3rd and 4th generation Mexican-Americans who speak hardly a word of Spanish, yet they still have theri Mexican traditions. Or the Irish who speak no Gaelic, yet they are still very much so "Gaelic."
zapata   Saturday, May 10, 2003, 08:32 GMT
To >>>

For me, these Mexican-Americans who hardly speak a word of English are not true Mexicans, although they celebrate our traditions. They are just American
Kabam   Saturday, May 10, 2003, 10:33 GMT
To 'To Adam'
I think English is one of the easiest language to learn but only from a westerner perspective !
European languages have very similar grammar because they have been influencing each other for years, for centuries.
It's only when my sister discribed me her difficulties to learn Japanese that I realized it.
I'm French and only because of that, I've a clear advantage compare to Japanese who learn English. When I started learning it, I saw words very similar to my language. 'Tower' is close to 'tour', 'crown' to 'couronne', 'difficult' to 'difficile', 'simple' to 'simple', 'ball' to 'balle', 'activity' to 'activité' and so on. I never really felt lost in this language. Later, I even had the surprise that English use terms which I believed to be French only such as 'de rigueure' 'soi-disant' 'déjà-vu' 'en route' 'rendez-vous' 'tête-à-tête', etc.
We can't say a Japanese may experience the same thing. It's a different way of writting, a completely reversed grammar, there is no common roots excepted the English words recently incorporated in Japanese. Of course, all Japaneses know our alphabet (which they call romaji) but they use it to write Japanese in a very phonethic way. They may be surprised by the way 'through' is to be pronounced.
For a French, nothing is more normal than that, given nearly all of our words aren't pronouced the same way as their are written.

Therefore, I think a Japanese who speak English fluently has more credit than a French.
hp20   Saturday, May 10, 2003, 22:45 GMT
i've heard many people, and not just fellow westerners, say that english is very easy to learn, including asians and africans...i think it has a lot to do with sentence structure, however, that probably throws people off more than pronunciation. i know that that's my difficulty with foreign languages.
Kabam   Saturday, May 10, 2003, 23:25 GMT
Well. I've been too radical.

Yes, English is easy to learn for anyone. I just mean to emphasize the fact that it's even easier for a westerners.

And to offset what I've just said in my previous post, being french when you want to learn English has also drawbacks.
In fact, you may believe that you're supposed to use the most literary-sounding words in English just like you're asked to when speaking French. Plus, our teatchers most of the time are long to teach us the most usefull English words such as 'on', 'up', 'off' 'upon' 'in' 'towards' 'through' 'into' 'about' and so on.
Well they teach us them, in fact, but they often don't stress enough the fact that they can be used very freely and how much there are usefull to speak your mind even when you lack of vocabulary.

As for the accent, yes, the English one is special, and that's why I love it so much (not to mention the fact that there are actually a lot of different English accent, which is even better !).
>>>   Sunday, May 11, 2003, 02:40 GMT

This is interesting indeed. If you came to America, and ran into someone who spoke only Spanish who looks to be hispanic/Mexican, but then found out he was a third generation American, you would still think this person was just American?

As for English, it has some of the easiest grammar, but when one studies English grammar in depth, one will find out that it is not as simple and logical as the Romance languages (and I presume German and Dutch). Plus, the pronounciation is not as good as most other languages.
Clark   Monday, May 12, 2003, 06:39 GMT
Since I live in Southern California, I have Mexican-American friends. They consider themselves Mexican even though they were born in America. Their parents came from Mexico and they still have relatives there, but they consider themsleves full-blooded Mexican. I think this has something to do with the fact that they are full-blooded Mexican. Unlike European-Americans who have a bit of a whole bunch of European nationalities in them, they are just "Mexican."
Mandana   Friday, May 16, 2003, 23:11 GMT
hello Adam,
I agree with you. English is one of the hardest and the most troublesome languages I have learnt so far. English is irregular. There are more exceptions than regularities. The spelling is a mess.
There are confusing homophones : two words with different spelling and different meaning but the same pronunciation,e.g., "tow" and "toe".
there are homographes : two words with same spelling but different pronunciation and different meaning, e.g., "bow" and "bow".
And above all, the famous STRESS which is a nightmare for the non native speakers. If you don't lay the stress on the correct syllable, you can be totally misunderstood.
Sometimes, I think I am better off with French, German and spanish than English. In spite of all these difficulties, I love Enlish and I intend to learn and improve my Enlish as long as I live.
Mandana   Saturday, May 17, 2003, 00:41 GMT
Hello Clark,
You are speaking of the first generation of Mexican born in the US who consider themselves as Mexican rather than American. You should wait and see their children; the second generation. They will consider themselves less Mexican and more American and the thire generation still more....
The same thing happend with Italian or German who immigrated to the US. I don't thing they consider themselves American from the first generation in spite of their European nationalities.
Mandana   Saturday, May 17, 2003, 00:54 GMT
To clark,
I am very Sorry for typos ! I meant :
The same thing happened with Italian and German who immigrated to the US. I don't think they considered themselves American from the first generation in spite of their European nationalities.
Clark   Saturday, May 17, 2003, 01:00 GMT
I have Mexican friends whose parents came from Mexico, and I have Mexican friends who do not know when their ancestors came to American, but it was not their grandparents or great-grandparents. The latter all consider themselves to be Mexican over American. I have not yet met someone of Mexican origin who feels more American than Mexican.
KT   Saturday, May 17, 2003, 02:51 GMT

Does it have anything to do with how they feel about social acceptance? When you said they considered themselves to be Mexican over American, is that in a cultural sense? Do they (the 4th- or above generation) still speak Spanish? Just curious. Do they feel closer to Mexico than to America as their "home country"? Hm... or can it be analogized to your feelings about being English?
Clark   Saturday, May 17, 2003, 04:56 GMT
Yes and no. I have met two types of Mexicans, the first one being either immigrants themselves (their parents took them across the border) or the type two being the people whose ancestors have been in America for a long time. The first group obviously would speak Spanish (though not well mind you), and the second group can make themselves understood in Spanish, and sometimes they speak Spanish just to tell everyone that they are Mexican.

As for equating my Englishness to their Mexicanness, I think the first group of Mexicans would be more Mexican than I am English, and then the second group would be less Mexican than I am English.

However, I can be more patriotic towards England than most English people.
Mandana   Saturday, May 17, 2003, 09:51 GMT
Thanks Clark for your reply.
Isn't it because American people don't consider these Mexican as Americans?
Or because they have been living in their Mexican community with not much contact with American people ?
Are they fully assimilated ? Do they speak English like Americans ?