I was trying to think of the languages that would, in theory, be the easiest for anyone to learn.
So, here are some points about language, and what language(s) does anyone think have simple qualities for all of them?
3.) Verb Tense(s)
4.) Verb Conjugations (Noun/Verb Agreement)
6.) Vocabulary (large, small, "pure" or many borrowed words [like English or Esperanto])
7.) Sentence Structure (free or fixed)
8.) Writing System
9.) Reputation of language (ex. English = international/business; Afrikaans = Apartheid [unfortunately])
10.) Noun/Adjective Agreement
11.) Verb/Adverb Agreement
12.) Languages that stick to rules (ex. "he runs fast" but "he runs diligently;" why not "he runs fastly" or "he runs diligent"?)
And I am sure there are many more.
Languages with simple...
Gender = English/Afrikaans/Turkish/Hungarian/Finnish/Estonian/Mongolian/Asian Languages(???)
Case/Decelnsion = English/Afrikaans/Romance languages (except Romanian)/Scandinavian language (except Icelandic)
Verb Tenses = This is a bit tricky. A language with a simple verb tense system would be a language close to your own.
Verb Conjugations = English/Afrikaans/Scandinavian languages (except Icelandic)
Singular Plural = Romance languages (except Romanian)/Any others???
Vocabulary = Same thing as the verb tense situation; a language similar to your own language's vocabulary will probably be easiest (this is why English speakers probably have easier times with Romance languages than Germanic ones because of similar vocabulary).
Sentence Structure = Same as verb tense and Vocabulary
Writing system = probably the Roman/Latin alphabet is the easiest because most people around the world today have seen it (or have used it)
Reputation of language = any language that has not been used by people who have done bad things (German may be an exception, but I spoke to a guy from Israel, and he said he did not like the German language simply because of what the Germans did to Jews in WWII)
Noun/Adjective and Verb/Adverb Agreement = English/Afrikaans/Scandinavian languages (except Icelandic)
Languages that stick to rules = Esperanto maybe? Is there such a natural language that sticks to the rules more than 90% of the time? I want to say Spanish, but then I think about French and I am sure that there are things similar in Spanish and French that would be considered exceptions for people who learn these two languages.
Yes, perhaps I am tired, or whatever, but I think that the idea of finding the perfect language is intriguing for some reason. But I think what it all comes down to is what pleases a person or what a person has to learn. Pennsylvania German is not the easiest language, but I really love it, so it does not seem so hard for me. French seems hard to me sometimes, but I love the language so much it does not bother me that I stumble sometimes when speaking/reading/writing in it.
Well, I hope everyone had a nice Halloween and have a good weekend.
I am just writing here now because I have nothing better to do. So here I ramble away...
I find it a bit odd that English-speakers would have a better time understanding (be it reaing, writing, speaking or listening) to a Romance language because of all of the Romance vocabulary in the language. Mind you, I have never seen any study done, but this is just my best guess that an English-speaker would find it easier to read something in French than Dutch without any prior knowledge in French or Dutch. But now that I have written this, I guess I do not find it that odd.
I used to wish that my native language was not English, or that I spoke a different language because of all of the non-Germanic words in the English vocabulary. But now I have realised that I love the English language, and all of my "frustration" towards the English language was actually at the fact that the spelling system is not that phonetic. I just wish there was some group that had a lot of power in politics and in some country's school system so that this group could change the English spelling system (and then maybe other English-speaking countryies would do the same). Or, we could adopt a different language as the written language for all English-speaking countries making English a spoken language only :-) This way, anyone could write the English language how they wanted because there would be no standard. This maaks sens, duznt it?.
I think that for English-speakers the easiest language would be Afrikaans. There are so many similarities between the two languages!
My pen is in my hand.
This looks like an English sentence, right? Well, yes, and it could be Afrikaans as well.
All right, I just thought of an interesting topic for another thread.
Bad reputation would depend on cultural groups, eg a Chinese person might hate the idea of Japanese. During Apartheid many blacks in South Africa hated Afrikaans as the language of the oppressor, but now this lable seems to be fading.
<all English-speaking countries making English a spoken language only :-) This way, anyone could write the English language how they wanted because there would be no standard. This maaks sens, duznt it?. >
the problem with English being only a spoken language is that English speakers would write with different spelling and phonetics and they would not be able to communicate in written English.
All the grammar rules one language can have, genders, verbs and stuffs are easy to get over with the habit.
To me the only "real" hard point of one language is the WAY OF SPEAKING!!!! The LANGUAGE HABITS.
It takes so long time to know which word is unformal/formal, old-fashioned...
And the expressions. Just look at this.
English : are you familiar with this place?
French : vous connaissez bien cet endroit? (=do you know this place well?)
Japanese : koko wa kuwashii desu ka? (=is this place precise to you?)
Zi, maybe I was not clear when I tried to explain what I was talking about. But when you quoted what I said, you did not quote all of it. I wrote, "Or, we could adopt a different language as the written language for all..."
This whole situation would never happen, but I figure that it is about as likely as spelling reform, so I do not feel stupid in posing this argument as an alternative to spelling reform.
Anyways, what I had in mind was that English would become a spoken language only and ALL of the English-speaking countries would adopt another language as a written language only; one that is not to be spoken at all. Whereas English is to be spoken and not written at all (in formal situations). So if I wanted to write to someone I know in English, I could do something like this; "Hiyuh; how r u doo-eeng? I aem ahlrIt."
In that case, written English would be very phonetic and easy to understand.