What is the closest language to English?

Uriel   Mon Sep 05, 2005 6:50 pm GMT
I think gender agreement with animal genders can tail off in actual usage. "Cow" is supposed to be a female bovine, but it ends up being a neutral version as well, and as someone who works around animals, I can attest that people may say mare or bull or queen or tom and then use "it's" in the same sentence.
Adam   Mon Sep 05, 2005 6:57 pm GMT
"You seem to be implying that because English doesn't make a table feminine or a lake masculine, it does not have grammatical gender"

They are both neuter in English - but mainly because they are inanimate objects. But it's still their "gender."

I saw a book, in Italy last year, that was teaching Italians English and it told the learner of English that English has three main "genders" - masculine, feminine and neuter.

But it says that English grammar is slightly different from other languages in that it is virtually "natural" grammatical gender, and we don't have different forms of "the" for each gender.
Adam   Mon Sep 05, 2005 7:03 pm GMT
"Gender in English is more functional compared to... say gender in French. In English, we know we're talking about a man's belongings or woman's by saying "his stuff" or "her stuff". In French, there is no such distinction by use of gender. Instead "à lui" or "à elle" is appended to confirm whether the person is male or female; "ses affaires à lui/elle" though "ses" here is feminine+plural and carries no functional meaning. I have the impression this is the same for all other Romance languages. I'm not sure about other European languages. "

In English, we say "his/her/its" when referring to the PERSON or THING.

So if the bag belongs to a man, it's "HIS bag."

If it belongs to a woman, it's "HER bag."

In French, the equivalent of "his/her/its" is "son/sa" and, if it's plural "ses", and they are used to refer to the OBJECT.

So "his bag" is "son sac", "her bag" is "son sac" and "its bag" is "son sac."

(Notice how English, with its three genders has "his/her/its" whereas French, with its two genders, only has "son/sa" They have no equivalent to mean "it")
Sander   Mon Sep 05, 2005 7:05 pm GMT
=>They have no equivalent to mean "it" <=

Duh, they don't know neutral words.Idiot.
Guest   Mon Sep 05, 2005 8:16 pm GMT
"(Notice how English, with its three genders has 'his/her/its' whereas French, with its two genders, only has 'son/sa' They have no equivalent to mean 'it')"

1. Er, the French equivalent of "it" is "il" or "elle" of course, depending on the gender.

2. What's your point?
JJm   Mon Sep 05, 2005 8:18 pm GMT
"'Bullshit, Flemish isn't even a language.'

What is it, then?"

It's Dutch.
Travis   Mon Sep 05, 2005 8:21 pm GMT
What most people call "Flemish" is just Dutch, and less far from Dutch Dutch than North American English is from Engilsh English at that. There is a separate language from Dutch known as *West Flemish*, which is spoken in West Flanders and French Flanders, but this is not spoken in East Flanders, where simply dialects of Dutch are spoken.
Sander   Mon Sep 05, 2005 8:24 pm GMT
I would really like you TO STOP saying this Travis. West Flemish IS NOT a separate language.But you're saying so as if it was a fact nonetheless.
Travis   Mon Sep 05, 2005 8:38 pm GMT
Like I'm seriously going to take you seriously about this, Sander, considering you seem to have way too much emotional attachment to the whole issue.
Sander   Mon Sep 05, 2005 8:43 pm GMT
I have no emotional attachment whatsoever.I just getting a bit irritated by your claims without providing the neccesary proof to back it up.

Just like I said on the (now unavailable) other forum.You all say it's separate but that's about all you know or say.
Uriel   Mon Sep 05, 2005 8:45 pm GMT
Oh, God, let's not start with the West Flemish again, guys....

Do West Flemish and Dutch have separate terms for "pointless debate"?
Sander   Mon Sep 05, 2005 8:47 pm GMT
Look, I don't care if Travis says that it's separate as long as people know that Travis says it is and that it's not to be confused with a fact.
Uriel   Mon Sep 05, 2005 8:52 pm GMT
Who decrees where closely related languages begin and end, anyway? These divisions can be fairly arbitrary.
Sander   Mon Sep 05, 2005 8:54 pm GMT
=>Who decrees where closely related languages begin and end, anyway? <=

Linguists. And just as US linguists are the best in their language so are the Dutch/Flemish ones in theirs.
american nic   Mon Sep 05, 2005 10:28 pm GMT
Who cares? For example, if suddenly tomorrow, US English was declared a different language than UK English, would it change either of them? No. So why does it matter if West Flemish and Dutch are different languages or just different dialects?

Besides, can West Flemish speakers understand Dutch ones? And vice versa? If the answer is yes, then they are the same language.