What Language Seems Almost TOO Difficult to Learn?

Guest   Mon Mar 24, 2008 1:48 am GMT
Celtic languages seem to have very few vowels as well.
Earle   Mon Mar 24, 2008 2:12 am GMT
Don't know quite what to say to that...
Guest   Mon Mar 24, 2008 2:33 am GMT
I'll have to check !Kung again on youtube. Okay, languages with "clicks" scare me a bit. If I had to learn the language, I would try, of course.

About Navaho:
I believe that they used code words within Navajo, so Japanese would have to dig a little deeper than the language, but I imagine you already knew that. I study Navajo off and on for fun, but I don't know much about that language group. It would be great to hear more, if you know more about this.
K. T.   Mon Mar 24, 2008 2:35 am GMT
Sorry, I forgot to "sign" again. The message at 2:33 was mine.
Earle   Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:02 am GMT
I'd like to know more. I'd assumed, of course, that they were using "slang." I have a friend, an Alabama Creek, who teaches and coaches on the Navajo reservation. I think I'll see what history he's picked up about it. I have checked to see if the Athabascan is pan-Pacific into the Kurils, but it doesn't appear to be so. There's been a lot of migration into those islands, but the oldest groups don't appear to be related to the Athabascan...
K. T.   Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:07 am GMT

Wiki-take it or leave it. Sometimes the info is right, sometimes not.

Interesting article-claims that other Native American languages were used and in some areas-Basque!
Earle   Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:21 am GMT
I've read it before. Before Wiki, in fact. (g) Some of the other choices, Comanche, etc., looked like better choices than Navajo, for the reasons I've mentioned. The bewildering proliferation of Native American tongues has never been adequately explained. Here's a trivia question for you. What do the founder of the Discovery Channel network and the co-founder of Wikipedia have in common? Answer is that they're both named "Jim," (Hendricks and Wales), and they're both from my hometown of Huntsville, AL...
Xie   Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:25 am GMT
Certain topics are quite related, so what I write could also be somewhat related.

"Too difficult" doesn't frustrate me. The world still goes on with all those mistakes non-natives make when speaking English. The lame excuses I mentioned are related to how people think _about_, esp., unknown foreign languages, when human language, as I see it, is a product of complicated ways of thinking.

Languages are special because they have to be learnt (or acquired, as you like). The funny thing is that we do have a lot of grammar and vocabulary books for learning, but it could be rather difficult to refrain from considering reality an abstraction rather than itself. It's true that I did learn ABOUT tones, names of radicals and history, etc, when I was in high school, but for second language learners at any age, I don't think it's a good idea to learn ABOUT such stuff instead of _just the language itself_. With their complicated ways of thinking, human beings have to think out of the box in order not to fall into the pitfall of thinking too much.

I'm afraid, though, I'm merely repeating what others have said about apparent difficulty of anything you can think of.
Guest   Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:53 am GMT
Guest   Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:22 pm GMT
Navajo sounds a nightmare with its 900+ verb conjugations. However have you heard of Archi? Apparently there are something like one and a half million possible declensions. I've NO idea how this can be possible???
Guest   Tue Mar 25, 2008 8:57 pm GMT
They follow a pattern. English has an infinite number of possible sentences but we can understand it because they have a pattern (grammar).
Guest   Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:11 pm GMT
<<I've NO idea how this can be possible??? >>

In some languages, the verbs agree with the direct and indirect objects and the listener, as well as the subject. Suppose you had such a language, and it had:

- 100 tense/mood/aspect/voice/etc. combinations
- 5 noun genders or classes
- 5 noun numbers
- 5 noun persons
- 5 noun "something elses"

A verb would then have 100 * (5*5*5*5)**4 or roughly 1.52587891E+13 inflected forms. I suppose most of the combinations would not occur, so this might get you down into the millions.

Creating spell checkers must be a challenge in languages like this.
Cahota   Sun Apr 06, 2008 2:06 am GMT
For me it would probably have to be Chinese. :-)
Guest   Sun Apr 06, 2008 6:16 pm GMT
From what I gather, Etruscan must be pretty tough.
Makrasiroutioun   Sun Apr 06, 2008 11:31 pm GMT
Tsez and most other Northwestern and Northeastern Caucasian languages are hard as hell. Most Aboriginal Australian languages too are horrifyingly difficult.