What's simpler, noun declinations or prepositions?

Travis   Fri Jan 02, 2009 8:19 am GMT
>><<Syntax is a nightmare. >>

Don't all languages have synatx? Wouldn't a simple language (like English) with only syntax, and almost no inflection, be much simpler than a language with ghastly inflectional complexity along with the usual syntax problems?<<

The matter with English is that a fundamental aspect of English syntax is the tying of verbs with prepositions and particles, to the point that they are very much part of the verb itself semantically. And the meanings of such combinations are by no means predictable either, but rather have to be learned for each such combination individually, especially in everyday spoken English. While one does to some degree see similar things with other languages, such as verbs' meanings being changed by their objects' case in Finnish, they generally do not take on the degree of complexity that is found with such forms in everyday spoken English.
Aldo   Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:40 pm GMT
<<English is a very tough language, particularly at a high level. Syntax is a nightmare.>>

I don't think so, English is a very simplified language grammatically maybe the most. The pronunciation is the one that could be a nightmare.
amour   Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:50 pm GMT
I don't think so, English is a very simplified language grammatically maybe the most.

Perhaps you should distinguish between morphology and syntax. English morphology is rather simple, it is probably the most simplified amongst the indo-european languages, but English syntax isn't easy at all.
Shrey   Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:36 am GMT
Czech is one hard language where noun declination as well as prepositions are a challenge. Like german, each preposition has more than 1 or 2 meanings (for eg. na - can be on, in which case you would use the accusative case, or in something in which case it would be a locative case).

The different cases are marked by the use of different prepositions. For eg:

na, pred, skrz, pres - accusative (the endings for masc inanimate - "a", masc animate - same as nominative; feminine - "u"; neuter - same)

do, od, z, bez, okolo, kolem, uprostred, blizko, daleko - genitive (endings for masc inanimate - "a"; masic animate - "u"; feminine - "y"; neuter - "a")

k, proti, naproti - dative (masc inanimate - "u"; masc animate "ovi"; feminine - "e' or a or e"; neuter - "a")

o, na - locative (again different endings for each gender similar to dative)

s, pr'ed, nad, pod, za - instrumental (masc inanimate and animate - "em"; feminine - "ou"; and neuter - same as masc).

Vocative - only when adressing people (masc and fem again have different endings).

In essence, learning these cases are not so bad (although learning the endings and adjectives can be quite a hassle as many words in Czech, unlike Slovak, have fairly unpredictable endings). What's worse is to be able to use all this grammar when speaking to a native (who speaks so fast, that you start getting things mixed up).