Which is easier to learn?

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Re: Which is easier to learn?

Postby philly_boy » Tue 21 Apr 2009 5:11 pm

Personally, because Greek is an Indoeuropean language and its my mother tongue, I had not problem learning English when me and my family were living in Philadelphia but I don't have that much difficulty with other Indo-European languages either. I find Turkish, on the other hand, hard to learn. Therefore I think its easier to learn a language that is closer to ur L1...
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Re: Which is easier to learn?

Postby linguoboy » Tue 21 Apr 2009 6:06 pm

Jayan wrote:I was wondering. In your opinions, which is easier to learn: a language which is closely related to your L1 but beyond a dialect (e.g. L1: English L2: Danish) or a language which is structured in a completely different way (I think an example would be L1: English L2: Japanese)?

There's no question that it's easier to learn a closely-related language than an entirely different one. The cases of interference are trivial compared to the massive advantages in terms of parallel syntax and, especially, vocabulary.

If I need to say something in, say, Spanish, I can always guess at it based on my knowledge of English. Sometimes I'm wrong and that word or construction doesn't exist (or exists with a very different meaning), but more often than not my meaning still makes it across. This doesn't work at all with Chinese or Turkish. Either I know the write thing to say or I'm completely SOL.
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Re: Which is easier to learn?

Postby Sean of the Dead » Wed 22 Apr 2009 3:06 am

Jayan wrote:I thought that, while being closely related to your L1 would give some advantages, it might be harder to adjust to the differences if every other aspect were similar.

This seems to affect me quite a bit, especially with Celtic languages. While they are IE too, they are just so weird that my brain doesn't like learning them. :/

On the other hand Japanese seems pretty easy, except the kanji, although they aren't hard; you just need a long time to learn them. ;)

Also, Inuktitut has no reason to be even slightly irregular. :P
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Re: Which is easier to learn?

Postby ILuvEire » Wed 22 Apr 2009 3:17 am

On the other hand Japanese seems pretty easy, except the kanji, although they aren't hard; you just need a long time to learn them. ;)

With Japanese, you have to drop anything you think you know about basic syntax. It's totally alien. That's my biggest issue.
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Re: Which is easier to learn?

Postby Dan_ad_nauseam » Wed 22 Apr 2009 7:14 am

I recently read that Japanese speakers tend to pick up Turkish fairly easily. Guy Deutcher, commenting on this, suggests this may be a function that both languages are SVO with postpositions, which tends to drive word order in parallel.

Based on this, I would suggest that of distant languages, similarity in syntax will be a significant factor. I did find that Mandarin, being SVO and isolating, was not as difficult as I expected.
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Re: Which is easier to learn?

Postby Talib » Wed 22 Apr 2009 9:19 am

Actually they are both SOV which is a common feature of Altaic languages (not implying that Japanese is one, it's just in the general Sprachraum of them). But you are right about that. They are also both agglutinative languages.

I agree with ILuvEire that Japanese is much harder than it looks. It has very little in common with English, structurally speaking.
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Re: Which is easier to learn?

Postby formiko » Thu 23 Apr 2009 1:40 am

I'm Cherokee, and while I'm not a native speaker, my grandmother was and she taught me. Cherokee is truly alien however. :shock: There are no /p/'s /b/'s, /v/'s or /f/'s. The lips do not move when speaking Cherokee. If you speak it with a grin, you're close :)
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Re: Which is easier to learn?

Postby Neqitan » Thu 23 Apr 2009 1:53 am

Talib wrote:Actually they are both SOV which is a common feature of Altaic languages (not implying that Japanese is one, it's just in the general Sprachraum of them). But you are right about that. They are also both agglutinative languages.

I agree with ILuvEire that Japanese is much harder than it looks. It has very little in common with English, structurally speaking.

And don't forget "the kludge of heroic dimensions"—applying Chinese characters to a language that didn't really need them.
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Re: Which is easier to learn?

Postby Dan_ad_nauseam » Thu 23 Apr 2009 4:13 am

Talib wrote:Actually they are both SOV which is a common feature of Altaic languages (not implying that Japanese is one, it's just in the general Sprachraum of them). But you are right about that. They are also both agglutinative languages.

. . . .


Yes, that was a typo.
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Re: Which is easier to learn?

Postby Sobekhotep » Fri 24 Apr 2009 11:18 pm

Sean of the Dead wrote:the kanji, although they aren't hard; you just need a long time to learn them. ;)

Not necessarily. Kanji can be learned in a matter of months, if you use the proper method.
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