Friends International English Conversation Group

Tricky languages

Posted on: 13. September 2011

At our last meeting we discussed that languages are illogical. So English words seem to have a much different spelling for how they are pronounced. The f-sound in “rough” is the same as in “photo” and “fish“, but spelled totally different. And why is it “mice” and not “mouses”? Why is “aircraft” the same, no matter if it is one or more than one?

But is the German language much better? It is said that there, words are spoken as they are written. But what about “Ei“, the egg? Why do you pronounce it “ai” and not “ei“? And why do we have three genders, der, die and das? Why is the girl, “Mädchen“, neutral? Why is the bus male? Nobody will ever understand.

In English, there is a word “postpone” if you put a meeting on a later date. In Indian English, there is also a word “prepone“, a word that does not exist in other varieties of English. Which brought us to the German word “verfrüht“. You cannot use it in a context like “ich habe mich verfrüht”, meaning that I have arrived early. But there is the word “verfrüht” like “Es ist verfrüht, eine Entscheidung zu treffen”, meaning that it would be too early to decide on something.

English for Germans is difficult to learn because there are so many meanings to one word. But German is difficult for English to learn because there are so many rules.

If you would like to learn something about the oddities of languages, why don´nt you join our meetings on Tuesdays? There´s always something to talk about.


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