What's strange about *your* language?

Dyme

New member
Nov 18, 2009
498
0
0
Zaeseled said:
Finnish. So far I haven't seen any other language or word (but then again, I haven't been looking either) that uses 3 same letters in a row.
Vaaka (base word) meaning "scale" (for weights, not reptile scales.)
Vaaan (possessive) meaning "the scale's".
In German there are some words such as Teeei oder Schifffahrt.

Apart from that:
All nouns start with a capital letter, which is probably my most-liked part about German.

Long sentence are regarded as nice and stylistically high-level.
Such as:
Mit diesem Vermoegen steht auch die transscendentale Freiheit nunmehr fest, und zwar in derjenigen absoluten Bedeutung genommen, worin die speculative Vernunft beim Gebrauche des Begriffs der Causalitaet sie bedurfte, um sich wider die Antinomie zu retten, darin sie unvermeidlich geraeth, wenn sie in der Reihe der Causalverbindung sich das Unbedingte denken will, welchen Begriff sie aber nur problematisch, als nicht unmoeglich zu denken, aufstellen konnte, ohne ihm seine objective Realitaet zu sichern, sondern allein um nicht durch vorgebliche Unmoeglichkeit dessen,was sie doch wenigstens als denkbar gelten lassen muss, in ihrem Wesen angefochten und in einen Abgrund des Scepticisms gestuerzt zu werden.

It is also common to split some verbs apart which results in stuff like this (thanks Mark Twain):
"The trunks being now ready, he DE- after kissing his mother and sisters, and once more pressing to his bosom his adored Gretchen, who, dressed in simple white muslin, with a single tuberose in the ample folds of her rich brown hair, had tottered feebly down the stairs, still pale from the terror and excitement of the past evening, but longing to lay her poor aching head yet once again upon the breast of him whom she loved more dearly than life itself, PARTED."
The verb is usually at the end of the sentence so often times you have to reach the end of the sentence before anything makes sense.


There are also some really long words in German, such as a law that was made in 2000:
Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz


Oh, and to anyone saying that English is a difficult language to learn: No, it is not.
 

SquallTheBlade

New member
May 25, 2011
258
0
0
Zaeseled said:
Finnish. So far I haven't seen any other language or word (but then again, I haven't been looking either) that uses 3 same letters in a row.
Vaaka (base word) meaning "scale" (for weights, not reptile scales.)
Vaaan (possessive) meaning "the scale's".
Actually, it's "vaa'an", and pronounced "vaa-an". Really long "a" just sounds stupid. So really not 3 letters in a row...
 

SckizoBoy

Ineptly Chaotic
Legacy
Apr 5, 2020
8,609
148
68
A Hermit's Cave
Iron Mal said:
This is why Cantonese is complex but for a different reason, it's an antiquated language (like Latin, Egyptian hyroglyphics or ancient Greek) that I'm assuming is mostly kept around today for traditional reasons (correct me if I'm wrong on that).
No, it's still widely spoken, and is the second most prevalent of the Sino-languages (70 million speakers, last time I checked) and still the most common Chinese language spoken outside China/Taiwan (Mandarin's slowly catching up thanks to migration patterns).

Still, regarding the rest, you make a fair point, especially regarding the difficulty in learning new languages at all. The difficulty encountered is merely a different sort. With Cantonese it's primarily to do with phonology, while English, its grammatical exceptions and contractions as you mention (as well as numerous other features).

However, as a departure from my question, these would be reasons why the languages are fascinating rather than necessarily strange. Because, as a spoken language, everything you say in English can be easily written down (with the possible exception of some onomatopoeic exclamations/expressions) whereas so much of spoken Cantonese literally cannot be written down. Granted, this may be due to the vagaries of written Chinese, being non-alphabetised or having syllable symbols (e.g. kana for Japanese), but it's still an aspect that one may identify as lunatic(!)
 

erto101

New member
Aug 18, 2009
367
0
0
In Denmark there's a huge difference between the spoken and written language. "Kunne" is "Ku'" when spoken.
 

Duruznik

New member
Aug 16, 2009
408
0
0
Hebrew has 2 different kinds of vowels- both letters and symbols serve as vowels.

Here are the symbols:

 

Piorn

New member
Dec 26, 2007
1,097
0
0
I find it weird how Germans use "english"-sounding words, but use them completely different from their original meaning. Would you guess what a "handy" is? It's the german word for mobile phone. And in germany, "public viewing" refers to an outdoor event with a big screen, like a broadcasted soccer match for example, and does not usually involve dead people.
 

Bloedhoest

New member
Aug 11, 2011
271
0
0
SwimmingRock said:
Not so sure I would call it *my* language, but I've always been baffled by Dutch expressions. They seem to make absolutely no goddamn logical sense. Like when you want to tell somebody they're being paranoid, you say (translated literally):"Stop looking for nails on low water." Seriously, what the fuck does that mean? Or "all silliness on a stick".

I can't remember many more off the top of my head, but it's happened to me quite a few times that I would have to turn to a Dutch friend to decipher what seemed to be complete gibberish, but was actually a commonly known Dutch expression.
Or "too look the cat out of the tree" and "Pulling old cows out of a ditch."
We are remarkable folk.
 

Cowabungaa

New member
Feb 10, 2008
10,806
0
0
Dutch is extremely odd. I can't think of another country that pronounces the R and G as weird as we do, except perhaps for Germany.

I also find it weird that, apparently, it's easier for Dutch people to learn the correct pronunciation of foreign languages than it is for foreign people (pretty much any country) to correctly pronounce Dutch. At least it seems that way.
ElektroNeko said:
Well, I'm from Holland, and I speak better English then I can speak Dutch...
Welcome to the club my friend.
Bloedhoest said:
SwimmingRock said:
Not so sure I would call it *my* language, but I've always been baffled by Dutch expressions. They seem to make absolutely no goddamn logical sense. Like when you want to tell somebody they're being paranoid, you say (translated literally):"Stop looking for nails on low water." Seriously, what the fuck does that mean? Or "all silliness on a stick".

I can't remember many more off the top of my head, but it's happened to me quite a few times that I would have to turn to a Dutch friend to decipher what seemed to be complete gibberish, but was actually a commonly known Dutch expression.
Or "too look the cat out of the tree" and "Pulling old cows out of a ditch."
We are remarkable folk.
Remember that commercial?
It's so silly, yet so so true.
 

uzo

New member
Jul 5, 2011
710
0
0
EDIT: I just realised this is a really long post. Sorry guys!!


Hmm .. native English speaker here, lived in Japan for a long time though.

As far as learning another language goes, I learnt Japanese to a university level grade (roughly ni-kyu level, if anyone knows what that means) in less than a year (mostly in the first 6 months) with zero formal study.

Best way to study? Video games. I had a PS2 and played a few of the Evangelion RPGs which were BRILLIANT at introducing Japanese. Every line of dialogue was spoken and simultaneously printed (in Japanese of course), meaning you got the double whammy of text (in Kanji/Hiragana/Katakana and occasional Romaji) plus the sound. I kept an elementary school kid's kanji dictionary with me (learning to look them up rapidly was tough - there were no furigana, and you couldn't repeat anything so you had to listen very keenly to the pronunciation).

The game was mostly a 'simulation' of Shinji's life at NERV. It started with him arriving and having the berzerker moment, and then it was .. just .. life. You had to go to school, you had to use the toilet and the bath, you had to go to sleep, you had to eat, you had to do your homework .. it was like the Sims but with Shinji!

The Angels would all come in different orders (never in the same order as the stories), and the whole theme of the game was you had to try and maintain your AT Field by interacting with the other characters, being comfortable, not being too stressed (think of the Sims 'happiness' indicator).

The problem was, like in the original Evangelion, everyone suffered severely from the hedgehog's dilemma. Asuka was a pretentious *****, Misato would get drunk and go to bed before you could tell her about your day, Rei would just stare at you silently, and Toji would kick the shit out of you regularly whilst the other kids pointed and laughed. But I persevered .. eventually, I managed to finish - except in my final play through it was Asuka AND Shinji AND Rei (original Rei - she didn't die once!) versus the Series 9 Evas. AWESOMENESS!!

Then, when I said 'hot damn I gotta play that again!' I started a new game ... AND GUESS WHAT !!??

I'd unlocked OTHER characters to play through the story as. As I continued to play it, I unlocked EVERYONE. Fuyutsuki, Gendo, Misato, Toji, Maya .... hell, you could even play the damned game as goddamn PEN PEN.

The point I'm trying to get to is the conversations in the game were dependent on which character to which character, which emotion, which situation - for example; I'd play as Shinji talking to Asuka in the NERV cafeteria, and the conversation (even if I chose the same responses 'be nice', 'be rude', 'laugh', 'smile', etc.) would be completely different speech than if I talked to Gendo. The game demonstrated *perfectly* how different people speak to different people in Japanese. Coupled with time limits (you had to respond promptly or the other character would get the shits and walk off) and a topic I enjoyed (Evangelion), I rapidly surpassed even my friends who had studied Japanese for years - some even who had lived in Japan for decades!

Check it out. I just found this on You Tube - I didn't record this, but it'll give you an idea of what the game is like.

 

socialmenace42

New member
May 8, 2010
392
0
0
Well, my mothers tongue is English but my second is German and I have to be honest; not only is it one of the most gramatically bizarre languages in Europe, but it has a feature that I'm relatively sure must be unique: a structured system of inventing new words for new situations, often by simple means of glueing existing words together.

Eg: The german word for Workers union is 'Berufsgenossenschaft' which, taken appart into two words is a flowery way of saying 'Job Members Group' German politics for a example are riddled with such 'Frankinstein's monster' terms.

Although admittedly, Mostly Germans are too lazy and use English words wherever they can...
 

SckizoBoy

Ineptly Chaotic
Legacy
Apr 5, 2020
8,609
148
68
A Hermit's Cave
Piorn said:
I find it weird how Germans use "english"-sounding words, but use them completely different from their original meaning. Would you guess what a "handy" is?
*sigh* Whenever I hear that, I end up repeating this in my head with a really really really camp voice (OK, Stephen Fry in a ditzy mood!): 'Wo ist mein Handy?! Ich habe mein Handy verloren![footnote]Bugger, that is the first person singular past-tense of verlieren, isn't it?[/footnote]' LOL

Just as well it's not really used in Swiss German... otherwise I'd've been cracking up a lot more than I already did at uni...
 

Housebroken Lunatic

New member
Sep 12, 2009
2,544
0
0
The strangeness I'd like to contribute doesn't have too much to do with the swedish language itself but more about the strange relationship between english and swedish during certain very peculiar instances:

The first would be the word for "strawberry".

Now the swedish word for "strawberry" is "jordgubbe" which pretty much means (directly translated): "earth man" or "dirt man" or "dirt geezer". It's wierd because wild strawberries (considerably smaller than normal strawberries, but famously known for being picked and then put on straws several in a row) are called "Smultron" in swedish.

So if you look at it one way, the english are pretty much using the word that we use for "Smultron" (or at least the english word seem to describe "Smultron") but for the much larger fruit that CAN'T be pierced and put in rows on straws because the straws would break. It's also pretty wierd why the swedes came up with the word "dirt geezer" for the larger fruit (I mean, it seems like a pretty arbitrary choice).

The next word would be the word for "Snake".

Now it's like this: the word used in english for Snake, is pretty much the same word we use for a very specific kind of snake, namely the "grass snake" ("Snok" in swedish).

BUT, the word for Snake in Swedish is "Orm", which is pretty much the same word as "worm" (i.e the word used for nightcrawlers in english).

So there's really a strange relationship between languages that share common ancestors and are pretty closely related, the way how some words that are pretty much identical refer to different things or the way that some words are used for more generic descriptions in one language, but in the other language that word describe something very specific.
 

aashell13

New member
Jan 31, 2011
547
0
0
varulfic said:
Also, we have different words for different grandparents, depending on wether it's the parents of your father or your mother... why don't you have that english people? Seriously, get on this, your way is confusing.
we do: paternal & maternal. so your mother's parents would be your maternal grandparents, and your father's parents would be your paternal grandparents. Nobody uses this much though, and I'm not sure why.
 

Bloedhoest

New member
Aug 11, 2011
271
0
0
socialmenace42 said:
Well, my mothers tongue is English but my second is German and I have to be honest; not only is it one of the most gramatically bizarre languages in Europe, but it has a feature that I'm relatively sure must be unique: a structured system of inventing new words for new situations, often by simple means of glueing existing words together.

Eg: The german word for Workers union is 'Berufsgenossenschaft' which, taken appart into two words is a flowery way of saying 'Job Members Group' German politics for a example are riddled with such 'Frankinstein's monster' terms.

Although admittedly, Mostly Germans are too lazy and use English words wherever they can...
Flugabwehrkanonenpanzer. An AA gun mounted on a tank.
The Dutch language has the same, combine words to make new ones. Even if the damn thing doesn't exists.
 

Renegade-pizza

New member
Jul 26, 2010
642
0
0
In Afrikaans you have to say "nie"(not) twice in a sentence or some other doubled negative.
For e.g.: (This is basically directly translated): You do not have to do that not. Putting the second negative can be ***** sometimes, since literally only 2 countries officially speak Afrikaans and I go to an English school.

This may not exactly be strange, but Afrikaans actually has two words for family. "Familie": Your entire group that shares a common ancestor and "Gesin": i.e. Mom, dad and siblings. I'm actually surprised that English doesn't also have two words for it.
 

Bloedhoest

New member
Aug 11, 2011
271
0
0
Hagenzz said:
"Any more sand needed?" is also a baffling one. In case that's just in Belgium, it's used when someone has said something stupid.
"To jump from the heel to the branch"
And so on.

Also, again, I'm not aware of the situation in the Netherlands but here in Belgium there's about 6 million people who speak dutch, and there's about 800 different dialects, each with their own sayings, slang terms, you name it.
And even though for instance, I, being from Antwerp, pronounces my a's (usually pronounced as in after in dutch) more as o's, everyone understands everyone.
Except those assholes from West Vlaanderen, they're just unintelligible.
Ah yes, the dialects. Just as you think you mastered the Dutch language, someone starts jabbering at you not pronouncing letters and mumbling somewhat.