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View Diary: Origins of English: Some Rare Words (185 comments)

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  •  I took years of German. (1+ / 0-)
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    Not that I ever became fluent. But I did study it. And I love the language, but seriously, the best language for anything would be a stretch. LOL. Yes, let's just make compound words that go on for eight or nine syllables. Perfectly clear!

    I mean in English, I see run-on sentences, but run-on words are so much less an issue. :)

    by Magenta on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:38:36 PM PST

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    •  Nah, the compound words aren't that bad. (1+ / 0-)
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      It's sorta like what happens in English. There are lots of examples of this out there--and it is still going on right now--but the only thing I can think of at the moment is the movement from:

      home work

      •  They make sense to a point. (1+ / 0-)
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        I still laugh at under way, which as fake AP stylebook put it is "two words in all circumstances except those in which people say it."

        But some of the German ones do get ridiculous. Of course, Welsh does, too.

        Seriously, I think German is a lovely language. I wouldn't honestly say any language was best for anything. They all have their pros and cons.

        by Magenta on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:04:29 PM PST

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    •  don't you think that Germans are just lazy (3+ / 0-)
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      Magenta, Anak, Ojibwa

      to create different words and rather take a shortcut and add words together for efficiency? :) /ducking.

      •  No need to duck! ;) (1+ / 0-)
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        The German word for the cord that connects the baby with its mother is "Nabelschnur," navel cord.

        The German word for tooth doctor is "Zahnarzt," tooth doctor.

        The German word for pig meat is "Schweinefleisch," pig meat.

        Makes way more sense to me that to have in English:

        umbilical cord

        What's wrong with making things simpler?

        •  Ooops, please ignore that last sentence. (1+ / 0-)
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          What I meant was English didn't create different words for those three terms because English is somehow more creative. But, because of history, English is more opaque than German. Those three terms are very clear. That's why in German it is very hard to come up with lists of SAT or GRE words. In this way, English could be considered not to be an optimal language (I don't think like that, but, since that is what this subthread is about...)

          •  Definitely true. (1+ / 0-)
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            I mean the obvious one there is pig meat. It's pork because in Norman French that meant pig meat. So the classy people were eating French pig meat, and that's what stuck. Same with beef. Sure, still eating cow meat, but bouef was the classy term.

            Not sure why chicken didn't make that transition, actually.

            And no, they're none of them optimal languages. They are all human and all have their great humanity and along with that the human flaws.

            I wouldn't say that English is more creative, per se. It is willing to give a lot of flexibility that other languages discourage, though, and therefore evolves relatively quickly.

            Even if you go back to America in mid-20th Century, there are quite noticeable differences in speech patterns. Maybe that is true in other languages, but there seems to be more resistance.


            by Magenta on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:31:14 PM PST

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