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  1. #11
    Senor Membrane
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    I've never spend time on Finnish forums, so, I can't really compare the English forum language and Finnish forum language. The only problem I have with English is that I know there are lots of subtleties I don't recognize. I am pretty good, but I guess I'll never be good enough. If I want to say something, I usually am able to say it, it just might lack the tone I was going for.

    I've thought about this question a lot when I was exchange student. The words are especially interesting. In Spanish they have different "grades" of love (te quiero, te amo), for example, which is unlike Finnish or English. And I see this as a reflection of their more easygoing relationship culture.

  2. #12
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    I think your English is very good, nolla. I haven't noticed that I'm not speaking to a native-born speaker when I speak to you.
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anja View Post
    I haven't noticed that I'm not speaking to a native-born speaker when I speak to you.
    Really?! That's surprising. I feel like my active vocabulary is really limited. I could speak with a lot more variety, but I never remember to and then I just end up using the same words I always use.

  4. #14
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    I'm not sure where I fit on this language scale. I'm not a native English speaker, BUT in some ways my English is better than my mother tongue. What do I mean by this... I'm a Cantonese speaker... which is a chinese "dialect" that is very commonly used, especially from Hong Kong which was were I originated. Cantonese is more of a spoken language, when we write, it is in "Chinese" aka Mandarin. The sentence structure for the two are slightly different. There are also more/different word and phrases used in Cantonese than in Mandarin. Now that I'm in Canada... I don't write in Chinese anymore... I forget. Written English is much easier to handle. I think and write in English for myself, and reserve Cantonese pretty much only when I need to converse with my family.

    That said, in terms of psychology... I find myself doing this. When I speak in English, my thoughts are stated within the constrain of the English language... rarely do Chinese phrases/structure come to me unless I was reminded of idioms which succinctly describe some concept I was trying to express in English. When I speak in Cantonese... I switch over... but English words occasionally slips in... however (here's the funny thing) I only use English word if the listener understands what it means. Much of this occurs unconsciously, the selection of words...

    It's as if I have my "thought ideas" then they're automatically translated to either a stream of consciousness in English or in Cantonese. The nuisances behind particular words in the language stays within that language. Which makes me a horrible translator because I understand exactly what the speaker means, but I cannot convey the depth of meaning in the translation for somebody else. My parents once told me they have a difference experience... since Cantonese has always been their first and foremost language, when speaking in English, they translate. Thoughts in Cantonese translated into words in English... And what they hear in English translated back into Cantonese. Their basis for thoughts is in Cantonese... therefore their thought patterns would be defined by such.

    There are definitely major differences between the two language. Cantonese has many many more words than English... It has even more than Mandarin. Word phrases and idioms in Chinese is far superior to that of English. We call them "four word idioms"... literally an idea encapsulated within 4 words (characters... we don't use alphabets. We cannot sound out words... you can guess at the meaning of words based on its structure, but you wouldn't know what they sound like unless you've learnt the word.). Most of those are associated with a story (because the many tribes in China originally did not have written language... to pass on ideas and history is by the word of mouth. And stories are much easier for that purpose... these stories stayed.) Perhaps that's the reason why those phrases slips into mind when I'm on English mode at times.

    The reverse can be said for English... some words contains subtle meaning that isn't reflected in the normally used form of the word in Chinese. Sometimes I wreck my mind trying to translate something for my parents. I'm trying to think of examples here but they're not coming.

    Quote Originally Posted by Antisocial one View Post
    So my question for all people whose native language is English:
    Do you sometime notice that English is somewhat too simple to state your thoughts in a right way without saying large number of words,
    or do you not know for anything else and use what you have/know?
    (if you don't know any other language)
    I don't think this is true at all... your thoughts are channeled by the language you've learned. If you only know English, then your thoughts will rarely deviate from its set form. You wouldn't think you're lacking in words because ideas and emotions outside of that language set never occurs to you.

    A social psych professor told us some tribal people in Indonesian has a word to describe the moment of awkwardness when a boy and a girl sit down on their first date when they have some much they wanted to say but are completely tongue tied. Would you have thought such a term is necessary until you know of another language that has that word? I doubt it...

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    It's as if I have my "thought ideas" then they're automatically translated to either a stream of consciousness in English or in Cantonese. The nuisances behind particular words in the language stays within that language. Which makes me a horrible translator because I understand exactly what the speaker means, but I cannot convey the depth of meaning in the translation for somebody else. My parents once told me they have a difference experience... since Cantonese has always been their first and foremost language, when speaking in English, they translate. Thoughts in Cantonese translated into words in English... And what they hear in English translated back into Cantonese. Their basis for thoughts is in Cantonese... therefore their thought patterns would be defined by such.
    Hah... This is funny, I'm also a really bad translator for the same reason. When I talk English I also need to think English. If someone asks me what does this word mean, I might explain it with five different ways just to make sure they catch the meaning as well as possible. Probably it is only confusing them. It is like I haven't even thought about what do the words mean in Finnish.

    BTW, could this thinking vs translating be a N vs S thing?

  6. #16
    IRL is not real Cimarron's Avatar
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    Because this is your prime example, I'll fix it so that it makes sense in English:
    Quote Originally Posted by Antisocial one View Post
    Here are some examples of the differences.

    In English, "ocean" is considered* an "it" (meaning the pronoun to use in place of "ocean" is "it"), but in Croatian it is considered a(n) "he".
    In English, "apple" is considered an "it", but in Croatian it is considered a "she".

    And there are countless examples of this. This works for almost all nouns.
    Notice that I chose "consider", since that's how I would usually talk about the translations of words. But we could also use "called", "labeled", or even "categorized". Each one indicates something different that we're doing with the translation, so it depends on how we understand our process and goal.

    "consider" = Thinking closely and carefully about the ocean for a while
    "called" = An automatic reaction; we see an ocean, and the word pops into our mind
    "labeled" = A fast reference system, focusing on the one item (ocean)
    "categorized" = Put into a system, this time focusing more on the whole system than on the item itself

    "Categorized" and "labeled" are probably more appropriate for what you're trying to say, as you said "rated"--though "rated" can't be used in this sense, not in proper English. It could pass if you meant it in a dramatic or poetic sense.


    This is definitely an interesting topic, and something I've been wondering for a while (as I've been taking Latin) about how words mold thought.
    You can't spell "justice" without ISTJ.

  7. #17
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    I think interchangeably in english or italian - even when I am speaking in Italian, sometimes I think in english - so I don't have that type of trouble. I think the two languages are quite different.

    In Spanish they have different "grades" of love (te quiero, te amo), for example, which is unlike Finnish or English. And I see this as a reflection of their more easygoing relationship culture.
    Well, Italian possesses the same distinction. However, I do not think that it is a reflection of a more easygoing attitude; "ti amo", that is "I am romantically in love with you", is used exclusively inbetween couples - whereas "ti voglio bene", "i love you", can be used for friends-family.
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

  8. #18
    Queen hunter Virtual ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cimarron View Post
    Because this is your prime example, I'll fix it so that it makes sense in English:

    Notice that I chose "consider", since that's how I would usually talk about the translations of words. But we could also use "called", "labeled", or even "categorized". Each one indicates something different that we're doing with the translation, so it depends on how we understand our process and goal.

    "consider" = Thinking closely and carefully about the ocean for a while
    "called" = An automatic reaction; we see an ocean, and the word pops into our mind
    "labeled" = A fast reference system, focusing on the one item (ocean)
    "categorized" = Put into a system, this time focusing more on the whole system than on the item itself

    "Categorized" and "labeled" are probably more appropriate for what you're trying to say, as you said "rated"--though "rated" can't be used in this sense, not in proper English. It could pass if you meant it in a dramatic or poetic sense.


    This is definitely an interesting topic, and something I've been wondering for a while (as I've been taking Latin) about how words mold thought.
    I am glad that you understand exactly about what this thread is about. I guess that example was more demonstrative then I planned.

    If I want to post anything I must start to think on english and if it is something more simple I can do it.


    But there is a problem since I don't exactly think on Croatian either.
    I usuall think on some quite abstract ways and I have problems with saying things on any lanaguage. But Croatian is the one I am used to.

    The thing is that first I have form idea, then I have check is next to others things in "database" to make sure that entire thing makes sense and to make sure that this is actually what I want to say.

    Then I can form it onto a normal sentence that has Croatian logic in it and then I can start to turn it into a sentence on English.

    So what you get in the end is not exactly the same as things that are going around my head.


    From what I know Ni-dom people have problems in placing words into thoughts and I am curious about waht INFJs and INTJs think about this.
    Do we have our own Ni language?
    (I know that I am exaggerating to some degree)

  9. #19
    The Destroyer Colors's Avatar
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    Of course languages are different. They represent the cultural contexts they came from. (That whole many-words-for-snow example comes to mind.) You could argue it goes the other way too- that language shapes the culture. I lean more towards the first way though.

    Living in the US, I am much more versed in English than Vietnamese, but I speak both well enough to note important distinctions. (Another example of language reflecting culture is all the the familial relationship words in Vietnamese. Your mom's younger brother's wife has a special name/title.)

    The emphasis is English, I feel, is on the preciseness of each word. And then you needs lots of filler transition words to connect each word to its neighbor. To tweak the meaning of an English word, you'd probably choose a completely different word, rather than one with a similar root. English's strength is in coining new words.

    Vietnamese is much more flexible. The emphasis is on the context of word- it's function in the whole of the sentence, paragraph, etc- and the flow of the meanings together. Vietnamese doesn't have verb tenses. And it's written so that each syllable is separate, so it can often take two or three "words" to make up a meaningful noun, etc. But it doesn't have as mixed origins like English does- competing roots from Latin, Greek, French, Germanic, etc. I better understand the roots in Vietnamese because they even sometimes stand alone. All this contributes to paying more attention to the connotations and the context of the surrounding material than to the word-order and parts-of-speech like in English.

    I do sometimes confuse English and Vietnamese- especially when it comes to metaphors. I'm always mixing metaphors (even when thinking of a single language), a problem exasperated by differing symbolic interpretations of the same objects. When I'm thinking of "plenty of fish in the sea", I'm also thinking of the expression "catch fish [in each] hand" (which means "is a player"). This leads to some interesting sentences.

    Maybe that's why I never understood Spanish I took in high school. I never "got" the voice of it, I suppose. the *how* to speak. (Instead of the "what" to speak- words and verb tenses.)

    I think most people don't directly speak in words most of the time. I have concepts (and often images) in concpetions, but I don't formulate words unless I am composing a response to something.

  10. #20
    Senior Member Darjur's Avatar
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    I'll give my input on Lithuanian.

    Lithuanian is a language that presents one with the complete detailed picture of something in a fast and extremely detailed way, but it only really works for the material, it's absolutely perfect for that, but what concerns the "immaterial" Lithuanian becomes "edgy".

    From a grammatical point of view, Lithuanian is not a language that you "put together" like English, someone could theoretically decipher basic rudimentary English with a dictionary alone. In Lithuanian on the other hand, a dictionary is basically useless, Lithuanian is a language that "molds" words, a word to us comes from what we call a "root" from this root we mold everything we need. I can make the root become a noun or anything else of the 11 categories we use and then give the words an implication of time, ownership, position, "level", number and the like, after which we specialize all of that based on the gender which we have to give it and based on the gender of the "subject" of a sentence we have to mold the whole sentence to comply with the rules of the subject. We don't have transitional words either, the words are "molded" to themselves become "transitional words" in a sense.

    As an example in a word like "apsišikalioti" the root is only "šik", everything else is there for the purpose of displaying it's relationship with "the whole picture", naturally, if you let this go out of hands, you sometimes get words like "darnebesikiškiakop?steliaud?dami", which when spoken in casual conversation would only make us lol.


    But on the other hand, Lithuanian is an extremely impersonal language. It's hard to express the emotional side of things. Hell, I doubt I have used the Lithuanian counterparts of the words "Me", "I", "You" or "They" in the last 24 hours or most likely, longer. If I wanted to say "I love you" to someone, I'd probably have to speak out a good 10 words+ sentence. It's practically impossible to say anything in an ambiguous manner without making the sentence into a metaphor. In a sense, it's a language of the "whole", but it's not a language of the "unit".

    Hell, we don't even have real curse words. Even cursing in Lithuanian becomes situational pictures and the like. We can't even go and say "Fuck you" if we wanted to. Hell a curse phrase i use. "Kad tave, pamestinuke, dievai tamsioje j?roje pamestu." Which would translate to, if I would remove all of the gender implications and other grammatical addatives, "You cursed little lost man, may all of the many gods sink you to the endless depths of the unforgiving sea of darkness, and forget you there for all of eternity." This is pretty much why around half of all of the Lithuanians when being pissed off, start speaking in Russian. Because it's far easier to curse in a foreign language, than use your own.




    From a psychological sense, I guess that this could be one of the aspects that makes our society to look at the "collective", not the "individual", the "staircase", not the "steps". Or it very well may be something that was developed into the language based on our culture. In either way, that's a fact about us that is going to stay for a bit.

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