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  1. #81
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post

    Maybe 100 years ago. Nowadays, all the Greek-Latin mashups are usually English speakers coining the words, not because they're easier, but because Greek and Latin have an air of dignity to them. It's about nothing but the snob appeal, just as it has been since those damned Norwegian rejects invaded Anglia. If English speakers use foreign words a lot, it's not because English doesn't have words for the concepts, it's just that we like exotic-sounding foreign words.
    Do you resent "snobs" that much? You're projecting.

    I have a big problem with someone saying it's a better language, because the last 40 years of linguistics has been about getting over that nonsense.
    I'm sorry, but this is YOUR problem. Once again, you're projecting your own ideological biases.

    Any idea in any form can be expressed in any language on this planet effectively.
    No. It's plain demagogy.

    French isn't effective for diplomacy because it's better at it, it's effective because it's been used for diplomacy since Louis XIV! Of course you'll develop a strong contextual framework and jargon over the course of 250+ years! In much the same way, so English is developing within diplomatic circles. It doesn't hurt that diplomats representing over 1 billion native and secondary English speakers develop the language every day - but as you note, French didn't need nearly as many to develop its own nuance.
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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  2. #82
    The Black Knight Domino's Avatar
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    Now children. Let us not fight over who has the biggest noun. It's not about the size. It's how you use it.

    That's a lie. The bigger the noun, the better. I say we bust out some hard-line Vulgate Latin and get dirty.

    I'll French your English muffin.
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  3. #83
    Head Pigeon Mad Hatter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Domino View Post
    The bigger the noun, the better.
    Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän.


    *walks away with prize*
    IN SERIO FATVITAS.

    -τὸ γὰρ γράμμα ἀποκτέννει, τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα ζῳοποιεῖ-

  4. #84
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mad Hatter View Post

    The English tense system is in fact very complex, and I don't think it has anything that French hasn't (off the top of my head).
    Well... For a native French, English tenses often look like simplified versions of our own tenses. And yet, you would lack lot of them.
    French really is the heir of Latin, when it comes to complexity of conjugations, more than any of its fellow romance languages.

    On the other hand, when it comes to tenses, German can be horribly blurry and still gramatically correct at the same time.
    Tenses may no be the most complex part of German, but yet the language is extremely structured by a rigid gramar, and hence, well-defined. That's what I like in it: structure. The sentences are always very well ordered. Even if the rules are not that simple, most of the time, at least they really exist.

    Different means, same result I should say. Simple grammar only means less structural flexibility, though a vast vocabulary can counterbalance that quite well. It might not be the most elegant way of reaching precision, but I think it works for the greatest part.
    It HAS to work, mainly because English is used as a kind of Esperanto in the Western World. We have no other choice but to adapt it to every possible idea, even if it means developing a ridiculously huge vocabulary to counterbalance its intrinsic blurredness.

    But nevertheless, learning 600 000 &+ words may not be the simplest solution... :rolli:

    I actually found translating complex texts easier. What sometimes almost made me despair was translating passages with lots of colloquial speech, as in books or films. It makes sense since the lower you get in register, the less fixed the language becomes.
    This is a very interesting remark, because I've frequently noticed the same difficulty.


    On a more general note, I think that the content of a text can be almost always translated from one language into another. Intrinsic rhymes and rythms of sentences, as you have put it very well, are where it gets tricky indeed. Every language has a certain cadence and an intrinsic tension. Some languages allow for a greater variety in these aspects, some - like English - have to achieve variety in other ways. And the mere physical sound of a language is something that is often impossible translate, and it can be very important, especially if language is employed in a way that makes use of these means like e.g. poetry and fiction.
    Absolutely.
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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  5. #85
    Sniffles
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    Rudy nie zwraca? uwagi na takie j?zyki jak dziki francuski i niemiecki. J?zyka polskiego zamiast.

  6. #86
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mad Hatter View Post
    Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän.


    *walks away with prize*
    That's another property I like with German: its ability to use morphemes as building blocks, and hence, to endlessly form new words, and hence new meanings.

    That's what we sorely lack in Romance languages.

    -----

    Despite what onemoretime has said, if sometimes we have to use German philosophic terms, it's not because they look nice or exotic, it's rather because it's impossible to translate them out of their context. Take for instance the Dasein of Heidegger!
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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  7. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    I always think of English as a 'you just have to know' language - where most native speakers go on what sounds right. For example, creating an antonym of a word using a prefix (eg. prove - disprove). Depending on the word involved and the intended meaning, you will have to select one of these prefixes: dis-, im-, in-, ir-, ig-, ill-, un-, a-, ab-, mis-, non-, mal-, dys-, anti-, counter-... and I'm probably forgetting a few here. It would take a while for a non-native () speaker to get the feel for what seems right and in the mean time you have to memorize it. I would find that incredibly frustrating as I have a bad memory and would struggle to remember each individual case.
    1/ I have the same approach with English. I've never learned it in school or thanks to a book, and my sentences (even here) enterely rely on my own intuition, on how "right" they sound. English is very flexible, very elastic, and that's a property every iNtuitive would enjoy, I presume.

    2/ The use of prefix you describe is similar in every Romance language, and especially French since ALL the words which use these prefixes were actually borrowed from French.
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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  8. #88
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    Yes I can certainly say I can pick up French vocabulary much quicker than Russian; mostly because half(or nearly half) the English language is French in origins. It's just the fricking pronounciation I often struggle with - although given time and effort.

  9. #89
    Senior Member Loxias's Avatar
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    Désolé pour ce qui va suivre, Blackmail!.

    I think in English, about 50% of the time, I enjoy reading books in English more, and I think English is just as subtle and efficient as French.
    And where French requires the use of more formal language to convey subtleties, English does it while still keeping its average informality, which I find very appreciable.
    I percieve good technical English as being efficient, good technical French as being patronising.
    In fact, nearly no one in France uses French at its full potential, because it is too literary and formal. Which is not the case with English.
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  10. #90
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loxias View Post
    Désolé pour ce qui va suivre, Blackmail!.

    I think in English, about 50% of the time, I enjoy reading books in English more, and I think English is just as subtle and efficient as French.
    And where French requires the use of more formal language to convey subtleties, English does it while still keeping its average informality, which I find very appreciable.
    I percieve good technical English as being efficient, good technical French as being patronising.
    In fact, nearly no one in France uses French at its full potential, because it is too literary and formal. Which is not the case with English.
    Ne soit pas désolé pour ce que tu viens d'écrire, car au moins tu es honnête, et c'est tout ce qu'on te demandait. J'ajouterais même que compte tenu de la réaction moyenne des francophones sur ce forum, les accusations persistantes de chauvinisme linguistique nous concernant sont non seulement absurdes mais fausses, et ne servent en définitive qu'à d'entretenir de regrettables clichés et stéréotypes. Stéréotypes dont l'usage répété est d'ailleurs souvent un avoeu de faiblesse de la part de nos propres détracteurs.

    This said, I of course don't agree with you. Maybe it's just due to the fact I use this "literary", "patronising" and "formal" French both as my mother tongue and as an everyday language, but I'm sorry, I was raised that way: I can't suddenly deny my very nature.

    Je suis habitué à un excellent niveau de français autour de moi, et il est évidemment difficile de placer une distance entre ce français "formel" et le reste, puisque pour moi il s'agit à la fois de la langue d'usage courant et de celle de travail. Comme on me l'a souvent fait remarqué, je m'exprime à l'oral exactement comme j'écris.... sauf précisément en Anglais, où mon comportement varie du tout au tout.
    Même si là aussi, je suis plus instinctivement attiré par l'anglais littéraire qu'autre chose. Et crois-moi, cet anglais-là est largement aussi "snob" ou "pédant" que tout ce que tu sembles dire ou dépeindre du français universitaire, si ce n'est plus -les différences sociales étant généralement encore plus accentuées au sein des sociétés anglo-saxonnes-.

    Peut-être que ta différence d'appréciation est due au type de littérature anglaise que tu parcours? Une grande partie de cette littérature est de type nettement plus "populaire" et commerciale, question de rentabilité, alors qu'en France seule la haute littérature est valorisée, du moins par les médias officiels. Note cependant que je ne dis pas qu'un système est meilleur que l'autre, juste qu'ils sont différents.

    Enfin, lorsque tu dis que l'anglais technique est plus "efficace", là permets moi d'être encore moins d'accord. Etant habitué aux écoles doctorales (puisque je suis correcteur de thèses), on se doit généralement de tout traduire en anglais justement technique, dès qu'il y a le moindre travail de recherche. Et l'anglais est vraiment une langue très floue et malhabile, que l'on doit corriger et recorriger en permanence afin d'obtenir un niveau de précision satisfaisant dans un cadre scientifique. Presque tout le monde a le même problème, anglophones y compris.
    Cependant, nous n'avons pas le choix, puisque c'est la seule langue admise pour les publications officielles des revues: elle agit quand même tel un salutaire espéranto, et rien qu'à ce titre, on peut quand même remercier les anglais d'avoir inventé un créole batardisé (1) aussi simple à apprendre, et capable de créer autant de ponts et de liens au sein de toute la communauté scientifique internationale.

    L'allemand aurait sans doute été mieux (plus structuré, plus rigoureux, et plus conceptuel aussi), mais quand même plus difficile à apprendre, alors qui sait? :rolli:

    Enfin, il y a quelque chose de paradoxal à lire que par ailleurs tu fustiges nos philosophes "verbeux", sachant qu'en anglais ils sont dix fois plus verbeux et plus incompréhensibles encore -C'est le cas de Derrida-. Et c'est un effet propre à cette langue, à ce vocabulaire absolument immense mais nécessaire afin de s'exprimer de façon correcte à haut niveau.

    -----

    (1) C'est la définition linguistique exacte de cette langue. N'y voit là encore aucun jugement de valeur, la créolisation pouvant être en soit un phénomène très intéressant et riche littérairement parlant (Cf Chamoiseau).
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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