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Poll: According to you, the main characteristic of your native language is...
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

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Local time: 09:57
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Oct 11, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "According to you, the main characteristic of your native language is...".

This poll was originally submitted by Aline Canino. View the poll results »



 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
Pronunciation Oct 11, 2016

The stress-timed nature of English, of which many native speakers remain blissfully unaware, can make it very difficult for speakers of syllable-timed or tonal languages. When working as an EFL trainer, I came to realise that aspects such as pronunciation, rhythm and intonation need to be given more weight in EFL courses. This need is gradually being met through the development of specific teaching materials, but as far as I know there is still a long way to go.

The wealth of synonymy available in English is also a plus.

Then again, I suppose the "main characteristic" depends on your own criteria. The grammatical structure of English is pretty simple compared to languages which decline (German, Russian or Finnish spring to mind)... but my choice of pronunciation is based on my experience of over ten years in TEFL, where I think it is definitely one of the main features that speakers of syllable-timed languages like Spanish usually need to work on, at all levels.

[Edited at 2016-10-11 08:21 GMT]


 

Vadim Kadyrov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 19:57
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
I think it is always a mix Oct 11, 2016

of these features PLUS some other characteristics the author of the poll didn`t mention. E.g., English grammar is rather "basic" in terms of simple sentences, but its system of tenses is something that drives Russians mad. The concept of articles is also a very odd one.

And we are not even touching Chinese or Japanese, with their writing systems.


 

Edith van der Have-Raats  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:57
Member (2016)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Pronunciation, certainly ... Oct 11, 2016

"Dutch is not a language, it's a throat disease."icon_wink.gif Though I myself have more of a smooth g as a part of my particular Dutch dialect.

 

Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:57
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Its disregard for the rules. Oct 11, 2016

I am very glad that English is my native language, because it must be so hard to learn at school. There are plenty of grammar, spelling, pronunciation and other rules, but then there are so many exceptions that students must surely find it frustrating. Also, because it is so widely spoken in so many different communities around the world, there are any number of variants, and what is considered acceptable in some places might be frowned upon in others.

 

TalTranslations
United Kingdom
English to Hebrew
CH Oct 11, 2016

For Hebrew it's of course the unique alphabet.

@Edith van der Have-Raats
I think Hebrew and Dutch are the only(?) languages with the beautiful G/CH.

Israelis don't have any problem with the pronunciation of the Dutch words Scheveningen or Achtentachtig Grachtenicon_smile.gif


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:57
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just 3-4 main characteristics? Oct 11, 2016

Another reductionist quiz poll in tune with the slogans of our era.

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 17:57
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Oct 11, 2016

The main trait of Portuguese is probably the phenomenon of nasalization and the difficult grammar rules (with lots of exceptions) and verb conjugation system (with the common use of the subjunctive).

[Edited at 2016-10-11 12:57 GMT]


 

Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
Not difficult at all Oct 11, 2016

Helen Hagon wrote:

I am very glad that English is my native language, because it must be so hard to learn at school. There are plenty of grammar, spelling, pronunciation and other rules, but then there are so many exceptions that students must surely find it frustrating. Also, because it is so widely spoken in so many different communities around the world, there are any number of variants, and what is considered acceptable in some places might be frowned upon in others.


English is a wonderful language with a nice rythm, it was not difficult for me.

[Edited at 2016-10-11 11:48 GMT]


 

Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
Italian Oct 11, 2016

The main difficulty of Italian is in my opinion the verbs conjugation system (however less difficult than in Spanish), thsubjunctive and last but not least the "particella pronominale" which I cannot explain in English, sorry.

BUT, easy prononciation.


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:57
English to Spanish
+ ...
How about the French ordinal numbers? Oct 11, 2016

They can be a headache

icon_biggrin.gif


 

Paulette Romero  Identity Verified
Colombia
Local time: 11:57
English to Spanish
+ ...
Pronunciation Oct 11, 2016

neilmac wrote:

The stress-timed nature of English, of which many native speakers remain blissfully unaware, can make it very difficult for speakers of syllable-timed or tonal languages. When working as an EFL trainer, I came to realise that aspects such as pronunciation, rhythm and intonation need to be given more weight in EFL courses. This need is gradually being met through the development of specific teaching materials, but as far as I know there is still a long way to go.

The wealth of synonymy available in English is also a plus.

Then again, I suppose the "main characteristic" depends on your own criteria. The grammatical structure of English is pretty simple compared to languages which decline (German, Russian or Finnish spring to mind)... but my choice of pronunciation is based on my experience of over ten years in TEFL, where I think it is definitely one of the main features that speakers of syllable-timed languages like Spanish usually need to work on, at all levels.

[Edited at 2016-10-11 08:21 GMT]


I also chose pronunciation. As an ESL instructor this is probably the biggest issue for beginner and pre-intermediate Spanish-speaking students. In Spanish you see a word and pronounce it the way the way you see it. In English you see a word and usually it's pronounced in a different manner. My students often try to pronounce words in English phonetically and then I have to work on correct pronunciation with them.


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:57
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Cases Oct 11, 2016

German is a language of cases... an attribute that can drive non-native (and also many nativeicon_biggrin.gif) speakers up the wall. Unfortunately, they are trying to eliminate the Genetive. As we say: Der Dativ ist dem Genetiv sein Tod" (Dative is the death of the Genetive). Well, for as long as I am around, this won't happen.icon_wink.gif

[Edited at 2016-10-11 17:14 GMT]


 

Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:57
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Other Oct 11, 2016

The fact that it is the world's lingua franca.

Its main linguistic characteristic is probably the size of its vocabulary.


 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:57
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Two big issues Oct 12, 2016

English has proven that stressing vowels and conjugating verbs is totally useless. All languages that use stresses and conjugate verbs are destined to death one day in the future.
In Portuguese, we have 75 words for each verb, considering all tenses, persons and useless variations. In English, you have 4 or 5 words for each verb. In Portuguese we have Ç, ~, ´, `, ^ and ¨, and thousands of rules for spelling and pronouncing these words. What about genders for all nouns and adjectives?
English has the reachest vocabulary in the world, adopted all words from Latin languages and threw these symbols away. Who missed them? Nevertheless, it is soooo much easier to say anything in English, and we have to translate two words in EN into 15 in PT many times to explain it, it's unbelievable.
Most people from other countries can become fluent in English after living two years in the US. People from other countries live 20 years in Brazil, and are still not able to write or pronounce the language properly. In fact, the vast majority of the Brazilian population is not able to write a one-page letter without making 10 terrible mistakes.
As the world becomes more globalized, languages like English shall be spread all over, and latin-based languages shall all follow the destiny of their mother tongue in a few centuries.



[Edited at 2016-10-12 00:37 GMT]


 
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