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Interresting DOS forum in german (Announce)

posted by Rugxulo(R) Homepage, Usono, 12.09.2018, 02:06

> > The German language is supposedly harder (for a native [American]
> > English speaker like me) to learn than others
> True, but that is mostly based on speaking/writing, not understanding.

To be honest, 600 hours isn't much less than 750 (apparently 20%).

But the U.S. is overwhelmingly monolingual (although I heard once
that only 24% of the world is similarly limited). I mean, I get it,
there's less urgency or need over here, but it's still a bit
short-sighted. So I'm sympathetic but mostly for philosophical reasons.

> > So it's like an entire level above the more obvious choices. This is
> > despite English being Germanic itself (but a lot has changed since
> > Beowulf, the whole Norman French
> > invasion and all). Supposedly J.R.R. Tolkien (a German name) was an
> > expert in Old English. Of course let's not forget the
> > Battenbergs/Mountbattens! The Swedes and Dutch are apparently
> > fairly close, too (among others).
> Frisian is closest. Dutch and German should be closer than Swedish, since
> both West Germanic languages, while Swedish is North-Germanic.

Frisian is very obscure to me. But so is Yiddish.

I heard Dutch is closer and thus easier, certainly easier than German.
One teenager on one of the FreeDOS mailing lists (Maarten) said they
learn English, German, and Dutch in school. (Not sure if that's a fairly
recent development or not. The Van Halen brothers immigrated as pre-teens
and didn't speak English at all, AFAIK.)

Some famous Swedes (e.g. Pewdiepie, Linus Torvalds) are fluent too, so
I think they also learn in school. Similarly the Danes, from what little
I can tell. Not sure about others (or maybe even this much, barely).

Of course, Linus works and lives here and is (dual?) citizen nowadays.
Two of his daughters were born here. Not saying it was guaranteed, but
even I predicted he'd gain (dual) citizenship due to that, years ago.
(Yes, I know he's from Finland, but he's still Swedish, apparently
the minority. Finnish is not Germanic, supposedly related to Estonian
and Hungarian.)

> (fun fact: name 6 West Germanic languages with some form of official state
> recognition)
> The roots you quote are often quoted for this difference (e.g. Wikipedia),
> but somehow totally bypasses the fact that Shakespearian Era English is far
> more Germanic than current. I think a mostly bilingual nobility in the
> 18th and 19th century is as much to "blame" as the influences you name.

Old English is 100% indecipherable to modern English. I challenge anyone
to pretend otherwise. At least Shakespeare is mostly comprehensible.
BTW, British slang is extremely bizarre, and I'll never get used to it.

> The Battenberg bit is just one side of the interconnection of nobility and
> royalty. The strange bit is always that the major royalty in WW-I were
> closely related (Russian Tsar and the German Emperor were both first
> cousins of the English King), which makes WW I the biggest family row
> ever!

Yes, they were cousins with Tsar Nicholas II or whatever. As you probably
know, they're also related to Willem-Alexander, Felipe VI, and "half of
Europe". Probably due to intermarriage between monarchs. The whole name
change was political circa WW1 anyways. (Prince Philip is from Greece,
with Danish and even English heritage, so he's Elizabeth's fourth cousin,
I believe. His sisters all married Germans, and his Greek cousin Sophia
is the mother of Felipe. Wasn't the grandfather of the Swedish king a Brit?
Hey, even Charles and Camilla are like ninth cousins once removed!)

I don't really care about politics or history or genealogy at all, but
I do like trivia and trying to connect the dots. (Princess Diana's
grandfather was an American, so was Churchill's mother, among others.)

> > Apparently there was at least one very famous Czech (Austria/Bohemia?)
> > immigrant to the U.S. who spoke German natively (among other languages).
> > But that was a fairly long time ago, and I don't live near that part, so
> > it's a bit obscure for me. Still intriguing!
> German was the major language of science before WWII, and central Europe
> indeed spoke a lot of German due to the Austrian Empire. Still, there are
> more first language German speakers in Europe than English speakers.

Yes, German is a very popular language. One singer (Danish) married a
Hungarian/American lady but asked her father's permission in German.

BTW, I've heard that Germans can't understand Swiss German without
subtitles! But luckily the Swiss focus more on "standard" German
most of the time.

> Note that it I've had to decrypt 1900-1910 chemical articles, and while my
> German is somewhat decent, that is a whole different ballpark. The
> (Gothic-like) fonts alone are a horror.

I dare you to pretend to read Old English (Beowulf) natively.

> Language comparison is fun, but it works best if you have at least a
> working knowledge of a few. Sometimes that goes faster than you would
> expect.

I took Latin in school, which is of course both dead and complicated grammatically. I learned Esperanto for fun, read many interesting translations (Shakespeare, parts of the Bible) and periodicals. I know that's not quite as good as learning a Slavic language (Czech, Polish, Russian, Croatian) or similar, but it's better than nothing. Dr. Zamenhof was a Polish Jew of Lithuanian descent who spoke Russian (and Yiddish??) natively.

> One of the more flabbergasting things I found out was when a
> Frenchman from the northern parts (Lille) learned to understand
> and speak Dutch in about 6 weeks.

I wonder if he already knew English (or maybe Latin). Modern English
is roughly 60% Latin-based.

> Very impressive, specially because the languages are in different families.
> I never got to ask however if he had Dutch speaking relatives though.

Well, you know, conversational fluency doesn't mean literary or especially
writing. Even in E-o, where there is "official" vocabulary and strict
grammar rules, many many people overuse neologisms and "borrow"
quasi-universal foreign words when they shouldn't or don't need to.
It's still a burden trying to memorize vocabulary, so I suspect that
most just "make up" a word (esperantize?) when they don't have a
dictionary readily available. So even there it's messy, but it's
not really a well-taught language, most are users self-taught.
Also, being auxiliary (second language only, by design) makes things
less urgent.

P.S. I've been listening to a lot of Sleeze Beez on internet radio
recently. They're a Dutch band (disbanded in 1996 but had a one-off
reunion in 2010 or such). Well, their first album had one singer
(Belgian) but the rest had another guy (English). Maybe you've heard
of them?? I mean, we're roughly the same age, but I'd never heard
any of their stuff (outside of one song several times on House of Hair,
so I never even remembered the band's name).


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