WORLD OF TEXT

Posts Tagged ‘Sprachen

Time for a new blog entry and another interesting topic. We often see sentences like “Hey whaz up, how r u”,  but of course everybody knows the correct spelling.

But there are things that not everyone is sure about – although it concerns their native language. And I find this quite interesting/funny. Don’t you have to be “perfect” at your mother language? I can only come up with one example for English. I was chatting with a good friend from the USA and she wrote “seperate” instead of “separate”, and I told her “it’s ‘separate’, with ‘A’”, I was surprised that she didn’t know. To me, it was absolutely clear because in German you say “Separaaat”, you stress the “As”. “As”, that’s a good cue. Germans tend to use an apostrophe + “S” to create the plural for abbreviated/foreign words. For example “CD’s” (this is used A LOT), “DVD’s”. “PC’s”, “Pizza’s”, “Info’s”, … Horrible!

The most common German mistake is – I think – “seit” and “seid”, the former means “since/for”, the latter “are”. So, for example “My friends, you are amazing” becomes “My friends, you since amazing”.

Children tend to use “as” for “than”. Example: “I’m faster than you” -> “I’m faster as you”. But I also hear adults saying “as”. I think there’s no German that has never made this mistake.

Germans often use “einzigste/r/s” for “the only …”, e. g. “He’s the only one in the company who can speak Russian”, in Germany you often hear “the most only”.

Or, another funny mistake is…it’s a bit weird to explain/understand it in English… Instead of “Susan’s brother”, Germans say “The Susan her brother”. We never write it like this, but we always say so, always.

As far as other languages are concerned, I know that French people often use different endings because they all sound equal, for example “je peu/je peut” instead of “je peux” or “vous avez gagnez” for “vous avez gagné”.

I don’t know any other examples for foreign languages, be it English, French, Spanish, Russian, Korean… whatever. So, tell me, what mistakes do people make in your country? I’m curious!!

Here comes a new blog entry by the current WORLD TEXT intern! As translators and interpreters work with many languages every day, I’ve been wondering – what’s the most difficult one?

My research shows – you just can`t tell. It depends on who you are, what your mother language is, what languages you already know, how you study a language, and so on.

There are many “top language lists” on the internet, and people are leading heated discussions.

The language I often, almost always, find on these lists, is Chinese. Of course – their writing system and the immense number of Kanji impresses most people. But what about the rest? Grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary…? Of course, for us Europeans, Asian languages are interesting and exotic. But when you’re Japanese for example, it’s not that hard to learn Chinese, as far as the writing system is concerned, because it’s the same. However, the Kanji differ in meaning and the Japanese writing system also includes Kana.

The languages also often mentioned are the Slavic ones. They’re difficult indeed. But it’s not all about a different alphabet. I suppose grammar and pronunciation aren’t so easy either.

Chinese and Russian come to your mind quickly, but what about Finnish or Icelandic? They’re said to be pretty hard to learn as well. African, Arabic, Korean, Hindi, …

…or Polish. I found something interesting on the internet:

Number “two” (2):

English, Spanish, Dutch: 1 form (two, dos, twee)

Portuguese: 2 forms (dois/duas) – depending on gender (2 – masculine & feminine)

Croatian: 7 forms (dva, dvije, dvoje, dvojica, dvojice, dvojici, dvojicu) – depending on gender (3-masculine, feminine, and neuter) and case in one specific form.

Polish: 17 forms. Depends on gender (3), case for all forms. Pretty much all these forms occur in regular speech (6-11 less often than the others) – 1. dwa 2. dwie 3. dwoje 4. dwóch (or dwu) 5. dwaj 6. dwiema 7. dwom (or dwóm) 8. dwoma 9. dwojga 10. dwojgu 11. dwojgiem 12. dwójka 13. dwójki 14. dwójkę 15. dwójką 16. dwójce 17. dwójko

The language that’s often forgotten is English. Just because a lot of people speak it, doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Many people could perfect their English.

What also irritates me is that many people say, certain languages are very easy to learn. “No problem, go to site XY and you can learn it online in a few months!” No! You can learn the basics, but not the entire language. It needs many YEARS to be good at a language. By the way, those “easy” languages mentioned are Spanish, Italian (and sometimes even French). I think that’s not true at all. If you’re one of those “quick online learners”, listen to…an agitated Spanish soccer player and tell me what he says. Or listen to one of François Hollande’s speeches; do you understand all the idioms, the political terms? Or isn’t it as easy as you thought after all?

One more thing I’d like to say. Some people boast of “knowing” so many languages. “I can speak Spanish, French, Italian, Greek… also Chinese… and I know what “How are you” means in Russian and Swedish.” I think they only have a basic knowledge of most of the languages they “know”, so if this is the case, I’m not impressed, rather annoyed. I know many people, we all know many people, who live and work in our country, but who are from abroad/have a different native language. They “only” know “our” language and their mother tongue, but they can speak both perfectly, they communicate at work, talk with clients, have to deal with complaints and misunderstandings, they go to the doctor, to the bank, they offer us their help… this is much more impressive, don’t you think?

Hallo!

Ich bin der neue Praktikant bei World Text. Ich bin Student an der Universität von Durham, im Nordostengland und folglich bin ich schlechtes Wetter gewohnt. Nichtsdestotrotz war es eine Überraschung, als ich letzten Sonntag in Hamburg gelandet bin. Es regnete und die Temperatur war frische 11 Grad. Willkommen in Deutschland! Das war für mich ein großer Wechsel, weil ich seit Oktober in Spanien gearbeitet hatte und bei 30 Grad ins Flugzeug gestiegen war. Ich kann mich jedoch nicht zu viel beschweren, weil heute die Sonne hier in Schwerin scheint und diese schöne Stadt noch schöner macht!

Wie gesagt, war ich im Spanien, weil ich Sprachstudent bin: Französisch, Spanisch und Deutsch. Natürlich bin ich der Meinung, dass Sprachen wichtig sind. Deshalb hat es mich enttäuscht zu erfahren, dass jedes Jahr etwa 25 Sprachen verschwinden und laut UNESCO sind rund 2500 weitere in Gefahr (Neues Deutschland, 23.02.10) (http://www.neues-deutschland.de/artikel/165656.dramatischer-kulturverlust.html?sstr=Dramatischer|Kulturverlust).

Warum sollte diese Statistik beunruhigend sein? Was bedeutet eigentlich eine Sprache? Ist sie nur ein einfaches Kommunikationsmittel? Sicherlich nicht. Eine Sprache ist ein wichtiger Teil der Kultur eines Volkes, ein Symbol seiner Identität. Man muss nur an die politischen Probleme in Belgien denken, um diese Idee klar zu sehen (http://www.welt.de/die-welt/politik/article7297705/Belgien-zerbricht-am-Sprachenstreit.html). Der Streit um die Wahlkreisreform wird auf Meinungsverschiedenheiten zwischen den französisch sprechenden Wallonen und den niederländisch sprechenden Flamen zurückgeführt. Die beiden Sprachgemeinschaften verteidigen ihre Sprachen, um ihre Identität nicht zu verlieren.

In Großbritannien gibt es 11 gefährdete Sprachen, inklusive Walisisch, das von 750.000 Leuten gesprochen wird. In Deutschland werden vor allem Nordfriesisch und Saterfriesisch als schwer gefährdet angesehen. Was kann man machen, um eine Sprache zu retten, zu revitalisieren? Kornisch ist hier ein gutes Beispiel. Am Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts gab es fast keine Kornischsprecher mehr. Jetzt gibt es dank mehrerer Initiativen, z. B. Radiosendungen, Zeitschriftenartikel und der Förderung der Sprache in Schulen rund 3.000 Sprecher und bis zu 300.000 Sprecher mit Grundkenntnissen. Nicht nur kann man Kornisch an der Uni studieren, sondern es gibt auch Gedichte, Lieder und Bücher in der Sprache.  Obwohl es ein langer Prozess sein wird, gibt es positive Anzeichen. Eine Sprache, die tot war, wird nach und nach wiedergeboren und damit die historische Kultur einer Region. Hoffentlich wird mit anderen gefährdeten Sprachen etwas Ähnliches passieren!

Alex