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  #151  
Old 02-04-2020, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
And, actually, to add to the above, my 5-year-old daughter went to a Spanish-speaking preschool in 3rd and 4th grade
That was supposed to come out as "pre-K3 and pre-K4," not "3rd and 4th grade."
  #152  
Old 02-04-2020, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
And, actually, to add to the above, my 5-year-old daughter went to a Spanish-speaking preschool in 3rd and 4th grade and she learned her letters and sounds that way. This year she's in an English kindergarten, and, while she transitioned fine, it was interesting for me as an adult to see just how much more a pain in the ass it is to teach spelling and reading in English vs Spanish. I mean, I knew it was, but it seems like every word she wants to spell I have to say, well, "it's kind of funny and tricky in English...." Especially when starting with something as simple as "how do you spell 'two'?" "Well, it depends on which /tu/ you mean .... " It's a miracle any of us learned how to spell.
I once had a supervisor who was a Mexican woman. She never really learned to spell English but usually spelled English words as if they were Spanish. One of my tasks was to go to the bank for a change order. That is, get rolls of coins and small bills for the store. She would write out how many of each kind of coin to get. So for quarters, she would write cuarters or something like that (can't remember her exact spelling, but it started with C). And for pennies -- well, no doubled letters and dropping silent letters (the second E is silent as far as Spanish speakers are concerned). I never had the heart to tell her what she was actually spelling. I did have to explain to the bank tellers at times.
  #153  
Old 02-04-2020, 10:49 PM
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TokyoBayer, if you're right, the problem isn't just that I'm wrong but that the two articles I linked to are wrong. Did you read those two articles? Why do they disagree so greatly with what you just wrote?

Last edited by Wendell Wagner; 02-04-2020 at 10:50 PM.
  #154  
Old 02-04-2020, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post
TokyoBayer, if you're right, the problem isn't just that I'm wrong but that the two articles I linked to are wrong. Did you read those two articles? Why do they disagree so greatly with what you just wrote?
You're both right. WW, your articles don't talk about east asia (one mentions Korean scientists living in the U.K. but that's it). Japan exists in a cone of silence apart from the rest of the world.
  #155  
Old 02-04-2020, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post
TokyoBayer, if you're right, the problem isn't just that I'm wrong but that the two articles I linked to are wrong. Did you read those two articles? Why do they disagree so greatly with what you just wrote?
Of course I read the articles.

More importantly, did you?

You made some specific claims which I say are bullshit. Can you please quote the lines in articles which support the following specific claims you are making.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post
It's now hard to learn about any academic field beyond what's in college freshman textbooks unless you know English.
My bolding.

That is a very specific claim so it should be very easy to cut and paste the supporting sentence from the article.
Quote:
If you have to say something in any other language using fairly technical terms, you use the English word:
My bolding.

That is a very specific claim so it should be very easy to cut and paste the supporting sentence from the article.

Here is a random example of a technical term:

thermodynamics

And the term in Japanese:
熱力學

The articles aren't stating what you claim they are.

Here is a random paper published in Japan
Quote:
核燃料サイクル開発機構(現日本原子力研究開発機構)は,原子力委員会バックエンド対策専
門部会の方針 1)に基づき,1999 年にわが国における高レベル放射性廃棄物の地層処分の信頼性を
示すため,その安全評価について取りまとめを行った 2)。この安全評価では,ガラス固化体を封
入した金属製の容器が破損した後,固化体から地下水に溶出した放射性核種が処分施設内に沈殿,
緩衝材中を収着・拡散,地層中を移流・分散(収着を考慮)により移動し,生物圏に達するとい
ったシナリオ(地下水シナリオ)を想定し,線量評価が実施されている。評価では,ガラス固化
体から溶出した放射性核種の地下水に対する溶解限度の設定が重要となる。この溶解限度につい
ては,様々な地下水条件において評価が行える化学平衡モデルに基づき得られた溶解度が設定さ
れている。化学平衡モデルには,地層処分施設の化学的条件(たとえば,中性領域からアルカリ
性領域)および温度条件(地表温度~100℃以下)に対応した放射性核種(元素)などの熱力学デ
ータが必要となる。Yui et al.3)は,上述した高レベル放射性廃棄物の地層処分の安全評価に用
いるために,熱力学データベース(Japan Nuclear Cycle development institute's Thermodynamic
Data Base; JNC-TDB*)を整備・開発し,PHREEQC4)などの化学平衡計算コードで使用できるフォー
マットで,誰もが自由に使用できるようにウェブ公開している( website:
http://migrationdb.jaea.go.jp/)。
I can read this since I read Japanese. Since you read English and your claim is that anything above a freshman level is in English, can you read this?

As I said, I was involved in the translation industry and we translated articles such as this. My wife wrote research papers in Japanese (in another field) and she doesn't read English well, let alone write it.
  #156  
Old 02-05-2020, 04:10 AM
Senegoid is offline
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I question the claim that English has so many more "technical" terms than many other languages. As noted earlier, tech terms are often coined from Latin or Greek roots, and are commonly adopted in the same or nearly the same form into many languages. "Telephone" is an example, existing in other languages too. (French: Téléphone. German: Telefon. Hebrew: טלפון) Some may argue that it is then a "loan word" borrowed from English into the other language -- but why argue that? It can just as well be an "original" word in all those languages!

Sure, a word that exists in other languages may be spelled differently, or even look different when written in non-Latin-or-Greek alphabets.

I give you:

Russian: колибри

Hebrew: קוליברי

Trouble pronouncing those? Perhaps the German spelling will help:
(Try to guess before you look!)
SPOILER:
Kolibri

Still can't make it out? Why, it's:
SPOILER:
Colibri !

So a lot of all those "technical" terms in English may exist in other languages too!
  #157  
Old 02-05-2020, 08:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtilque View Post
I once had a supervisor who was a Mexican woman. She never really learned to spell English but usually spelled English words as if they were Spanish.....And for pennies -- well, no doubled letters and dropping silent letters (the second E is silent as far as Spanish speakers are concerned). I never had the heart to tell her what she was actually spelling. I did have to explain to the bank tellers at times.
Ha!
  #158  
Old 02-05-2020, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TokyoBayer View Post
You made some specific claims which I say are bullshit. Can you please quote the lines in articles which support the following specific claims you are making.
It's now hard to learn about any academic field beyond what's in college freshman textbooks unless you know English.
My bolding.

That is a very specific claim so it should be very easy to cut and paste the supporting sentence from the article.
Quote:
If you have to say something in any other language using fairly technical terms, you use the English word:
My bolding.
That is a very specific claim so it should be very easy to cut and paste the supporting sentence from the article.
My bolding.
Here is a random example of a technical term:
thermodynamics:熱力學
The articles aren't stating what you claim they are.
Here is a random paper published in Japan
I agree the claims as originally stated are quite exaggerated. And the articles linked just point to the greater frequency of English language technical paper written in various non-English speaking countries compared to own language (as in English language papers written in the Netherlands outnumber ones in Dutch 40:1, which is an interesting stat IMO even having lived in the Netherlands and being aware how high English proficiency is there). Besides not including every country, there's nothing in there about having to know English to learn beyond college freshman textbook level in any non-English speaking country, nor having to use the English words for 'any fairly technical term'.

Just to comment further though, I count 15 English borrow words (including repeats but not including the passages written in Latin letters) in that excerpt, of 300-some words. Hardly a large %, though obviously a 300 word English technical paper excerpt wouldn't have 15 Japanese words... Also the English words in the passage aren't the 'most technical' ones necessarily. Also I'd add that the frequency of English borrowed words in technical writing is lower in Chinese than it is in either Japanese or Korean. Probably mainly because it's harder to render foreign words in Chinese: you have to choose neutral-meaning characters whose Mandarin pronunciation mimics the sound of the word. So you must know the Mandarin pronunciation (which Chinese speakers of other dialects don't have to know for Chinese words). And to write them correctly you must know which characters have been agreed on for that particular word. In Japanese and Korean it's much easier with use of standard katakana syllabary (which by modern writing convention also identifies the foreign words) and the hangul alphabet respectively to write foreign words.

Also the likelihood of an English technical term being used depends somewhat on how recent it is. For a word the age of 'thermodynamics' one would guess without knowing it would be the same Chinese-derived word in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean (as is the case), though often first coined in Japanese (I'm not sure in this case). For a computer age term it's relatively more likely to be an English borrowed word/term especially in Japanese and Korean, with again more tendency toward coining new words in Chinese.
A few random examples,
'software': English word written in katakana/hangul but a new word in Chinese, 軟件
'cloud computing': same, the new Chinese word 雲計算, combines cloud (first character) with the word for 'calculation' used in all three languages.
'X-ray lithography': Japanese and Korean approximate 'lithography' in katakana/hangul, but use the Chinese character for 'ray' in X-ray and all 3 use 'X', but Chinese uses own word for 'lithography'.
'ethernet': English term in Japanese and Korean, Chinese term 乙太網路 is a hybrid where the Mandarin pronunciation of the first two sounds somewhat like 'ether', meaning irrelevant. The second two mean 'network'.
'password': English word in Japanese, two different Chinese derived words are sometimes used in Korean though often the English one, a different Chinese word is used in Chinese.

Last edited by Corry El; 02-05-2020 at 11:05 AM.
  #159  
Old 02-05-2020, 12:36 PM
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From my experience working with Chinese software engineers, it's not quite that simple though.
Many engineers are not only aware of the "international" word for many concepts, but it is the word they are most comfortable using.

If I were talking to a random guy on the street about an app, I might say I'm developing a 程序. If I were talking to a developer I would likely just say "app", even if the rest of the sentence is Mandarin. And there many examples like this.
Many engineers work in a mashup of English and Chinese, and I think software engineering is probably where you could make the best case for saying the technical terms belong to English as much of the terminology does indeed use everyday English words (not to say an native English speaker would necessarily know the meaning of these words in this context without studying the field, but that's beside the point).

Last edited by Mijin; 02-05-2020 at 12:38 PM.
  #160  
Old 02-05-2020, 03:53 PM
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It is true that many technical books and articles for international consumption are published in English, but, once again, it has nothing to do with English being simpler or more complicated than Japanese or Chinese. It is merely serving as a lingua franca. Over decades that might change to another language-- who knows?
  #161  
Old 02-05-2020, 10:41 PM
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Going back to this claim:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post
Let me say some more about what I talked about in post #135. One of the reasons that English has so many more technical terms in its dictionaries is that in many fields . . . . .
Can you provide a cite for this claim?

As I said, I worked in the translation field in the early 90s and purchased many English to Japan, Japanese to English and Japanese to Japanese dictionaries for several fields. (now you can just use online sources). In any given field, there are as many terms in Japanese as in English. There has to be. The are significant numbers of "loan words" which are words originally in another language but now written, pronounced and read in Japanese. Most frequently technical terms come from English but sometimes from another language.

However, once a particular vocabulary has entered Japanese, and is written in katakana, it is Japanese and it really can't be claimed as "English" any more than English words which have been borrowed from can't be said to not be English. English has a longer history of borrowing words from other languages.

googling, here is one claim
Quote:
As Watkins explains: “Although English is a member of the Germanic branch of Indo-European and retains much of the basic structure of its origin, it has an exceptionally mixed lexicon. During the 1400 years of its documented history, it has borrowed extensively and systematically from its Germanic and Romance neighbors and from Latin and Greek, as well as more sporadically from other languages.”

Where exactly does our modern vocabulary come from? A computer analysis published a few decades ago offered this breakdown of sources:

Latin, 28.34 percent; French, 28.3 percent; Old and Middle English, Old Norse, and Dutch, 25 percent; Greek 5.32 percent; no etymology given, 4.03 percent; derived from proper names, 3.28 percent; all other languages, less than 1 percent.
Do these words count as English words now? Or are people speaking Latin, French, Old and Middle English, etc., when they talk?

Japanese borrowed almost its entire writing system, as well as a very high percentage of its vocabulary, from Chinese and yet no one would claim that Japanese are speaking Chinese when they use those words.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corry El View Post
I agree the claims as originally stated are quite exaggerated. And the articles linked just point to the greater frequency of English language technical paper written in various non-English speaking countries compared to own language (as in English language papers written in the Netherlands outnumber ones in Dutch 40:1, which is an interesting stat IMO even having lived in the Netherlands and being aware how high English proficiency is there).
My former company choose to have it's European head office in the Netherlands because of its high English proficiency. It's my understanding that many schools did teach various subjects in English. Singapore is another place where there are many English languages schools, but there are Chinese language schools as well. Some of our Singapore staff went to English schools and actually had some difficulty reading the more technical material in Chinese while some of the staff went to Chinese schools and weren't as good in English.
Quote:
Just to comment further though, I count 15 English borrow words (including repeats but not including the passages written in Latin letters) in that excerpt, of 300-some words. Hardly a large %, though obviously a 300 word English technical paper excerpt wouldn't have 15 Japanese words... Also the English words in the passage aren't the 'most technical' ones necessarily.
As you know, Japanese tends to borrow a lot of English words just in general, not only technical ones. For example, Japanese use サービスセンター, the loan word for "service center" whereas Chinese use 服务中心 translating the meaning into Chinese.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
From my experience working with Chinese software engineers, it's not quite that simple though.
Many engineers are not only aware of the "international" word for many concepts, but it is the word they are most comfortable using.

If I were talking to a random guy on the street about an app, I might say I'm developing a 程序. If I were talking to a developer I would likely just say "app", even if the rest of the sentence is Mandarin. And there many examples like this.
Many engineers work in a mashup of English and Chinese, and I think software engineering is probably where you could make the best case for saying the technical terms belong to English as much of the terminology does indeed use everyday English words (not to say an native English speaker would necessarily know the meaning of these words in this context without studying the field, but that's beside the point).
I'm not surprised that software engineering has a high percentage of English used. The field is changing much faster than in many others and needing the ability to read English may be more important.

The ease of machine translation means that it's possible to get the gist of an article without needing the ability be fluent or even proficient in the target language. Here is google translation of part of my quoted article
Quote:
The Japan Nuclear Cycle Development Institute (currently the Japan Atomic Energy Agency) has a special
In 1999, based on the policy of the Monks, the reliability of geological disposal of high-level radioactive waste in Japan was determined.
In order to show this, the safety evaluation was compiled2). In this safety assessment, the vitrified body was sealed.
After the metal container was damaged, radionuclides eluted from the solidified body into groundwater settled in the disposal facility.
It travels by sorption / diffusion in the buffer material and advection / dispersion in the stratum (considering sorption) and reaches the biosphere
Dose evaluation is being carried out assuming a scenario (groundwater scenario). In the evaluation,
It is important to set the solubility limit of radionuclides eluted from the body in groundwater. About this solubility limit
For example, the solubility obtained based on the chemical equilibrium model that can be evaluated under various groundwater conditions is set.
While it's not perfect by any stretch, it can lead people to see if further translation is required without having to have all the audience be proficient in the source language.
  #162  
Old 02-06-2020, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
Sure. Those are similar sorts of things you get with Hungarian, too. I'm perhaps picking a bit too fine of a point.
No, you were right to remind me of the homophony of <j> and <ly>. I was mainly thinking of Finnish (which truly is one-to-one symbol to sound), but threw in Hungarian for good measure because of my habit of thinking of the Uralic family all together.
  #163  
Old 02-07-2020, 04:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Paprika View Post
I don’t know how many words are enough to get by. That would depend on whether you are studying in university, or conducting business (maybe in a specific field with related jargon), or just trying to get basic ideas across, say hello and order coffee.
It can be the other way 'round, my French vocabulary is a lot better when it comes to complex business ideas than to trying to get a meal. Grammar too, I use frequently stuff which would normally be taught at C1 levels but have never learned things that are considered A2. But I only went to school for A1: everything I've learned after that has been through inmersion in business settings, going out to eat with coworkers, or salf-taught.

Quote function no likey TB's post.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TokyoBayer
My former company choose to have it's European head office in the Netherlands because of its high English proficiency. It's my understanding that many schools did teach various subjects in English
Most, to the point that they're seeing the beginning of a backlash. They were getting to the point where younger Dutch had a better vocabulary in English than in Dutch; the vocabulary they acquired in HS or Uni was almost-exclusively in English.
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Last edited by Nava; 02-07-2020 at 04:52 AM.
  #164  
Old 02-07-2020, 05:01 AM
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Re. borrowing words from English.

How do you say Florida? Toledo? Those two are borrowed from Spanish, but if you're speaking English you do not say them the same way as if you're using the Spanish word meaning "full of flowers" or the name of the Imperial Capital.

The same thing happens when other languages borrow terms from English. The Spanish pronunciations of delete, RAM or USB are not the same as in English. They're not English words any more than Toledo Ohio is a Spanish town.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DPRK View Post
It is true that many technical books and articles for international consumption are published in English, but, once again, it has nothing to do with English being simpler or more complicated than Japanese or Chinese. It is merely serving as a lingua franca. Over decades that might change to another language-- who knows?
+1

Last edited by Nava; 02-07-2020 at 05:03 AM.
  #165  
Old 02-10-2020, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
...
One of the most basic verbs in any language, "to be", is one of the most irregular of all in English.....
As others have noted, "to be" is pretty damn irregular in pretty much every language. I've studied French, Italian, and Ancient Greek (seriously) and it's a mess in all of them. Greek was the worst but the others were no treat.

"to have" is easier in English than others: I have, you have, he/she/it has, we have/you have/they have, versus j'ai, tu as, il a, nous avons, vous avez, ils ont. I had to look up the Italian: io ho, tu hai, lei/lui ha, noi abbiamo, voi avete, loro hanno. I am not going to look up the Ancient Greek. And there are lots of variants on the tenses, e.g. passe compose vs passe simple in French, those are a treat to try to remember. Tenses make things even funner* - "j'irai" and "je vais aller" are both, essentially "I wlll go" with slightly different connotations ("I will go" vs "I am going to go"). When speaking, I typically just go with the "je vais" version because I can't remember the other variant!

My personal theory: these are pretty much THE most commonly used verbs and as such, old variants have become very entrenched and unchanging.

English is (IMO) relatively simple grammatically (except when it isn't) - simpler than my experience in either French or Italian, but the spelling would give any sane person nightmares. THAT is surely at least partially a result of how many languages it's ingested.

Italian is by far the simplest (of the ones I've studied) from a spelling and pronunciation standpoint; I'd lay odds that I could pick up any unfamiliar Italian text and read it aloud in such a way that an Italian could understand me. French... I might be understood (I managed in Quebec last summer) but would rightfully be laughed at, at least after I left the room.

* which is a dandy example of how English violates its own rules; usually when doing the superlative, 1 and most 2-syllable words just add 'er' and 'est' but "fun" is typically "more fun" and "most fun".
  #166  
Old 02-10-2020, 01:57 PM
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There are languages without “to be” or “to have” in common speech

For example, in Bengali you would say “He is a Doctor” as “He Doctor”

Or “I have a book” as “By me there exists a book”
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*I'm experimenting with E, em, and es and emself as pronouns that do not indicate any specific gender nor exclude any specific gender.
  #167  
Old 02-11-2020, 02:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
There are languages without “to be” or “to have” in common speech

For example, in Bengali you would say “He is a Doctor” as “He Doctor”

Or “I have a book” as “By me there exists a book”
Sounds like Bengali must be a derived form of Hebrew

Hebrew has no verb for "to be" in the present tense, but in other tenses the verb exists and is quite regular. Note, Hebrew tenses and verb structures are very different from English and other languages, so direct comparisons are difficult.

"He is a Doctor" is simply "He Doctor" (note also, no indefinite article).

"I have a book" is "There [is] to me book", where [is] isn't spoken in the present tense, but would be spoken in other tenses; again, no indefinite article.

This, by the way, is why you see a lot of words italicized in some versions of the English Bible. Those are words that aren't present in the original Hebrew, but are added by the translators to make intelligible English.
  #168  
Old 02-11-2020, 04:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Mama Zappa View Post
As others have noted, "to be" is pretty damn irregular in pretty much every language.
[...]
"to have" is easier in English than others

[...]

English is (IMO) relatively simple grammatically (except when it isn't)
I know you said "pretty much every" but Mandarin Chinese (in fact, AFAIK, *all* Chinese languages), are a pretty significant exception.

There's no verb conjugation in Mandarin at all, and there is nothing special about the verb "to be" nor "to have".

Although in the interest of completeness, both are also used in additional grammatical structures:

E.g. (action in the past)
Have you been to Belgium? I have not.

E.g. (describing the method / modifiers by which a verb was performed) Who did you travel with? I is with my girlfriend travel.





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