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poftim last won the day on November 16 2016

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  1. You've got ten letters with diacritics which doesn't strike me as excessive. I suppose the six different types of diacritics is on the high side, but I don't think it matters. Any language you create is bound to be unusual in some way or else it would be kind of pointless. If you want to see serious diacritic action, look at Vͯ̊̑ͤ̃̓̇̓͑ͭ͋̋͌̉̇ͯí͋̀͗͒e̒̃̀ͦ́t̄̄̓ͩ̆̊͆̇͌̾̋̐̉́̔̍ͩn͂̈́͌̈́͊̽̚ā͒̽̍̎ͤ͗̏ͪ̽͒̂̎͌ͥm̾ͫ̋͛ͮ̈̆ͤ̓͂̓eͩͦͫ͆̂̇̆̏ͧͤs͗ͬ̋̒̿̈́̃̆ͧ̒͒̊e̋͊ͪ͂̒ͣ͆ͭ͐ͫͪ̈ͩ̓̒̌̋̚!
  2. Hungarian must be up there. I was in Budapest for a few hours yesterday and on most of the signs there was just nothing to go on. Hungarian has several dozen noun cases I think. I'm currently in Timișoara in Romania and today I met an American who has lived in Budapest for ten years but only knows a few words of Hungarian. Totally believable.
  3. Nice! Have you ever been to the conlangs page on Reddit? It's thriving, and mostly frequented by youngsters like you. I'm sure you'll get lots of responses there.
  4. Thanks! I'm not Romanian but I'll be going to Romania for the first time in just a couple of weeks. Hopefully I'll be there a while. I'm quite excited! I now realize how un-obvious it must be for English learners to know when to use the definite article. (Why is it "English learners" and not "the English learners"? I honestly don't know the rules.)
  5. I like the Romanian equivalent of this, așa și așa. Just like the sound of it. A Romanian word I find funny is dușman which means 'enemy'. It's pronounced 'douche man'!
  6. Blaveloper, Interesting. Romanian has a case system too that it inherited from Latin and that most other Romance languages have since lost. There are five cases in Romanian, but two pairs of them have identical forms, so there are only three forms to remember. For someone like me it's still a feat of mental gymnastics to produce the correct form on the fly. The three genders and all the different plurals are a complicating factor. I think Hungarian has something like 17 cases! My idea of a nightmare!
  7. Blaveloper, When you say there's no "the" (definite article) in Polish, how do you distinguish between "cat" and "the cat"? Do you change the word for "cat" in some way like in Romanian? Or does the whole concept of a definite article simply not exist in Polish?
  8. Wow, where do I start with Romanian? frumoasă = feminine form of beautiful - it just sounds beautiful to me! bufniță = owl fluture = butterfly (I like it as much as the French word) zgomot = noise a zgudui = to shake a zgâria = to scratch ("zgârie-nori" means skyscraper, literally "scratches the clouds") zbor = flight (I like the zg- and zb- words) poftim (yeah, I know it's my username) has at least three meanings: (1) the equivalent of voilà, (2) pardon, (3) an invitation, e.g. "take a seat". And "poftim" amused me the first time I heard it - some words just do - so I use it as my username everywhere now! The formal word for "you" in Romanian is dumneavoastră, which is quite a mouthful! I also really like barbabietola, the Italian word for beetroot.
  9. Romanian, the language I'm learning, has no word for "the" at all. Instead you change the ending of the word. Cat = pisică The cat = pisica (the accent disappears) Dog = câine The dog = câinele Chair = scaun The chair = scaunul Coffee = cafea The coffee = cafeaua (four vowels in a row: nice!)
  10. It won't be the same for everybody in the UK. And it was quite a long time ago for me now. So maybe "The cat sat on the mat" wasn't the very first sentence I learnt, and someone much older or younger than me probably had something quite different.
  11. Sahar, I went to school in the UK. We certainly did a lot of nursery rhymes, but the emphasis there wasn't on reading or word forms but on speaking, listening and copying the teacher's gestures. The words were usually accompanied by actions. With "The cat sat on the mat" I remember the teacher saying that "the" has a tall letter, a short letter and an in-between letter, and that "m" has two humps while "n" has one. Words for animals were among the first we ever learnt. In English they tend to be simple three-letter words: cat, dog, rat, pig, cow. I wonder how that differs in other languages. In Romanian, animal words are a bit harder: cat = pisică, dog = câine, rat = șobolan. So maybe they teach those words a bit later.
  12. lushlala, I have pretty much the same problem with lack of confidence as you do. I prefer it actually when there are no other native English speakers around. If there are other people with English as their first language, I'll sometimes be embarrassed to speak the foreign language in front of them, or else they'll just take over and I'll end up not saying anything. Don't know whether I should be advocating this on a forum like this, but in my experience alcohol does help!
  13. As this is Linguaholic, I'll throw Malayalam out there: a palindromic language. Yep it's cool that "stressed" backwards is "desserts". I think those are the longest pair of words in English that work like that. I've heard "semordnilap" for a word that spells another word backwards, but I doubt that's an official term.
  14. We don't need to guess; the figures, or good estimates at least, are out there. But I think there's some confusion as to whether we're talking about (1) native speakers, (2) all speakers, whether native or as a second language, or (3) second-language speakers only. (1) is the table that djlearns posted. Native speakers only. Mandarin is way out in front with Spanish second and English third. (2) still puts Mandarin in the lead, but English is clearly in second place, well ahead of Spanish, thanks to everybody who speaks English as a second language. Subtract (1) from (2) and you get (3), just the second-language speakers. Here English is the winner. In fact more people speak English as a second language than as their mother tongue.
  15. Baburra, The difference between "advice" and "advise" is clear, and best summed up by the picture in linguaholic's post. The two words are not interchangeable. If a student wrote "I received some helpful advise" it would get the red-pen treatment from me. Otherwise I wouldn't be doing my job properly. Language does evolve. Give it 50 years and perhaps the two words will be interchangeable. I certainly won't be teaching English then!
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