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Linguaholic

Why no compound word in other languages like English?


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In Spanish you cannot say "chica amiga", and expect Spanish speakers to know that you are trying to say "girlfriend", you have to say novia. But in English, you take "girl", and "friend", then put them together to get "girlfriend", and everyone will know what you mean. 

Why is i like that if you understand? 

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Hey! This is my view on it. I'm sure that you have heard already literal translation doesn't work. Why? Because languages are different. While you may find some words or phrases that have a direct translation into another language, there are many more that won't.
In Spanish we do have compound words, one of them is rompecabezas (that is, a puzzle). If I were to translate it literally, I would say head-breaker. Do you think someone would understand I'm talking about a puzzle if I said that?
Look at this idiom: every cloud has a silver lining.
You can't translate it literally into a Spanish, but you can find a another phrase that means the same, which in this case would be: no hay mal que por bien no venga.

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  • 4 weeks later...

There are indeed many compound words in Spanish as well as in other languages.

Here are some compound words in Spanish: abrelata (can opener), cortapapel (paper cutter), calientaplatos (dish warmer), paraguas (umbrella), abrecartas (letter opener).

In French, compound words are usually joined by a hypen: gratte-ciel (skyscraper), marque-pague (bookmark).

 

 

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That is a good question, I never thought of that before. I will go learn more about compound words in French, and I also wonder how Chinese people say many words. That's what I'm learning now, and it's the hardest language I've tried learning so far.

It would be nice if there was classes I could take online that could break all of that down.

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Well I really have no idea what the correct answer is here, but I think that it is fascinating to think about and really interesting to learn about.  If I had to throw a guess out there I would say that English is a more created language then the others.  I am not sure if that makes sense, though.  It is based on other languages, so I think that it is just more natural for people to construct words like this.  I am also sure that there are bunch of other examples, which is frustrating me that I cannot think of more.  Interesting stuff though, and thanks for sharing.

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