Jane Drew (jane_drew_) wrote,
Jane Drew
jane_drew_

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"Wait-- if you were counting flounder, would you use the counting-word for things which are flat?"

I continue to be SO GLAD that I did not have to learn English as a foreign language (would you want to try to learn a language in which you could construct sentences like "The polished Polish prince got into a row about rowing with the Moor who lives on the moor," and the months are logically named after Latin number-words, except for the ones which aren't, and oh, by the way, the ones that are are off by two numbers, because the Caesars decided to add extra months and name them after themselves, not to mention the hodgepodgery of Greek and Latin and Germanic and French and....yeah).

On the other hand, having learned the "normal" Japanese alphabet (hiragana) and then the "it's exactly the same, except for foreign words" Japanese alphabet (katakana), and having started on the "here are symbols we've imported from China, which can have entirely different pronunciations and meanings depending on whether it's a Chinese reading or a Japanese reading" alphabet (kanji), and now getting into things like the fact that adjectives conjugate (!), and counting things uses entirely different words based on the qualities of the things you are talking about.... yeah.

(on the other-other hand, I have so far resisted the temptation to ask, if there is one word meaning that a living thing "is" and a different word if it's a non-living thing that you're referring to-- "there is a dog" and "there is a book" have different verbs, in other words-- what do you use if you're talking about, say, vampires?)
Tags: language is the best toy ever, my brain at work
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