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owl

Do you know why English language is superior to Spanish?


68 posts in this topic

Do you?


I'm gonna post the answer after seeing some poll. (I'll say it after 20 opinions).
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So English is superior but do we know why? Or do we think English is superior? I'll put down no, I've no idea why English is superior (as I don't speak Spanish) and I have no basis to say whether English is superior or not.
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[quote name='Nanoha' timestamp='1307877155' post='4822352']
So English is superior but do we know why? or do we think English is superior? I'll put down no, I've no idea why English is superior (as I don't speak Spanish) and I have no basis to say whether English is superior or not.
[/quote]

Well, that'd make your answer honest. I wouldn't have pretended more than that.

The question is tricky and trolling on purpose. Firstly because it is stating something as true when it necessarily isn't for all subjects answering the poll. Secondly because it wants to cause an emotional response on you and force you to answer honestly with resentment or the inverse also with resentment. It even does the job if you decide to ignore the whole thread. It got to you and forced you to make a choice.

There are no ill intetions on my part with this. And I'm going to have a very hard time justifying the original question as true. Most of you might feel intrigued by the fact that the expression of a language can affect the way you perceive something that is being said. But in the end is just a game of words. Smart people can understand stuff beyond spoken/written language.
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Could you define what you mean by "superior" regarding languages ? What is the comparison function ?

The only thing that would make some sense would be the number of people speaking it in the world, but there are more precise words than "superior" to describe that.
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[quote name='SriLumpa' timestamp='1307881018' post='4822372']
Could you define what you mean by "superior" regarding languages ? What is the comparison function ?

The only thing that would make some sense would be the number of people speaking it in the world, but there are more precise words than "superior" to describe that.
[/quote]

rtft? Superior as in "more communicative" or if you want "more conveniently communicative". Now tell me that language isn't a function of convenience.
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I think it's more flexible but that's only because I know English a lot better than I know Spanish. However, I've watched Football in Spanish and Soccer in English. And I've watched soap operas in both languages. And I must say communicatively speaking, Spanish is superior. Matter of fact, I won't watch the World Cup unless it's in Spanish. I heard English-speaking announcers and wanted to throw up in my throat. There seems to be a lot more emotion and feeling communicated in Spanish speakers than in English speakers (US and UK). Again, just IMO.
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What do you mean by superior? That it's used in mainstream applications and has become the standard when it comes to international communication in the west and between the east and the west? English is not superior - it's just more simple (comparatively, especially when you're not striving for grammatical correctness), has fewer fancy characters and has the benefit of being the native language of a country that currently happens to be the most globally dominant superpower in the world. Having a widespread character base also helps, which is only half true for Spanish and not true at all for eg Chinese, Arabic or Indian. Easier (read: less specific) pronunciation (from a personal point of view) goes a long way as well.

This has got nothing to do with one language being superior or another language not being able to fill the same role - it's got everything to do with history and happenstance. Global presence dictates preference - just as Latin used to be the shizzle until a superpower (whose name we no longer speak) took it upon itself to implode on its own arrogance. Or take Babylonian - a cuneiform language that actually came packaged with its own numeric system (base 60, which is still used in geometry et al today). Currently, with 300+ million speakers I wouldn't say Spanish is inferior in any imaginable way. It's just not the language that Hollywood films come and space missions are run in: it's not culturally dominant in the popular circle ([url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistic_imperialism"]click me![/url]). As a side note, consider [url="http://thenextweb.com/asia/2010/12/21/chinese-the-new-dominant-language-of-the-internet-infographic/"]this[/url].

In 17th-20th century Europe (especially the north and middle regions), English, German and French were almost equal. Russian was hugely affected by French due to warm relations between the two countries' cultural spaces (which happens to exclude the fact that one actually invaded the other). There literally was no linguistic preference before the first world war when the US began to tip the balance on a global scale, and the scientific circles remained multilingual for decades to come.

[url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaiian_language"]Hawaiian[/url] - now there's a language that I would consider inferior purely from a linguistic point of view. In pretty much any other sense I'm not sure I understand your question.
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I think it would best be answered by a non-native english or spanish speaker.

My take on english is that there's no gender which is nice, and conjugation of verbs is quite easy. In English, you only need to know one conjugation for each tense because the pronoun forms the verb, in spanish you have to know five conjugations for each tense.

Probably the coolest thing about English is that there are relatively few dialects that are unintelligible. An Indian, Australian, Englishman, and a Canadian can all talk to eachother and understand eachother pretty well. Contrast that to something like Hindi where you can be down the street talking the same language and not understand the person. Though spanish probably falls in the same category as well.

Spanish is nice because it's completely phoenetic. Spelling and reading are all pretty easy. If there is a word with an irregular pronunciation, it is shown with an accent mark.

My guess is that spanish would be easier to learn to read and write, and that english would be easier to learn to speak. I would not want to be a non-native and have to try to spell in english though, that would suck.
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I like Spanish. It's grammatical structure is different but the vowels definitely make speaking almost lyrical. Unlike English where most of our words end in harsh and sudden consonants.
I don't know what defined a language as "superior" or I think, we'd all agree on that one language and we could all understand each other.
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English has an irritatingly high incidence of homophones as well as idiomatic words and expressions which make it a bear to learn.

I prefer English for a couple of reasons, probably due in large part to my experience as a native English speaker.

English has no gender, as mentioned above, which makes it a bit freer (not to mention that gender in language is arbitrary, and almost as irritating as any idiom). There's also been some research into gender in language and its social effects. The research is fairly new, and the results aren't in yet, but it could place an odd constraint on communication not present in a gender-neutral language.

English has more words than Spanish, which allows for greater precision in communication (though few people make any real use of this).

Also, Spanish has a wierd construction with blame for events. If you drop some plates, the sentence is something like "The plates dropped themselves to me". It's not the only way to construct that meaning, and it does have situations where it's specifically not used, but it's odd to me to have such an anthropomorphised form at any time. That's kind of a finnicky complaint though.

Of course, I could be totally inept with vernacular as opposed to the official rules (which I suppose I could be incompetent with as well), so my issues may not apply with how the languages are actually used.
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I'd be more curious why you think it is (or isn't). I've tried learning Spanish a few times and got the basics of conjugations and some simple phrases. I found the gender and conjugations to be a bit odd, but I don't think they make the language bad. It's just a different way. The reason I find English to be "superior" is the lack of accents in most words. I'd prefer if every word used only the 26 characters.
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[quote name='irreversible' timestamp='1307886433' post='4822386']
has the benefit of being the native language of a country that currently happens to be the most globally dominant superpower in the world.[/quote]

The only reason that is true now is down to English being 'the language of trade' long before the current super power existed due to the English Empire :)

And that is a matter of luck, the dominate language has changed a number of times thoughout history, if things had gone a bit differently then maybe French would have remained the key language rather than English taking over and the US might well be a French speaking country. So, English being 'front and centre' is a legacy more than anything.

English, as a language, is horrible really; most 'native' speakers are unable to speak it correctly and most would certainly get the grammar wrong in its written form. Just look at the "your" and "you're" confusion which is common for example. Not to mention the two ways you can say 'the' depending on the content of the surrounding words.

But, it's what we've got to work with...
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Most spanish speakers can't speak it properly either. And context sensitive words appear there as well: y/e and o/u. And irregular verbs are just as bad: ser -> fuese, seriously?
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The official rules of language aren't all that relevant. Whatever the Royal Academy of Language says, languages shift over time in response to how people actually use them. In English, we don't write "to-morrow" anymore, and it's not because some guy decided to change the rule of what was proper.

As long as a meaning is derived by the listener/reader that is more or less the meaning conceived by the speaker/writer, the language is working. Arbitrary grammatical rules enhance communicative precision at best, but they can be broken down quite a bit without losing much information content. Besides, a lot of current grammatical constructions can be traced to arcane and largely obsolete etymologies or defunct rules.

I'm a grammar nerd myself, and I love the precision of meaning that good grammar can provide. But the fact that many or even most people don't avail themselves of their languages' potential doesn't affect the values of those languages themselves.
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[quote name='phantom' timestamp='1307903118' post='4822469']
English, as a language, is horrible really; most 'native' speakers are unable to speak it correctly and most would certainly get the grammar wrong in its written form. Just look at the "your" and "you're" confusion which is common for example. Not to mention the two ways you can say 'the' depending on the content of the surrounding words.

But, it's what we've got to work with...
[/quote]

Really??? My eight year old son understands the difference between your and you're (and so would most kids in his class). I think you underestimate native English speakers there.

As for two different ways of saying 'the', I assume you mean 'thee' and 'the', and if so I think it's down to dialect. I have never said 'thee' except when reading 'Olde Worlde' English...
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[quote name='triangles' timestamp='1307918033' post='4822528']
Really??? My eight year old son understands the difference between your and you're (and so would most kids in his class). I think you underestimate native English speakers there.
[/quote]

Good, I'm glad of that... however given the number of native english speakers who get it wrong and not just once but consistently well :(

[quote]
As for two different ways of saying 'the', I assume you mean 'thee' and 'the', and if so I think it's down to dialect. I have never said 'thee' except when reading 'Olde Worlde' English...
[/quote]

I find it depends on what I'm saying as to how I pronunce it; it confused a couple of guys from Italy at work with that when I used both in a single sentence.

Oh, and pet peeve; people saying 'two times' instead of 'twice'. It just sounds... wrong. :(
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Anyway, is the answer that the origin of the word 'superior' is Middle English, so the Spanish just stole the word because they didn't have any imagination?
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as a native spanish speaker, i can give another point of view:

spanish verbs and gender and all that special cases are really difficult to get for a non native spanish. I prefer English in this case. Also, as it have been said previously, English has more words, so you can express what you want more clearly. Spanish phrases are usually longer and gives you some turnarounds to tell the same than in English. I think that these 3 things makes english "superior", especially in the bussiness world:

- Easier to learn the basics
- Easier to express
- faster to express the same thing

[quote][size=2]I think it's more flexible but that's only because I know English a lot better than I know Spanish. However, I've watched Football in Spanish and Soccer in English. And I've watched soap operas in both languages. And I must say communicatively speaking, Spanish is superior. Matter of fact, I won't watch the World Cup unless it's in Spanish. I heard English-speaking announcers and wanted to throw up in my throat. There seems to be a lot more emotion and feeling communicated in Spanish speakers than in English speakers (US and UK). Again, just IMO. [/size][/quote]

that's just because spanish people are more involved in soccer/football than english people. Usually soccer is the most important sport in those countries. I will give you a counterexample: Try to watch an NBA game in english and in spanish. American commentators go crazy in NBA games.

[size=2][quote] I would not want to be a non-native and have to try to spell in english though, that would suck. [/quote][/size]
[size=2]It's easier really, cause people memorize the written word so he/she just have to "see" the word. Native speakers learn to talk before they learn to write or read, so they use the sound of the word[/size]
[size=2]
[/size]
[quote] [size=2]Most spanish speakers can't speak it properly either. And context sensitive words appear there as well: y/e and o/u. And irregular verbs are just as bad: ser -> fuese, seriously? [/quote][/size]
[size="2"]There are context sensitive words too, but they don't change the meaning of the phrase. As a non-native speaker, it's difficult to tell when a native-speaker is telling your o you're, without taking the context in the equation[/size]
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BeanDog expressed it quite finely:

[color="#1C2837"][size="2"][quote]English has higher information density per syllable, in my experience. [/quote][/size][/color]

[color="#1C2837"][size="2"]Also The meaning of words and sentences in english depend on the context. "Fu.k you" yelled out loud in the middle of a crowd could be directed at a single person, to a group or to the entire crowd. Nobody will ever know until more information is added.[/size][/color]

[color="#000000"][size="3"][color="#1C2837"][size="2"]One thing I can add to all that has already been said is the pronoun "you" being used for the singular as well as for the plural (in spanish they are two different words tu/ustedes). It also doesn't change when a "respectful treatment" is required ("usted" for "tu").[/size][/color][/size][/color]
[size="2"][color="#1c2837"]
[/color][/size][color="#000000"] [/color][color="#000000"] [/color][color="#000000"][size="3"][size="2"][color="#1c2837"][size="2"][b]You are a silly boy [/b]= (tu eres / vos sos / usted es) un niño tonto. (usted is for respectful treatment used mostly when directed to adults or unknown persons)[/size][/color][/size][/size][/color]
[color="#000000"][size="3"] [/size][/color][color="#000000"][size="3"][size="2"][color="#1c2837"][size="2"][b]You are silly boys[/b] = (ustedes son / vosotros sois) niños tontos.[/size][/color][/size][/size][/color]
[size="2"][color="#1c2837"]
[/color][/size][color="#000000"][size="3"] [/size][/color][color="#000000"][size="3"] [/size][/color][color="#000000"][size="3"][size="2"][color="#1c2837"][size="2"]English has a superior grade of synthesis that seems to be designed to communicate an idea simpler and quicker than in Spanish. Spanish is flooded with emotional connotations that while enriching the language they add (to me unnecessary) noise to the information.[/size][/color][/size][/size][/color][color="#000000"][size="3"] [/size][/color]
[color="#000000"][size="3"] [/size][/color]
[color="#000000"]EDIT: EOLs seems to be gone again. Please stop screwing the css! :)[/color]
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[quote name='owl' timestamp='1307924135' post='4822552'][size="2"] [/size] [color="#000000"][size="3"][size="2"][color="#1c2837"][size="2"][b]You are a silly boy [/b]= (tu eres / vos sos / usted es) un niño tonto. (usted is for respectful treatment used mostly when directed to adults or unknown persons)[/size][/color][/size][/size][/color]
[color="#000000"] [/color][color="#000000"][size="3"][size="2"][color="#1c2837"][size="2"][b]You are silly boys[/b] = (ustedes son / vosotros sois) niños tontos.[/size][/color][/size][/size][/color][color="#1c2837"][size=4]
[/size][/color][/quote]
you don't need the usted/es or tu in there. That taken into account, the sentences have the same amount of syllables in both languages.

I'm sure with perfect grammar what you say is true, but neither language is really spoken with perfect grammar.
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[quote name='way2lazy2care' timestamp='1307925034' post='4822556']
[quote name='owl' timestamp='1307924135' post='4822552'] [color="#000000"][size="3"][size="2"][color="#1c2837"][size="2"][b]You are a silly boy [/b]= (tu eres / vos sos / usted es) un niño tonto. (usted is for respectful treatment used mostly when directed to adults or unknown persons)[/size][/color][/size][/size][/color]
[color="#000000"][size="3"][size="2"][color="#1c2837"][size="2"][b]You are silly boys[/b] = (ustedes son / vosotros sois) niños tontos.[/size][/color][/size][/size][/color] [/quote]
you don't need the usted/es or tu in there. That taken into account, the sentences have the same amount of syllables in both languages.

I'm sure with perfect grammar what you say is true, but neither language is really spoken with perfect grammar.

[/quote]

That's what I find to be one of the most important differences. Speaking bad spanish is very badly seen. It denotes social status. Not saying "usted" to the proper person can be socially problematic.
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[quote name='owl' timestamp='1307925213' post='4822558']
That's what I find to be one of the most important differences. Speaking bad spanish is very badly seen. It denotes social status. Not saying "usted" to the proper person can be socially problematic.
[/quote]

not really as long as you use the usted form of the verb. Maybe it's different in spain, but I rarely heard tu or usted the way it is used in your examples in mexico in any social class. Sometimes it's used when the subject might be fuzzy or in more complex sentences, but most sentences don't have subjects when they are implied by the verb.
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So English is easier to learn, but Spanish is more efficient? I guess both languages are object oriented too. Spanish may have a larger memory overhead though, with the use of masculine/feminine words.
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