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Things in languages other than English that drive you nuts

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  • Things in languages other than English that drive you nuts

    Inspired as we've all been by Phil, I think it apropos to take this show on the road, so to speak: what have you found in other languages that's proven challenging, difficult, or incomprehensible?

    In Spanish, the word palabra ("word") I find simply impossible to pronounce correctly, That combination of "l," "b," and "r" always leaves me sounding like I've got a mouth full of mush.

    And who the dreamed up Щ ("shch") in Russian? I grew up hearing Russian on a fairly regular basis, and I still can't wrap my brain around that one.
    I was married for two ******* years! Hell would be like Club Med! - Sam Kinison

  • #2
    ...mi espanol es muy limitado...pero mi francais es muy...obscuro...
    ARRRR! International Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19th
    IN MARE IN COELO

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    • #3
      Long (composite) nouns in German. I'm about to fall asleep by the time I reach the end of some words.
      And its still difficult for me to pronounce English words where "r" goes after "th" (throat, three etc)
      "Keep Calm. Use Less X's"

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      • #4
        How come when you're in Montreal, you can say octante dollars, but in Quebec City you have to say quatre-vingts dollars?
        I was married for two ******* years! Hell would be like Club Med! - Sam Kinison

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        • #5
          The difference between pronunciation and written word in French. Like l'eau, which to me is pronounced with just "u". Why are you writing 4 letters and an apostrophe if you just use one to pronounce it?
          Wisdom is personal

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          • #6
            Why in Russian do the words "right" and "left" have to be conjugated to denote gender?
            I was married for two ******* years! Hell would be like Club Med! - Sam Kinison

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Karri View Post
              The difference between pronunciation and written word in French. Like l'eau, which to me is pronounced with just "u". Why are you writing 4 letters and an apostrophe if you just use one to pronounce it?


              Why in Russian do the words "right" and "left" have to be conjugated to denote gender?
              Because.
              There are no Nazis in Ukraine. Idiots

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              • #8
                Why does the Finnish language have 4,752,432 cases but no gender specific pronouns?
                Кто там?
                Это я - Почтальон Печкин!
                Tunis is a Carthigenian city!

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                • #9
                  How come in Arabic you have to cough up your lung's lining?
                  I was married for two ******* years! Hell would be like Club Med! - Sam Kinison

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by slick_miester View Post
                    How come when you're in Montreal, you can say octante dollars, but in Quebec City you have to say quatre-vingts dollars?
                    If you want a sure way to get into a fight in Montreal or Quebec, walk into a pub and loudly announce. "Parlez vous blanc?"
                    "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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                    • #11
                      I tried some basic Mandarin words when in Shanghai. Left and Right or straight on with taxi drivers . Just a total epic fail.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by copenhagen View Post
                        I tried some basic Mandarin words when in Shanghai. Left and Right or straight on with taxi drivers . Just a total epic fail.
                        Left and right in the Thai language are the same word when written down in phonetic English. They are differentiated only by 'tone'. I never got the hang of Thai tones, which led to me taking a lot of wrong turns when directing tuk-tuk drivers.


                        Philip
                        "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." Bertrand Russell

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                        • #13
                          In Thai, the following words have different meanings, only differentiated by tone:

                          new - mai
                          wood - mai
                          not - mai
                          burn - mai

                          My Thai teacher had me practice the tones in the following question hundreds of times:

                          "Mai mai mai mai mai?" (New wood doesn't burn, does it?)

                          I never got the hang of it.


                          Philip
                          "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." Bertrand Russell

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by PhilipLaos View Post
                            Left and right in the Thai language are the same word when written down in phonetic English. They are differentiated only by 'tone'. I never got the hang of Thai tones, which led to me taking a lot of wrong turns when directing tuk-tuk drivers.
                            During joint training missions we would just point or tap them on the arm. Striking a person upside the head in Thailand is apparently considered rather insulting.
                            I was married for two ******* years! Hell would be like Club Med! - Sam Kinison

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by slick_miester View Post
                              And who the dreamed up Щ ("shch") in Russian? I grew up hearing Russian on a fairly regular basis, and I still can't wrap my brain around that one.
                              No words have that combination in ordinary English but there is the placename Ashchurch to practice with.
                              The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. Thomas Jefferson.

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