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Comment Re:Sesame Street & the Importance of Bilingual (Score 1) 1077

The closest language to English is French

i'm having a hard time reading this.

if you are saying that finnish and english are as different as can be based on a) their different language families, b) their different phonological inventories, and c) their difference in terms of grammatical categories available...

then how on earth can you possibly say that "the closest language to English is French" if they a) come from different language families [one is romanic, the other is germanic], b) have different phonological inventories, and c) have very different grammatical systems [for starters, french has articles and genders, whereas english doesn't].

and even though orthography is hardly worth considering when talking about similarities between languages, the above paragraph doesn't even mention how incredibly different the use of the latin alphabet is in french and in english! (have you ever noticed the diacritics on top of french letters?)

Comment Re:Sesame Street & the Importance of Bilingual (Score 1) 1077

on what, might i ask, do you base such an assertion? if you are going to say "why, on my proficiency in spanish, of course!" let me contend that by saying that i, too, am a native speaker of spanish. and speaking not only as a spanish speaker, but as a linguist, i feel i must tell you that your comment is very misleading.

it's true that some idioms take longer to say in spanish than in english, but that's hardly the case for all of them. and even if it were, english is by no means the most economic of languages in the world. should we consider word economy as the determining aspect, english would fare a lot worse than, say, japanese.

if you are into ridiculous examples, take your very own comment: in english it took you 59 words to say that (as per OOo) whereas in spanish you can say the same thing in 57:

siendo un sudamericano que vive en los estados unidos, debo decir que doy gracias por que el inglés sea el principal idioma de programación. no sé sobre otros idiomas, pero en castellano tienes demasiadas palabras para decir lo mismo. el código en inglés probablemente ganaría un par de cientos de líneas si se escribiera en castellano jeje

things are a lot more balanced than what you might think.

Comment Re:numbers probably came from (Score 1) 482

From the point of view of the Piraha, all other human languages, whether spoken by city-dwellers or nomads, are pretty much the same.

IAAHTNLT (i am a highly trained ninja linguist too), but i honestly have no idea what you are trying to say there... that they are the same insofar as they are different from their own? i don't really know since i am not a piraha speaking ninja linguist, but i think it's just a little audacious to assume that they are unable to recognize the same differences anyone else might be able to recognize when listening to any other two languages different to her own.

one too many times i have heard the same point being made: that if i don't have the words to refer to something (in this case, thing i can't see) i can't think about it (a very orwellian idea, mind you). but i assure you that if you get a chinese and a japanese and make them talk to the piraha-speaking dudes, you are bound to find at least 5-6 that can pinpoint at least a few differences between the two.

ok... maybe not 5-6, but definitely 1-4...

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