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I read a funny thing this morning about what people think about some English words. Either they had a hard time pronouncing or understanding them or they meant something entirely different in another language.

 

Examples: Queue, Pigeon, manhole, colonel.

 

Some others: Puppy "sounds like what it is!"

 

"fart" - in Norwegian and Swedish, it means "speed." In Polish, it means luck. Have fun with that one!

 

Pragnat in German means "concise"

 

And, of course, there's the Spanish "embarazada" which many people thing is "embarrassed" but really means "pregnant."

 

One guy wrote: "How do you pronounce Eighth and Fifth without spitting?"

 

All in all, it's a pretty funny look at the English language. You can see the whole conversation here: http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/1hf67b/nonenglishasafirstlanguage_redditors_what_word_in/

 

Of course, there's the ever-popular: bow, bow, bow and bough.

Edited by eleanorcr

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I once tried to count the ways the letter combination "ough" can be pronounced. I came up with more than 10.

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In my English conversation class, the most common question: "Which is harder to learn English or Spanish?" (for me, Spanish, but it's not like I learned it while I was growing up)

 

As I'm getting marginally better in Spanish, there are certainly words that are spelled the same way that mean completely different things. Oh, but English: don't even ask!

 

eleanor, I'll check out your link. Should be very interesting!

 

regards,

Gayle

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As a learner of Spanish and a teacher of English living in a bilingual marriage, I think there are some things harder about Spanish (subjunctive, preterite vs. imperfect past, for example), and others that are harder in English (spelling/pronunciation, phrasal verbs, use of "do" to make questions and negatives). English has easier verb conjugation for example, but many more exceptions in all things, and the spelling and pronunciation drive Spanish speakers nuts, because their language has rules for spelling and pronunciation that they actually follow.

 

So, I don't know, it's a toss up. The subjunctive still eludes me in many cases, but watching my poor esposo trying to memorize the hundreds and hundreds of phrasal verbs is something, too. (For example, the difference between: throw out, throw up, throw away, throw down, put away, put up with, put up, hold on, hold out, hold in, catch on, hang on, hang out, hang up ... yeah. Poor guy.) Tonight I was trying to explain to a student the three different pronunciations for the double "oo", and why we sometimes pronounce "the" as "thuh" and sometimes as "thee". Never ending fun!

 

Can't wait to show the esposo your link, Eleanor. Muahahahahaha.

Edited by stewart.tb

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And when you're done with "throw", "put", "hold", etc., explain "get/got" to him. I got interested in this after getting an earful from my Spanish instructor. He got to our house late one time because he'd gotten up, gotten dressed, gotten his breakfast, gotten out the door and into his car, got caught in traffic, got lost, and was so frustrated that he got a headache.

 

(Gotta run . . . )

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Not fair, David! I was just composing something on this same subject. Anyway, I hope everyone gets the message. Got to go now...

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Yes! The various uses of "get" is one of the more common questions I get in our help forum for students. In fact, I get tired of explaining it, har har. Then again, mastering the various uses of "se" in Spanish is no piece of cake!

Edited by stewart.tb

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Oh, Tiffany, I can't begin to tell you the problems I have had with "me, te, lo, los, se, la, las, le". I am almost killed every time I read this in my Spanish "brush-up" course:

"A mis padres les gusta la cerveza." Correct but seems so convoluted! As well as "A ellos no les gustan los caballos." and the ever popular "Ella les lee un menu a ustedes."

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Oh, Tiffany, I can't begin to tell you the problems I have had with "me, te, lo, los, se, la, las, le". I am almost killed every time I read this in my Spanish "brush-up" course:

"A mis padres les gusta la cerveza." Correct but seems so convoluted! As well as "A ellos no les gustan los caballos." and the ever popular "Ella les lee un menu a ustedes."

 

True Eleanor, but it's just a difficult for the ticos to form the english equivalents: My parents like beer. OR: Me duele la pierna. My leg hurts. And so on....

 

Paul M.

==

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Paul - I'm just telling you what my particular stumbling block is. We all have our "thangs" - this one is mine.

 

I do think it is MUCH more difficult to learn English than Spanish. I think Spanish is much more straightforward.

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Paul - I'm just telling you what my particular stumbling block is. We all have our "thangs" - this one is mine.

 

I do think it is MUCH more difficult to learn English than Spanish. I think Spanish is much more straightforward.

 

Yes, Eleanor, I did understand your comments about learning spanish. Of course the main problem about learning a second language is that it's done completely unlike acquiring our first language, which is done gradually, painlessly, over an extended period of time and from 'square one' so to speak.

 

We tend to wade into learning a foreign (i.e., second) language and we do it in a comparatively artificial way, mixing together vocabulary, grammar and syntax, which is very unlike the way of our first language acquisition.

 

And for me, one of the more difficult things about learning spanish (french, too) has been figuring out which is the right preposition to use with many of the verbs!

 

Saludos!

 

Paul M.

==

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