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Spanish: A wolf in sheep’s clothing

  Tags: Difficulty | Spanish
 Language Learning Forum : Specific Languages Post Reply
73 messages over 10 pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 1 ... 9 10 Next >>
John Smith
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Australia
Joined 4179 days ago

396 posts - 542 votes 
Speaks: English*, Czech*, Spanish
Studies: German

 
 Message 1 of 73
07 June 2010 at 3:30am | IP Logged 

I want to hear from the native Spanish speakers here.

The Spanish language has a repuation for being easy. What do you guys think?

I believe that most people are fooled by Spanish. It looks easy. It's easy to pronounce. It has a phonetic alphabet so it's easy to read. English speakers can understand lots of Spanish words becuase they look similar to their English counterparts. For example diferente and different. As a result vocab learning seems easy.

Unfortunately, that's where the fun stops.

Speaking correct Spanish is very difficult. The subjunctive/indicative, Estar/ser, Perfect/Imperfect... are very hard to get.

I want to know what Spanish speakers think of people who learn their language? Are we as good as think?


7 persons have voted this message useful



lynxrunner
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
United States
crittercryptics.com
Joined 4059 days ago

361 posts - 461 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish*, French
Studies: Russian, Swedish, Haitian Creole

 
 Message 2 of 73
07 June 2010 at 3:53am | IP Logged 
I haven't met many people who speak Spanish beyond a basic beginner's level. Most U.S.
Americans I know speak it with a very heavy accent and say things like "uno momento". The
only non-Hispanic person I know who I can remember having learned Spanish to any
reasonable level was a doctor I went to once for an ear infection. She had an accent, but
her Spanish was good with no grammatical errors that I recall.

Basically, I haven't met anyone interested enough in Spanish to have learned it to even
an intermediate level, so I can't judge. :p
10 persons have voted this message useful



Juаn
Senior Member
Colombia
Joined 3482 days ago

727 posts - 1830 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*

 
 Message 3 of 73
07 June 2010 at 3:59am | IP Logged 
It is very seldom that I have seen a non-native speak or write good Spanish. Also, from having studied several foreign languages by now -some of which generally regarded as "difficult"- I have come to appreciate the precision and expressiveness of my native tongue which make it a privileged vehicle for literature and thought.

I surmise many of those who regard Spanish as "easy" never reach a very high level in it and derive their impression from the ease with which a very basic, rough and coarse communicative level can be attained, not from what it entails as a means of high expression.

Also from experience with foreign languages I know that learning to properly and elegantly speak and write any of them is as "easy" or as "difficult" as any other; that some of them present specific obstacles such as ideographic writing systems or a mostly foreign lexical reservoir is another matter altogether.

Edited by Juаn on 07 June 2010 at 4:47am

14 persons have voted this message useful



John Smith
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Australia
Joined 4179 days ago

396 posts - 542 votes 
Speaks: English*, Czech*, Spanish
Studies: German

 
 Message 4 of 73
07 June 2010 at 11:07am | IP Logged 
@ Juan

I made the same mistake when I started learning Spanish. I used to think it was the world's easiest language.

Usually the people who claim it is easy speak it the worst. They translate English word for word and usually make up fake Spanish words like la populacion. I was one them for a while. *embarrassed*. It's a shame that a lot of people don't take the language more seriously.


2 persons have voted this message useful



Andy E
Triglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 5240 days ago

1651 posts - 1938 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, French

 
 Message 5 of 73
07 June 2010 at 11:23am | IP Logged 
John Smith wrote:
They translate English word for word and usually make up fake Spanish words like la populacion.


Actually, the word populación does exist :-)

It's a (not very common) synomym for población in the sense of the act or effect of furnishing something with inhabitants.

... but I know what you mean.


5 persons have voted this message useful



XGargoyle
Bilingual Triglot
Groupie
Spain
Joined 4093 days ago

42 posts - 93 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*, Catalan*, EnglishB2
Studies: GermanA2, Japanese, Russian

 
 Message 6 of 73
07 June 2010 at 12:58pm | IP Logged 
Here are my 2 cents about Spanish.

- Spanish is easy? Let's say it is easier than other languages, but the definition of "easy" may be the topic for another discussion. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

- Straight pronunciation? Phonetic alphabet? Yes, but many people struggle with the rolled R, and the difference between C/S/Z. Keep into account that many native speakers (mainly from Latin America and the south region of Spain) don't even make such difference.

- Noun gender: Ok, here's probably the easiest part of the language. An easy rule with very few exceptions (el problema, la mano...)

- Verb, tense, mood, conjugation: This is probably the hardest part of the language due to the amount of irregular verbs, but it is the same situation with any other romance languages. Native speakers from French, Italian or Portuguese (to name a few) won't worry much about learning the Spanish verbs. German native speakers share a very similar concept of Subjuntiv, and as such, may find it easy to learn it. English native speakers may struggle with the subjuntiv though. In any case, learning the tenses and their use is just a matter of memory and drilling, something a serious language learner is already used to. The irregular verbs do exist, and there are many, but you learn them on a regular and gradual basis, leaving you time enough to assimilate their structure. Besides, the most common irregular verbs are used every day, so learning them is easy and fast.
A quick glance at the table below, and anyone will realize that Spanish verb tenses are not that difficult:

Spanish verbs

To sum up, Spanish is easier to learn than other languages. You won't find the crazy spelling from English, nor the complexity of Chinese Hanzi/Japanese Kanji, nor the declination system from Russian, nor the word agglutination in languages such as Finnish or Esperanto (wait, people says Esperanto is an easy language, how? I sincerely doubt it after reading "figebovetarejo" means "Yard of herds of cows and bulls that are small and disgusting"), nor regional variations from Arabic that differ so much one from the other. Yet all these languages I've mentioned are rather popular and lots of people are learning them, despite the difficulties.

Does that make Spanish an easy language? The answer will probably depend on your native language, your background and the level you want to achieve with the language, be it a basic/survival level or mastering it. In my opinion Spanish in the early phase is a lower-challenge language (probably the lowest) but mastering it will be probably as difficult as mastering any other language.


17 persons have voted this message useful



tractor
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 3590 days ago

1349 posts - 2292 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, English, Spanish, Catalan
Studies: French, German, Latin

 
 Message 7 of 73
07 June 2010 at 4:01pm | IP Logged 
XGargoyle wrote:
Verb, tense, mood, conjugation: This is probably the hardest part of the language due to the amount of irregular verbs, but it is the same situation with any other romance languages. Native speakers from French, Italian or Portuguese (to name a few) won't worry much about learning the Spanish verbs. German native speakers share a very similar concept of Subjuntiv, and as such, may find it easy to learn it. 


I've studied Spanish alongside both Frenchmen and Germans in class, and they did struggle just as much as the rest of us with the subjunctive, at least with its past tenses.
2 persons have voted this message useful



John Smith
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Australia
Joined 4179 days ago

396 posts - 542 votes 
Speaks: English*, Czech*, Spanish
Studies: German

 
 Message 8 of 73
07 June 2010 at 4:28pm | IP Logged 
^^ I have been learning German for a few years now... The German subjunctive is only used in a very few phrases. A bit like the English subjunctive. You only really use it when you say "if I were you". Some people use it when they say things like "I suggest he go there" intead of "I suggest he goes there."

Edited by John Smith on 07 June 2010 at 4:29pm



3 persons have voted this message useful



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