English-speaking people, I have a question for you?
I am from Argentina, Spanish-language native. And I perfectly understand written Portuguese, I even read Brazilian newspapers. Is there any language English is related to that you understand?
- AgProvLv 64 months ago
Ja, ek verstaan ook Afrikaans. Nederlands, misschien niet zo goed - het is verbetert.
I once had a perfectly intelligible conversation with a Belgian lady in a shop in Kent, England, where she was speaking Flemish and I was making it up as I went along in a horrible mix of Dutch and Afrikaans. But the point is English is most closely related to the languages spoken on the other side of the Channel and the dialect spoken, for historical reasons, in Africa. Forget French - not really related at all. Irrelevant. But Dutch, Flemish, Frisian, to a lesser extent German and Danish - closer to English than you'd think.
I leave you with two sentences in Afrikaans to illustrate the point:
My pen is in my hand
My hand is in warm water.
- bluebellbkkLv 74 months ago
A Scot who has learned German can get by in Dutch.
- A.J.Lv 74 months ago
Each language as a whole is different from any other language, and we can even consider American English different from Australian or British.
There are the actual words, the grammar, the definitions, idioms, accents in speaking and in writing that make languages different. Mandarin Chinese is picture characters.
[Although Argentina's de facto language is Spanish, Argentinian Spanish is different from the Spanish spoken in Spain. In some ways it sounds more like Italian than Spanish. The Spanish of Argentina originated in Spain, and is not indigenous.]
[Correction per comment]-
English is derived from Indo-Germanic along with German which originated in Sandinavia regions, but English also has thousands of words taken from Latin languages. Spanish and French and others derived originally from Latin. All languages change over time. Languages borrow words from other languages.
I can say "That sounds kosher." Kosher כשר is from Hebrew and is left to right referring to food acceptable by religious law, and in English means what was proposed as a concept, idea, or activity is acceptable.
Languages change so much over time it becomes harder and harder to understand very old versions.
Other than other English languages like British English, and my study of French, I know some words of other languages but don't understand enough to be fluent at all.
I had a business friend in Japan who was also fluent in English and he could read Mandarin Chinese but did not do well in spoken Mandarin.
Argentina borders Brazil who got invaded and settled by the Portugal people and the primary language of Brazil became a form of Portuguese. Portugal borders Spain. There are many similarities between Portuguese and Spanish.
English became a global business language. An interesting note is that English is the official language of Botswana in Africa. A native language, Setswana is spoken by 77.3% (year 2011 data) and English by about 3% of the people.
Even in English there can be confusion.
Biscuits and pork sausage gravy for breakfast in the USA. Biscuits in UK are cookies in USA, and gravy assumed as a beef type. This one gets understood after seeing it.
- Don VertoLv 74 months ago
My languages are; Spanish,Dutch and English. I can help myself with German if needed.I can understand written and spoken Afrikaans but I can not speak or write it.
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- M'aiq The liarLv 74 months ago
Just American, British, Scottish, Irish, Welsh and Australian. But those are more accents than languages though they have their own words and phrases...
- ZirpLv 74 months ago
The languages closest to English are Scots and Frisian
but most anglos never heard either of them.
The Scots have been anglified to such an extent that some mistake Scots for a dialect of English. Some videos on youtube will make you see that it isn't.
The Frisians have a saying: "butter, brea(d) and green cheese", is good English and good Frys(k)Source(s): dutch/NL
- LiliLv 74 months ago
I speak German and can read Dutch and understand much of it. Both are Germanic languages, as is English. West Frisian, a Germanic language spoken in the Netherlands, is considered by many to be the language closest to English in the world and represents a sort of intermediary language between English and Dutch.
I also speak Italian and French and can read Spanish and understand much of it, though that fact doesn't directly address your question.
- Anonymous4 months ago
Surprisingly a language like Swahili is reckoned to be the easiest African language for English speakers to learn. Not sure why as it has few cognates, but I guess it is easy to pronounce, like anyone can say hakuna matata and alot of constructions are pretty straightforward. Of the European languages, I found Italian easiest to learn, since the pronunciation scheme is much more logical than say French.
- Anonymous4 months ago
French and Latin.
- CogitoLv 74 months ago
I've studied Spanish and can also understand written Portuguese (to an extent) and also some Italian, but as far as I know there's no language that's similar to English.