ITT: We discuss what we like about our target languages and dislike about our native languages and vice versa!

Hello all,

I’m sure this must have come up at some point on the forums, but I think this will be a fun topic to discuss! What are some things you like about your target language that do not exist in your native language? What are some things about your native language you dislike? Are there any things about your target language you dislike? Are there some things you prefer about your native language over your target language?

I’ll start: one of the things I both love and hate about my target language (german) is the ability to combine words to form nouns. I especially love the ones that are kind of comical like refrigerator - Kuhlschrank and bat - Fledermaus.

What do you all think?

Hi, I just must quote from Steve’s book:

Good language learners:
Who is good at languages?

  • People who are motivated to learn languages.
  • People who put enough time into learning languages.
  • People who are not afraid to make mistakes.
  • People who are good at simplifying tasks.
  • People who are willing to imitate the behaviour of another culture.
  • People who do not resist the new language and just accept it.

Dont say that you hate something in your target language, just accept that. Only in that case, you will be succesful learner.


Perhaps hate is too strong of a word. What I mean is, things you like or prefer about your target language over your native language, and vice versa.

For example, I often hear people say they really like the way French sounds. So someone might prefer the way french sounds over their mother tongue.

My native language is different from my target languages - English, German.
I am used to the cases and genders, so German is familiar to me - the genders are almost same (not in all cases, sure)… das Auto - to auto, die Bank - ta banka, der Rucksack - ten ruksak.
I am familiar with cases too, so I am used to change the word ending in each case of word. I understand that for you, it can be difficitult.
However, both German and English have the tenses which I am not familiar with. It was difficult to get used them. But for you, the tenses in German might be easier than for me, since they are similar > Ich habe gesagt - I have said, I had gesagt - Ich hatte gesagt.

I had said , not I had gesagt :))))))))))

I forgot to mention the articles…The Slavic languages dont have any articles, so I still make mistakes in using them. Using articles in German and English is similar, you are familiar with it as well as with the tenses in German.
Have a look at Steve’s article about languages. You will see that German for English speaking people is not so difficult - it is in the group 1.

In addition, the word order is totaly different :slight_smile: But as I mentioned before, just enjoy yourself while learning your target language and dont think about difficulty.

I like the fact that German has given me an ability to listen carefully to a speaker.

In my days our sentences were very long and a good deal of important information came towards the end of a sentence. Younger people might no longer have that focus of attention since the rules governing word order have slipped somewhat.

I like the sound of the north German speakers, I feel transported back in time, I am at home in that language. (I also quite like hearing other dialects, but nothing beats Plattdeutsch.)

As for all the other languages: I want to learn them ‘because they are there’, to paraphrase a famous mountaineer. I think they are all exciting in their own way.

I agree with Susanne. Having the main verb at the end of subordinate sentences forces you to listen carefully. On the other hand, it is a problem for interpreters, as you can read in Kató Lomb’s book “Polyglot” (which I greatly recomment: you can download it from a site whose link you find in the English Wikipedia page about this interpreter).
Something I really like in Spanish that doesn’t exist in any other languages (as far as I know) are the double question marks or exclamation points, because you immediately know a question or an exclamation is coming. Many times, I start reading a sentence and, only when I reach the end, I realise it was a question, so I have to read it again (if I am reading aloud).

Thank you for the Kató Lomb reference, I’ve just downloaded it - fascinating.

You are welcome, Susanne! :slight_smile:

As opposed to my native language French, I like that Chinese is a non-inflected language and that the grammar is much simpler.


About german… I’ve been having a lot of problems to comprehend the structure of the sentences hehehe… things will make more sense soon… I hope hehe…

I liked the text about the difficulty for learners to learn each language… I’d like to see how difficult languages are for portuguese native speakers… Is it possible to be found?

Thank you!

I love the sound of Spanish, and I really like that it has the pronouns (me, se, lo, etc.) before the verb, because this is usually backwards from what it is in English, and so it is a fun challenge of the language. It’s a very enjoyable part of language learning, to see how thoughts are arranged in a different way than your own language.

While learning Spanish, I’ve also come to realize that I love how many vowels English has (12 or 13 I think). But what I hate about English (as many other people probably do) is the disaster that is English orthography! So often I come across a word I’ve never seen, and I have absolutely no clue how to say it!

I would say that all the differences in a foreign language are what make learning it so much fun!

Haha, I’m glad to hear that from a native speaker, prigby418, a lot of native English speakers seem to think English is very easy. Someone asked on yahoo answers why English is the world language and someone answered ‘well English is very easy to learn…’. While people who speak a language not a lot of people learn always seem to think their own language is the hardest one there is. A lot of Dutch people would like it if you learn Dutch… but they will probably speak in English to you and say Dutch is hard. And I told a Danish friend I would like to learn Danish and she was like… why?? Danish is really hard! But… although I love English and it’s not hard for me at all, I think it’s harder than Dutch, Danish, and most European languages. It is pretty easy for most people to learn but that’s because you get so much exposure to English… at a young age already. In 2nd grade a friend asked me if I could count to 10 in English and she thought I was dumb because I couldn’t lol (and then in 6th grade, who was the one who read books in English (without having had any English classes in my life, ever) because the Dutch ones were too easy?? Ha! She wasn’t!)

Um… well that was kind of off topic. On topic: I obviously love almost everything about the languages I’m learning, or else I wouldn’t be learning them. Of course every languages has hard parts and irregularities and blah blah but it’s part of the language and I love it.