Tammy Wynette, "Stand by Your Man"

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U48VjCJkowE] God I love this song. When it first came out in 1968, the feminists went crazy, saying it was an anti-feminist song that encouraged women to stay with abusive husbands. Tammy thought the controversy was over until Hilary Clinton brought it up in an interview shortly before Bill was elected President. Hilary told the interviewer, “Well, you know, I’m not exactly a stand by your man type.” That brought the controversy back. Six years later, Tammy died, possibly of a drug overdose. She had led an interesting but painful life, married five times with a famous affair with Burt Reynolds. Her most famous love was George Jones, the great country singer. A legendary drunk, once she hid his car keys so he could not go to the bar. He got on his motorized lawnmower and drove 12 miles into town to drink in the bar! That shows some determination! I love a stand by your man type woman. I have had a few of them in my life, more in recent years than in the past. These are the best women in the whole world, devoted to their man. There is something special about that and what it does for a man’s ego. If you are a man, consider yourself lucky if you ever get a woman like this. The more “alpha” a man is, the more “stand by your man” the woman will be. It’s evolution at work. So that’s another compliment.

A Look at the Slovene Language

From here. A look at how difficult the Slovene language for an English speaker to learn. Slovene is a hard language, but probably a few other Slavic languages are harder. One nice thing about Slovene is that it has quite a few German loan words, so there is more familiar vocabulary. Despite its complexity, Slovene is a beautiful language. Slovenian or Slovene is also a very hard language to learn, probably on a par with Serbo-Croatian. It has three number distinctions, singular, dual and plural. It’s the only major IE European language that has retained the dual. Sorbian has also retained the dual, but it is a minor tongue. However, the dual may be going out in Slovenia. In Primorska it is not used at all, and in the rest of Slovenia, the feminine dual is not used in casual speech (plural is used instead), but the masculine dual is still used for masculine nouns and mixed pairs of masculine and feminine nouns. In addition, there are six cases, as Slovene has lost the vocative. There are 18 different declensions of the word son, but five of them are identical, so there are really only 13 different forms.

   Singular Dual       Plural
1. Sin      Sina       Sini
2. Sina     Sinov      Sinov
3. Sinu     Sinovoma   Sinovom
4. Sina     Sinova     Sinove
5. O sinu   O sinovoma O sinovih
6. S sinom  Z sinovoma Z sini

There are seven different ways that nouns decline depending on gender, but there are exceptions to all of the gender rules. The use of particles such as pa is largely idiomatic. In addition, there is a lack of language learning materials for Slovene. Some sounds are problematic. Learners have a hard time with the č and ž sounds. There are also “open” and “closed” vowels as in Portuguese. Here is an example of a word that can be difficult to pronounce: križiščecrossroads However, Slovene has the past perfect that is the same as the English tense, lost in the rest of Slavic. In addition, via contact with German and Italian, many Germanic and Romance loans have gone in. If you know some German have some knowledge of another Slavic langauge, Slovene is not overwhelmingly difficult. Some people worry that Slovene might go extinct in the near future, as it is spoken by only 2 million people. However, even this small language has 356, 881 headwords in an online dictionary. So it is clear that Slovene has plenty enough vocabulary to deal with the modern world. Slovene is easier than Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Polish, Czech or Slovak. Slovenian gets a 4 rating, extremely hard.

A Look at the Serbo-Croatian Language

From here. A look at the Serbo-Croatian language to see how hard it is to learn fro an English speaker. Serbo-Croatian is legendary for its difficulty. Whether it is harder than Czech or Polish is somewhat up in the air, but probably Czech and Polish are harder. Few L2 speakers ever attain anything near native speaker competence. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating language. Serbo-Croatian, similar to Czech, has seven cases in the singular and seven in the plural, plus there are several different declensions. The vocative is still going strong in Serbo-Croatian (S-C), as in Polish, Ukrainian and Bulgarian. There 15 different types of declensions: seven tenses, three genders, three moods, and two aspects. Whereas English has one word for the number 2 – two, Serbo-Croatian has 17 words. Case abbreviations below: N = NAV – nominative, accusative, vocative G = Genitive D = Dative L =Locative I = Instrumental Masculine inanimate gender N dva G dvaju D L I dvama Feminine gender N dve G dveju D L I dvema Mixed gender N dvoje G dvoga D L I dvoma Masculine animate gender N dvojica G dvojice D L dvojici I dvojicom “Twosome” N dvojka G dvojke D L dvojci I dvojkom The grammar is incredibly complex. There are imperfective and perfective verbs, but when you try to figure out how to build one from the other, it seems irregular. This is the hardest part of Serbo-Croatian grammar, and foreigners not familiar with other Slavic tongues usually never get it right. Serbian has a strange form called the “paucal.” It is the remains of the old dual, and it also exists in Polish and Russian.  The paucal is a verbal number like singular, plural and dual. It is used with the numbers dva (2), tri (3), četiri (4) and oba/obadva (both) and also with any number that contains 2, 3 or 4 (22, 102, 1032).

gledalac            viewer
pažljiv(i)          careful
gledalac pažljiv(i) careful viewer
1 careful viewer  jedan pažljivi gledalac
2 careful viewers dva pažljiva gledaoca
3 careful viewers tri pažljiva gledaoca
5 careful viewers pet pažljivih gledalaca

Above, pažljivi gledalac is singular, pažljivih gledalaca is plural and pažljiva gledaoca is paucal. As in English, there are many different ways to say the same thing. Pronouns are so rarely used that some learners are surprised that they exist, since pronimalization is marked on the verb as person and number. Word order is almost free or at least seems arbitrary, similar to Russian. Serbo-Croatian, like Lithuanian, has pitch accent – low-rising, low-falling, short-rising and short-falling. It’s not the same as tone, but it’s similar. In addition to the pitch accent differentiating words, you also have an accented syllable somewhere in the word, which as in English, is unmarked. And when the word conjugates or declines, the pitch accent can jump around in the word to another syllable and even changes its type in ways that do not seem transparent. It’s almost impossible for foreigners to get this pitch-accent right. The “hard” ch sound is written č, while the “soft” ch sound is written ć. It has syllabic r and l. Long consonant clusters are permitted. See this sentence: Na vrh brda vrba mrda. However, in many of these consonant clusters, a schwa is present between consonants in speech, though it is not written out. S-C, like Russian, has words that consist of only a single consonant: swith Serbo-Croatian does benefit from a phonetic orthography. It is said that few if any foreigners ever master Serbo-Croatian well. Similar to Czech and Polish, it is said that many native speakers make mistakes in S-C even after decades of speaking it, especially in pitch accent. Serbo-Croatian is often considered to be one of the hardest languages on Earth to learn. It is harder than Russian but not as hard as Polish. Serbo-Croatian gets a 4.5 rating, extremely difficult.

A Look at the Polish Language

From here. A look at Polish to see how difficult it is for an English speaker to learn. Polish is probably the hardest I-E European language of all. Its only competition might be Albanian. Among non-IE European languages, we are looking at Basque, Finnish, and Hungarian as competition. The Poles are quite proud of their langauge and even take pride in its difficulty. It is certainly an amazing language. Polish is similar to Czech and Slovak in having words that seem to have no vowels, but in Polish at least there are invisible vowels. That’s not so obviously the case with Czech. Nevertheless, try these sentences:

  1. Wszczebrzeszynie chrząszcz brzmi w trzcinie i Szczebrzeszyn z tego słynie.
  2. Wyindywidualizowaliśmy się z rozentuzjazmowanego tłumu.
  3. W Szczebrzeszynie chrząszcz brzmi w trzcinie.

I and y, s and z, je and ě alternate at the ends of some words, but the rules governing when to do this, if they exist, don’t seem sensible. The letter ť is very hard to pronounce. There are nasal vowels as in Portuguese. The ą, ć, ę, ł, ń, ó, sz, cz, dz, , sounds are hard for foreigners to make. There are sounds that it is even hard for native speakers to make as they require a lot tongue movements. A word such as szczescie is hard to Polish L2 speakers to pronounce. Polish written to spoken pronunciation has some issues – h and ch are one sound – h, ó and u are the same sound, and u may form diphthongs where it sounds like ł, so u and ł can be the same sound in some cases. Kura (hen) and kóra are pronounced exactly the same way, and this is confusing to Polish children. However, the distinction between h/ch has gone of most spoken Polish. Furthermore, there is a Polish language committee, but like the French one, it is more concerned with preserving the history or the etymology of the word and less with spelling the word phonemically. Language committees don’t always do their jobs! Polish orthography, while being regular, is very complex. Polish uses a Latin alphabet unlike most other Slavic languages which use a Cyrillic alphabet. The letters are: AĄ B CĆ D EĘ FGHIJK LŁ M NŃ OÓ QPRSTUVW XY ZŹŻ. Native speakers speak so fast it’s hard for non-natives to understand them. Due to the consonant-ridden nature of Polish, it is harder to pronounce than most Asian languages. Listening comprehension is made difficult by all of the sh and ch like sounds. Furthermore, since few foreigners learn Polish, Poles are not used to hearing their language mangled by second-language learners. Therefore, foreigners’ Polish will seldom be understood. Polish grammar is said to be more difficult than Russian grammar. Polish has the following: There are five different tenses: zaprzeszły, przeszły, teraźniejszy, przyszły prosty, and przyszły złozony. However, zaprzeszły tense is almost extinct by now. There are seven different genders: male animate, male inanimate, feminine and neuter in the singular and  male personal and male impersonal in the plural. Male nouns have five patterns of declension, and feminine and neuter nouns have six different patterns of declension. Adjectives have two different declension patterns. Numbers have five different declension patterns: główne, porządkowe, zbiorowe, nieokreślone, and ułamkowe. There is a special pattern for nouns that are only plural. There are seven different cases: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, instrumental, locative, vocative, and the genitive case, which is irregular. Verbs have nine different persons in their declensions: ja, ty, on, ona, ono, my, wy, oni, one. There are different conjugation patterns for men and women. There are 18 different conjugation patterns in the verb (11 main ones). There are five different polite forms: for a man, a woman, men, women and men, and women combined. There are four different participle forms, three of which inflect. Polish has seven cases, including the vocative which has gone out of most Slavic. Although the vocative is becoming less common in Polish, it is still used in formal situations, and it’s not really true that it is a dying form. In an informal situation, a Pole might be more like to use nominative rather than vocative: Cześć Marek! (Nom.), rather than Cześć Marku! (Voc.) However, in a more formal situation, the vocative is still likely to be used. In the case below, the Nominative would never be used by a Polish native speakers: Dzień dobry panie profesorze/doktorze! (Voc.), rather than Dzień dobry pan profesor/doktor! (Nom.) Case declension is very irregular, unlike German. Polish consonant gradation is called oboczność (variation). It also has seven genders, five in the singular and two in the plural. The genders of nouns cause the adjectives modifying them to inflect differently.

matka   mother (female gender)
ojciec  father (male gender)
dziecko child (neuter gender)
Modifying Adjective
brzydkiugly ugly
brzydka matka    ugly mother
brzydki ojciec   ugly father
brzydkie dziecko ugly child
brzydkie matki   ugly mothers
brzydcy ojcowie  ugly fathers
brzydkie dzieci  ugly children

Gender even effects verbs.

I ate (female speaker) Ja zjadłam
I ate (male speaker)   Ja zjadłem

There are two different forms of the verb kill depending on whether the 1st person singular and plural and 2nd person plural killers are males or females.

I killed     zabiłem/zabiłam
We killed    zabiliśmy/zabiłyśmy
They killed  zabili/zabiły

The perfective and imperfective tenses create a dense jungle of forms:

kupować - to buy
Singular  Simple Past         Imperfect
I (f.)    kupiłam             kupowałam
I (m.)    kupiłem             kupowałem
I (n.)    kupiłom             kupowałom
you (f.)  kupiłaś             kupowałaś
you (m.)  kupiłeś             kupowałeś
you (n.)  kupiłoś             kupowałoś
he        kupił               kupował
she       kupiła              kupowała
it        kupiło              kupowało
we (f.)   kupiłyśmy           kupowałyśmy
we (m.)   kupiliśmy           kupowaliśmy
you (f.)  kupiłyście          kupowałyście
you (m.)  kupiliście          kupowaliście
they (f.) kupiły              kupowały
they (m.) kupili              kupowali

The verb above forms an incredible 28 different forms in the perfect and imperfect past tense alone. The existence of the perfective and imperfective verbs themselves is the least of the problem. The problem is that each verb – perfective or imperfective – is in effect a separate verb altogether, instead of just being conjugated differently. The verb to see has two completely different verbs in Polish: widziec zobaczyc WidziałemI saw (repeatedly in the past, like I saw the sun come up every morning). ZobaczyłemI saw (only once; I saw the sun come up yesterday). Some of these verbs are obviously related to each other: robić/zrobić czytać/przeczytać zachowywać/zachować jeść/zjeść But others are very different: mówić/powiedzieć widzieć/zobaczyć kłaść/położyć This is not a tense difference – the verbs themselves are different! So for every verb in the language, you effectively have to learn two different verbs. 95 In addition, the future perfect and future imperfect often conjugate completely differently, though the past forms usually conjugate in the same way – note the -em endings above. There is no present perfect as in English, since in Polish the action must be completed, and you can’t be doing something at this precise moment and at the same time have just finished doing it. It’s often said that one of the advantages of Polish is that there are only three tenses, but this is not really case, as there are at least eight tenses:

Indicative         grać       to play
Present            gram       I play 
Past               grałem     I played
Conditional        grałbym    I would play
Future*            będę grać  I will play
Continuous future* będę grał  I will be playing
Perfective future  pogram     I will have played*
Perf. conditional  pograłbym  I would have played

*będę grać and będę grał have the same meaning
**Implies you will finish the action

There is also an aspectual distinction made when referring to the past. Different forms are used based on whether or not the action has been completed. Oddly enough, the present can be used to describe things that happened in the past, although this only applies to very specific situations. Juliusz Cezar po tym jak zdobywa Galie jedzie do Rzymu. Julius Caesar after that when he (is) conquer(ing) Gaul, he (is) go(ing) to Rome. Whereas in English we use one word for go no matter what mode of transportation we are using to get from one place to another, in Polish, you use different verbs if you are going by foot, by car, by plane, by boat or by other means of transportation. In addition, there is an animate-inanimate distinction in gender. Look at the following nouns:

hat      kapelusz
computer komputer
dog      pies
student  uczen

All are masculine gender, but computer and hat are inanimate, and student and dog are animate, so they inflect differently. I see a new hatWidze nowy kapelusz I see a new studentWidze nowego ucznia Notice how the now- form changed. In addition to completely irregular verbs, there are also irregular nouns in Polish: człowiek->ludzie However, the number of irregular nouns is very small. Let us look at pronouns. English has one word for the genitive case of the 1st person singular – my. In Polish, depending on the context, you can have the following 11 forms, and actually there are even more than 11: mój moje moja moją mojego mojemu mojej moim moi moich moimi Numerals can be complex. English has one word for the number 2 – two. Polish has 21 words for two (however, only 5-6 of them are in common use): dwa (nominative non-masculine personal male and neuter and non-masculine personal accusative) dwaj (masculine personal nominative) dwie (nominative and accusative female) dwóch (genitive, locative and masculine personal accusative) dwom (dative) dwóm (dative) dwu (alternative version sometimes used for instrumental, genitive, locative and dative) dwoma (masculine instrumental) dwiema (female instrumental) dwoje (collective, nominative + accusative) dwojga (collective, genitive) dwojgu (collective, dative + locative) dwójka (noun, nominative) dwójkę (noun, accusative) dwójki (noun, genitive) dwójce (noun, dative and locative) dwójką (noun, instrumental) dwójko (vocative) dwojgiem (collective, instrumental) dwójkach dwójek dwója dwójkami Polish also has the paucal form like Serbo-Croatian. It is the remains of the old dual. The paucal applies to impersonal masculine, feminine and neuter nouns but not to personal masculine nouns.

Personal Masculine
one boy    jeden chłopiec
two boys   dwóch chłopców
three boys trzech chłopców
four boys  czterech chłopców
five boys  pięciu chłopców
six boys   sześciu chłopców
seven boys siedmiu chłopców
eight boys ośmiu chłopców
Impersonal Masculine
one dog    jeden pies
two dogs   dwa psy
three dogs trzy psy
four dogs  cztery psy
five dogs  pięć psów
six dogs   sześć psów
seven dogs siedem psów
eight dogs osiem psów

In the above, two, three and four dogs is in the paucal (psy), while two, three or four men is not and is instead in the plural (chłopców). Polish, like Hungarian and Finnish, can also have very long words. For instance: pięćsetdwadzieściajedenmiliardówdwieścieczterdzieścisiedemmiloionów-trzystaosiemdzisiątpięćtysięcyczterystadziewięćdziesięciopięcioletni is a word in Polish (There is no dash in the word – I was just dividing the line). A single noun can change in many ways and take many forms. Compare przyjacielfriend:

                           Singular       Plural
who is my friend           przyjaciel     przyjaciele
who is not my friend       przyjacielem   przyjaciół
friend who I give s.t. to  przyjacielowi  przyjaciołom
friend who I see           przyjaciela    przyjaciół
friend who I go with       z przyajcielem z przyjaciółmi
friend who I dream of      o przyjacielu  o przyjaciołach
Oh my friend!              Przyajaciela!   Przyjaciele!

There are 12 forms of the noun friend above. Plurals change based on number. In English, the plural of telephone is telephones, whether you have two or 1,000 of them. In Polish, you use different words depending on how many telephones you have: two, three or four telefony, but five telefonów. Sometimes, this radically changes the word, as in hands: four ręce, but five rąk. There are also irregular diminutives such as pies -> psiaczek słońce -> słoneczko Polish seems like Lithuanian in the sense that almost every grammatical form seems to inflect in some way or other. Even conjunctions inflect in Polish. In addition, like Serbo-Croatian, Polish can use multiple negation in a sentence. You can use up to five negatives in a perfectly grammatical sentence: Nikt nikomu nigdy nic nie powiedział. Nobody ever said anything to anyone. Like Russian, there are multiple ways to say the same thing in Polish. However, the meaning changes subtly with these different word combinations, so you are not exactly saying the same thing with each change of word order. Nevertheless, this mess does not seem to be something that would be transparent to the Polish learner. In English, you can say Ann has a cat, but you can’t mix the words up and mean the same thing. In Polish you can say Ann has a cat five different ways: Ania ma kota. Kota ma Ania. Ma Ania kota. Kota Ania ma. Ma kota Ania. The first one is the most common, but the other four can certainly be used. In addition, Polish has a wide variety of dialects, and a huge vocabulary. However, the dialects are for the most part quite similar. Similar to Hungarian, there may be many different words for the same thing. There are 43 different words for ladybird. The following are 30 separate lexical items (not case-inflected terms) for ladybird, for which the main word is biedronka: maryszepka, sarynka, katrynka, petronelka, skobrunek, skrzipeczka, panienka, makówka, letewka, kruszka, kropelniczka, guedzinka, motilewka, matoweczka, dzegotka, podlecuszka, maleneczka, pągwiczka, popruszka, markowiczka, parzedliszka, prochowniczka, krówka jałowiczka, karkukuczka, rączepiórka, borowa matinka, motuszka kruszka, marianna, mróweczka, and boża krówka. Although Polish grammar is said to be irregular, this is probably not true. It only gives the appearance of being irregular, as there are so many different rules, but there is a method to the madness underneath it all. The rules themselves are so complex and numerous that it is hard to figure them all out. It is said English-speaking children reach full adult competency in the language (reading, writing, speaking, spelling) at age 12. Polish children do not reach this milestone until age 16. Even many adult Poles make a lot of mistakes in speaking and writing Polish properly. However, most Poles are quite proud of their difficult language (though a few hate it) and even take pride in its difficult nature. On the positive side, in Polish, the stress is fixed, there are no short or long vowels nor is there any vowel harmony, there are no tones, and it uses a Latin alphabet. Polish is one of the most difficult of the Slavic languages. It is probably harder than Russian but not as hard as Czech, though this is controversial. Polish gets a 5 rating, hardest of all.

A Look at the Albanian Language

From here. A look at the Albanian language from the viewpoint of how hard it is to learn for an English speaker. Albanian is an ancient Indo-European language and it is said to be very hard to learn. Albanian may be up there with Polish as the hardest European language. Albanian is another obscure branch of Indo-European. Albanian nouns have two genders (masculine and feminine), five cases including the ablative, lost in all other IE. Both definite and indefinite articles are widely used, a plus for English speakers. Most inflections were lost, and whatever is left doesn’t even look very IE. The verbal system is complex, having eight tenses including two aorists and two futures, and several moods, including indicative, imperative, subjunctive, conjunctive, optative and admirative. The last three are odd cases for IE. The optative only exists in IE in Ancient Greek, Sanskrit and Manx. Active and passive voices are used. Similarly to Gaelic, Albanian is even harder to learn than either German or Russian. Albanian may be even harder to learn than Polish. Albanian is rated 5, hardest of all.

A Look at the Armenian Language

From here. A look at the Armenian language focusing on how hard it is to learn for an English speaker. An obscure branch of Indo-European, Armenian, is very hard to learn. Armenian is a difficult language in terms of grammar and phonetics, not to mention the very odd alphabet. The orthography is very regular, however there are some irregularities. For instance: գրել , written grel but spoken gərel (schwa removed in orthography) խոսել, written xosel but spoken xosal  (a changed to e in orthography) However, the alphabet itself presents many problems. Print and cursive can be very different, and upper case and lower case can also be quite different. Here are some pairs of letters in upper and lower case: Ա ա Յ յ Փ փ All in all, this means you have to memorize as many as four different shapes for each letter. However, the grammar is very regular. In addition, many letters very closely resemble other letters, which makes it very easy to get them mixed up: գ and զ ե and է դ and ղ ո and ռ There are voiced consonants and an alternation between aspirated and unaspirated unvoiced consonants, so some mix up the forms for b, p and , for instance. There are many things about the grammar that seem odd compared to other IE languages. Part of the problem is that due to its location in the Caucasus, Armenian has absorbed influences from some of the wild nearly Caucasian languages. For instance, an extinct NE Caucasian Nakh language called Tsov is thought to have contributed to the Hurro-Ururtian substratum in Armenian. So in a sense when you learn Armenian, you are also learning a bit of Chechen at the same time. People who have learned both Arabic and Armenian felt that Armenian was much easier, so Armenian seems to be much easier than Arabic. Armenian is rated 4, very hard to learn.

A Look at the Faroese Language

From here. A look at the Faroese language focusing on how hard it is to learn for an English speaker. Faroese is spoken on the Faroe Islands, and it is still doing very well. However, it is about as hard to learn as Icelandic, and Icelandic is legendary for its difficulty.

North Germanic West Scandinavian

Faroese is said to be even harder to learn than Icelandic, with some very strange vowels not found in other North Germanic languages. Faroese has strong, weak and irregular verbs. It also has a strange supine tense. The Faroese orthography is as irrational as Icelandic’s. There are so many rules to learn to be able to write Faroese properly. Faroese, like Icelandic, prefers to coin new words rather than borrow words wholesale into its language. Therefore the English speaker will not see a lot of obvious borrowings to help them out. Some argue against this nativization process, but maybe it is better than being buried in English loans like German and Dutch are at the moment. computertelda (derived from at telja – to count. Icelandic has a similar term. helicoptertyrla (derived from tyril – a spinning tool for making wool or loom. musictónleikur pocket calculatortelduhvølpur (Lit. computer puppy), roknimaskina (Lit. calculating machine) Faroese has the advantage of having no verbal aspect, and verbal declension does not differ much according to person. However, Faroese has a case system like Icelandic. Faroese gets a 5 rating, hardest of all.

Bigfoot News August 29, 2013

Position on the Rick Dyer case. My position is that the Tent Video and the screenshot from the Shooting Bigfoot movie very definitely show real Bigfoots. Whether it is a single Bigfoot or two different Bigfoots is not known, but those are probably two different photos of the same one. I also think that Rick shot loaded bullets at a Bigfoot on September 6, 2012 and that soon afterwards, the Bigfoot crashed into Morgan Matthews, the movie director, badly injuring him. In my mind, all of these things are simply beyond dispute. Now we move into areas that are a lot harder to prove. Do we know that any of Rick’s bullets hit the Bigfoot that night? No. Do we know that the Bigfoot was killed that night? No. Further, there is not yet any good, hard evidence that the dead Bigfoot, if there is one, was then transported by Rick to Las Vegas, where it was held at a US government research lab for some time. There is certainly some evidence that the above is true, but we don’t have the same good hard evidence for these things as we do for the first paragraph. So it is still up in the air whether Rick shot a Bigfoot that night and whether, if he did, he killed the Bigfoot. It is also up in the air whether there is a dead Bigfoot at all, much less that either Rick Dyer, the US government or Rick’s investors are in possession of it. And we don’t know if it was stored at a US government research for a long time. Perhaps all of these things are true, but at the moment the evidence for them remains inconclusive. Dyer’s own words define him as a bloodthirsty narcissist with zero intellectual curiosity. Millions Against Sasquatch Slaughter posted this devastating video of Rick Dyer advocating the extermination of all Bigfoots. [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2HDXrb-brj8] Dyer says Bigfoots are nearly extinct. This is another example or Rick’s extreme narcissism. Rick believes that after thousands of years of evolution, Bigfoots are now going extinct. He thinks there are only four or five left in the whole of North America, and they are all old and no longer reproducing. It just so happens that just before they blink out and vanish off the face of the Earth, Rick Dyer (The God of Taxonomists) comes along and kills one! Narcissism par excellance! [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8YdUKIn8au8] Why Christopher Noel still (still!) believes Rick Dyer has a Sasquatch body. Here is an excellent statement from the great Christopher Noel about why he still believes the Rick Dyer story.

Though I will no longer be dealing with Rick Dyer–because he lied to me directly and extensively on the phone even though he did not need to in order to perpetrate his “baby prank” — I still fail to understand why, if the underlying claim of the Sasquatch body were not accurate, his team would continue to stick with him, including my long-time friend Chris Sands (who is obeying his Non-Disclosure Agreement and not breathing a word even to me, yet who remains a loyal team member and has not warned me privately about a hoax). The reason for this loyalty simply cannot be the mesmerizing strength of Rick’s personality. Three men (excluding Chris and of course Rick himself) have told me personally and in great detail about seeing the Sasquatch body. My best guess is simply that they are telling me the truth, that they saw this specimen, that others on Team Tracker have seen it too, and that this fact itself, above all else, is serving as the glue that keeps Rick’s team together; otherwise, these men’s own moral cores would have forced them long ago to jump off the death ship of a malignant hoax. Some suggest that the explanation for this loyalty must lie in money, but I can’t believe that all of these people would sell off their integrity and reputations so easily. And don’t forget, if money were the sole mechanism at work here, Rick would have to be regularly paying the dozens of people on Team Tracker in order to keep them in line. If even one felt underpaid, he or she would “squeal” and blow the lid off the whole thing. This has not happened, and I find that meaningful. Finally, ask yourself this: how would Rick even have this kind of $$ if in fact he is lying about the body and therefore is not backed by “investors” at all?

I asked Christopher the question that skeptics always throw out there – Wouldn’t anyone who really killed a Bigfoot or owned a dead Bigfoot take it immediately public in order to get rich and famous? Christopher stated that the investors were first working hard to scientifically document the specimen taxonomically in accordance with the norms of biological science. Only after this was completed would the body be released to public. He brought up the example of the olinguito. Christopher also brought up the skeptic argument that Rick could not possibly have any investors because if he did, he would not be so broke. His answers to both questions were excellent.

It took the scientists who discovered the olinguito — a species of mammal — ten years to complete their work and present it to the world. And yet, when it comes to the San Antonio specimen deniers, one of their favorite arguments is that “there is no way it would take this many months to present the Bigfoot body to the world!” Reality check: how much more thorough and diligent do researchers need to be in nailing down their analysis of a newly discovered species of human-like primate than they were in the case of the olinguito, a relative of the raccoon? It’s just plain stupid for people to declare that a Sasquatch body “would necessarily” be released in a timely fashion. “Timely” in their narrow, unscientific worldview. And how does Rick keep relocating if he’s so broke?

Pinkfoot Cindy Shafer is not Mata Hari. Pinkfoot has requested without informing anyone of who “Mata Hari” is, to tell everyone that Mata Hari is definitely not Pinkfoot! It does sound like Cindy knows who it is, though. I agree with her. I do not think Mata Hari is Cindy. Very odd video from Sasquatch Ontario. Another very weird video from Sasquatch Ontario showing possible Bigfoot vocalizations. Many people say this fellow is a hoaxer, but there is no evidence yet that that is true. The charge that he is making these audios via the use of some audio equipment remains unproven. These are very interesting videos, and those may well be Bigfoot vocalizations, I have no idea. I do not necessarily agree with the various glosses he is giving for this speech though. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWS2LR7jq6g]

Cool Word of the Day

Recrudescence – it means something like there was once this bad thing around, and it went away, and now here it is coming back again, thanks a lot! Or the return of some lousy thing we thought we got rid of once and for all. I was once having an email war with this insane anti-Cuban Zionist Jew from Florida. I forget what it was all about. He went and read one of my articles and saw that word. He wrote me back and he said he had decided that he liked me now after all because I taught him a new word! One of the rare cases where you brain can transform an enemy into a friend.

A Look at the Eskimo Languages

From here. The Eskimo languages are well known for being some of the mostly convolutedly difficult languages on Earth. We take a look at two Eskimo languages for a glimpse into their complexity.

Eskimo-Aleut Eskimo Inuit-Inupiaq

Inuktitut is extremely hard to learn. Inuktitut is polysynthetic-agglutinative, and roots can take many suffixes, in some cases up to 700. Verbs have 63 forms of the present indicative, and conjugation involves 252 different inflections. Inuktitut has the complicated polypersonal agreement system discussed under Georgian above and Basque below. In a typical long Inuktitut text, 92 Inuktituusuungutsialaarungnanngittuaraaluuvunga. I truly don’t know how to speak Inuktitut very well. You may need to analyze up to 10 different bits of information in order to figure out a single word. However, the affixation is all via suffixes (there are no prefixes or infixes) and the suffixation is extremely regular. Inuktitut is also rated one by linguists one of the hardest languages on Earth to pronounce. Inuktitut may be as hard to learn as Navajo. Inuktitut is rated 5, hardest of all. Kalaallisut (Western Greenlandic) is very closely related to Inuktitut. Look at this sentence: Aliikusersuillammassuaanerartassagaluarpaalli… However, they will say that he is a great entertainer, but … That word is composed of 12 separate morphemes. A single word can conceptualize what could be an entire sentence in a non-polysynthetic language. Kalaallisut is rated 5, hardest of all.

A Look at the Hawaiian and Maori Languages

From here. The Polynesian languages are generally thought to be pretty easy to learn compared to other world languages. There is some truth to this, but Maori is probably harder than it seems. We take a look at two Polynesian languages, Maori and Hawaiian.

Central-Eastern Malayo-Polynesian Eastern Malayo-Polynesian Oceanic Central-Eastern Oceanic Remote Oceanic Central Pacific East Fijian-Polynesian Polynesian Nuclear East Central Tahitic

Maori and other Polynesian languages have a reputation for being quite easy to learn. The main problem for English speakers is that the sentence structure is backwards compared to English. In addition, macrons can cause problems. One problem with Maori is dialects. The dialects are so diverse that this means that there are multiple words for the same thing. Swiss German has a similar issue, with up to 50 words for each common household item (nearly every major dialect has its own word for common objects): ngongi, noni, koki, waiwater whiri, rarangi, hiri –  to plait, to twist, to weave pai, maitaigood tu, , tutehu, mātikato stand mau, mouto hold pau, pouto be exhausted ika, tohorāwhale ika, ngohifish kāwei, kāwailine ori, kori, keukeu, koukou, neke, nukuto move haere, hara, here, horo, whanoto go, to come hara, hapa, to be wrong kōrerorero, wānanga, rūnangato discuss tohunga, tahungapriest matikuku, maikukufinger nail kanohi, konohi, mata, whatu, kamo, karueye, face Entire Maori sentences can be written with vowels only. E uu aau? Are yours firm? I uaa ai. It rained as usual. I ui au ‘i auau aau?’ E uaua! It will be difficult/hard/heavy! On the plus side, the pronunciation is simple, and there is no gender. The language is as regular as Japanese. No Polynesian language has more than 16 sounds, and they all lack tones. They all have five vowels, which can be either long or short. A consonant must be followed by a vowel, so there are no consonant clusters. All consonants are easy to pronounce. Maori gets a 3 rating, average difficulty.


Hawaiian is a pretty easy language to learn. It is easy to pronounce, has a simple alphabet, lacks complex morphology and has a fairly simple syntax. Hawaiian gets a 2 rating, very easy to learn.

A Look at the Vietnamese and Khmer Languages

From here. Vietnamese and Khmer, two languages of SE Asia, are quite hard for an English speaker to learn for a variety of reasons. We take a look at those two languages here.

Austroasiatic Mon-Khmer Viet-Muong

Vietnamese is hard to learn because to an outsider, the tones seem hard to tell apart. Therefore, foreigners often make themselves difficult to understand by not getting the tone precisely correct. It also has “creaky-voiced” tones, which are very hard for foreigners to get a grasp on. Vietnamese grammar is fairly simple, and reading Vietnamese is pretty easy once you figure out the tone marks. Words are short as in Chinese. However, the simple grammar is relative, as you can have 25 or more forms just for I, the 1st person singular pronoun. Vietnamese gets a 5 rating, extremely hard of all.

Eastern Mon-Khmer Khmer

Khmer has a reputation for being hard to learn. I understand that it has one of the most complex honorifics systems of any language on Earth. Over a dozen different words mean to carry depending on what one is carrying. There are several different words for slave depending on who owned the slave and what the slave did. There are 28-30 different vowels, including sets of long and short vowels and long and short diphthongs. The vowel system is so complicated that there isn’t even agreement on exactly what it looks like. Khmer learners, especially speakers of IE languages, often have a hard time producing or even distinguishing these vowels. Speaking it is not so bad, but reading and writing it is difficult. For instance, you can put up to five different symbols together in one complex symbol. The orthographic script is even worse in that sense than the Thai script. There are actually rules to this mess, but no one seems to know what they are. Khmer gets a 4 rating, very hard.

A Look at the Hungarian Language

From here. A look at Hungarian from the view of how hard it is to learn for an English speaker. Hungarian is legendary for being a hard language to learn. The British diplomatic corps did a survey of their diplomats and found that Hungarian was the hardest language that a diplomat had to learn. It’s widely agreed that Hungarian is one of the hardest languages on Earth to learn. Even language professors agree. The British Diplomatic Corps did a study of the languages that its diplomats commonly had to learn and concluded that Hungarian was the hardest. For one thing, there are many different forms for a single word via word modification. This enables the speaker to make his intended meaning very precise. Looking at nouns, there are about 257 different forms per noun. Hungarian is said to have from 24-35 different cases (there are charts available showing 31 cases), but the actual number may only be 18. Verbs change depending on whether the object is definite or indefinite. Nearly everything in Hungarian is inflected, similar to Lithuanian or Czech. Similar to Georgian and Basque, Hungarian has the polypersonal agreement, albeit to a lesser degree than those two languages. There are many irregularities in inflections, and even Hungarians have to learn how to spell all of these in school and have a hard time learning this. The case distinctions alone can create many different words out of one base form. For the word house, we end up with 31 different words using case forms: házbainto the house házbanin the house házból from [within] the house házraonto the house házonon the house házróloff [from] the house házhozto the house házíguntil/up to the house háználat the house háztól [away] from the house házzá – Translative case, where the house is the end product of a transformation, such as They turned the cave into a house. házkéntas the house, which could be used if you acted in your capacity as a house or disguised yourself as one. He dressed up as a house for Halloween. házértfor the house, specifically things done on its behalf or done to get the house. They spent a lot of time fixing things up (for the house). házul – Essive-modal case. Something like “house-ly” or in the way/manner of a house. The tent served as a house (in a house-ly fashion). And we do have some basic cases: ház – Nominative. The house is down the street. házat – Accusative. The ball hit the house. háznak – Dative. The man gave the house to Mary. házzal – Similar to instrumental, but more similar to English with. Refers to both instruments and companions. The genitive takes 12 different declensions, depending on person and number: házammy house házaimmy houses házadyour house házaidyour houses házahis/her/its house házai his/her/its houses házunk our house házainkour houses házatok your house házaitok your house házuk their house házaik their houses egyházchurch, as in the Catholic Church. (Literally one-house) In addition, the genitive suffixes to the possession, which is not how the genitive works in IE. emberman/person házhouse a(z)the az ember házathe man’s house (Lit. the man house-his) a házammy house (Lit. the house-my) a házadyour house (Lit. the house-your) There are also very long words such as this: megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitekért… for your (you all possessive) repeated pretensions at being impossible to desecrate… Being an agglutinative language, that word is made up of many small parts of words, or morphemes. That word means something like The preposition is stuck onto the word in this language, and this will seem strange to speakers of languages with free prepositions. Hungarian is full of synonyms, similar to English. For instance, there are 78 different words that mean to move: halad, jár, megy, dülöngél, lépdel, botorkál, kódorog, sétál , andalog, rohan, csörtet, üget, lohol, fut, átvág, vágtat, tipeg, libeg, biceg, poroszkál, vágtázik, somfordál , bóklászik, szedi a lábát, kitér, elszökken, betér , botladozik, őgyeleg, slattyog, bandukol, lófrál, szalad, vánszorog, kószál, kullog, baktat, koslat, kaptat, császkál, totyog, suhan, robog, rohan, kocog, cselleng, csatangol, beslisszol, elinal, elillan, bitangol, lopakodik, sompolyog, lapul, elkotródik, settenkedik, sündörög, eltérül, elódalog, kóborol, lézeng, ődöng, csavarog, lődörög, elvándorol , tekereg, kóvályog, ténfereg, özönlik, tódul, vonul, hömpölyög, ömlik, surran, oson, lépeget, mozog and mozgolódik . Only about five of those terms are archaic and seldom used, the rest are in current use. However, to be a fair, a Hungarian native speaker might only recognize half of those words. Another argument is that many of those words have subtly different meanings such as crawl, sulk, flow, rush, job, etc. In addition, while most languages have names for countries that are pretty easy to figure out, in Hungarian even languages of nations are hard because they have changed the names so much. Italy becomes Olaszország, Germany becomes Németország, etc. As in Russian and Serbo-Croatian, word order is relatively free in Hungarian. It is not completely free as some say but rather is it governed by a set of rules. The problem is that as you reorder the word order in a sentence, you say the same thing but the meaning changes slightly in terms of nuance. Further, there are quite a few dialects in Hungarian. Native speakers can pretty much understand them, but foreigners often have a lot of problems. Accent is very difficult in Hungarian due to the bewildering number of rules used to determine accent. In addition, there are exceptions to all of these rules. Nevertheless, Hungarian is probably more regular than Polish. Hungarian spelling is also very strange for non-Hungarians, but at least the orthography is phonetic. Hungarian phonetics is also strange. One of the problems with Hungarian phonetics is vowel harmony. Since you stick morphemes together to make a word, the vowels that you have used in the first part of the word will influence the vowels that you will use to make up the morphemes that occur later in the word. The vowel harmony gives Hungarian a singing effect” when it is spoken. The gy sound is hard for many foreigners to make. Verbs are marked for object (indefinite, definite and person/number), subject (person and number) tense (past, present and future), mood (indicative, conditional and imperative), and aspect (frequency, potentiality, factitiveness, and reflexiveness. As noted in the introduction to the Finno-Ugric section, you need to know quite a bit of Hungarian grammar to be able to express yourself on a basic level. For instance, in order to say: I like your sister. you will need to understand the following Hungarian forms:

  1. verb conjugation and definite or indefinite forms
  2. possessive suffixes
  3. case
  4. how to combine possessive suffixes with case
  5. word order
  6. explicit pronouns
  7. articles

It’s hard to say, but Hungarian is probably harder to learn than even the hardest Slavic languages like Czech, Serbo-Croatian and Polish. At any rate, it is generally agreed that Hungarian grammar is more complicated than Slavic grammar, which is pretty impressive as Slavic grammar is quite a beast. Hungarian is rated 5, extremely hard.

A Look at the Finnish and Estonian Languages

From here. A look at two Finno-Ugric languages, Finnish and Estonian, from the point of view of how hard they are for an English speaker to learn. Finnish is legendary for being one of the hardest languages on Earth to learn. Estonian is like a simplified version of Finnish. Both have highly elaborate case systems and utilize vowel harmony.


One test of the difficulty of any language is how much of the grammar you must know in order to express yourself on a basic level. On this basis, Finno-Ugric languages are complicated because you need to know quite a bit more grammar to communicate on a basic level in them than in say, German.

Finnic Northern

Finnish is very hard to learn, and even long-time learners often still have problems with it. You have to know exactly which grammatical forms to use where in a sentence. In addition, Finnish has 15 cases in the singular and 16 in the plural. This is hard to learn for speakers coming from a language with little or no case. For instance, talothe house

talon        house's
taloasome    of the house
taloksiinto  as the house
talossain    the house
talostafrom  inside the house
talooninto   the house
talollaon    to the house
taloltafrom  beside the house
talolleto    the house
taloistafrom the houses
taloissa     in the houses

It gets much worse than that. This web page shows that the noun kauppashop can have 2,253 forms. A simple adjective + noun type of noun phrase of two words can be conjugated in up to 100 different ways. Adjectives and nouns belong to 20 different classes. The rules governing their case declension depend on what class the substantive is in. As with Hungarian, words can be very long. For instance: lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas non-commissioned officer cadet learning to be an assistant mechanic for airplane jet engines Like Turkish, Finnish agglutination is very regular. Each bit of information has its own morpheme and has an exact place in the word. Like Turkish, Finnish has vowel harmony, but the vowel harmony is very regular like that of Turkish. Unlike Turkish or Hungarian, consonant gradation forms a major part of Finnish morphology. In order to form a sentence in Finnish, you will need to learn about verb types, cases and consonant gradation, and it can take a while to get your mind around those things. Finnish, oddly enough, always puts the stress on the first syllable. Finnish vowels will be hard to pronounce for most foreigners. However, Finnish has the advantage of being pronounced precisely as it is written. This is also part of the problem though, because if you don’t say it just right, the meaning changes. So, similarly with Polish, when you mangle their language, you will only achieve incomprehension. Whereas with say English, if a foreigner mangles the language, you can often winnow some sense out of it. However, despite that fact that written Finnish can be easily pronounced, when learning Finnish, as in Korean, it is as if you must learn two different languages – the written language and the spoken language. A better way to put it is that there is “one language for writing and another for speaking.” You use different forms whether conversing or putting something on paper. Some pronunciation is difficult. It can be hard to tell the difference between the a and ä sounds. The the contrast between short and long vowels and consonants is particularly troublesome. Check out these minimal pairs: sydämellä sydämmellä jollekin jollekkin One easy aspect of Finnish is the way you can build many forms from a base root: kirj- kirjabook kirjeletter kirjoittaato write kirjailijawriter A problem for the English speaker coming to Finnish would be the vocabulary, which is alien to the speaker of an IE language. Finnish language learners often find themselves looking up over half the words they encounter. Obviously, this slows down reading quite a bit! Finnish verbs are very regular. The irregular verbs can almost be counted on one hand: juosta käydä olla nähdä tehdä and a few others. In fact, on the plus side, Finnish in general is very regular. In the grammar, the partitive case and potential tense can be difficult. Here is an example of how Finnish verb tenses combine with various cases to form words:

I A-Infinitive
Base form mennä
II E-Infinitive
Active inessive    mennessä
Active instructive mennen
Passive inessive   mentäessä
III MA-Infinitive
Inessive            menemässä
Elative             menemästä
Illative            menemään
Adessive            menemällä
Abessive            menemättä
Active instructive  menemän
Passive instructive mentämän

As in many Asian languages, there are no masculine or feminine pronouns, and there is no grammatical gender. The numeral system is quite simple compared to other languages. Finnish has a complete lack of consonant clusters. In addition, the phonology is fairly simple. Finnish is rated 5, hardest of all.


Estonian has similar difficulties as Finnish, since they are closely related. However, Estonian is more irregular than Finnish. In particular, the very regular agglutination system described in Finnish seems to have gone awry in Estonian. Estonian has 14 cases, including strange cases such as the abessive, adessive, elative and inessive. On the other hand, all of these cases can simply be analyzed as the genitive case plus a single unvarying suffix for each case. In addition, there is no gender, so the only things you have to worry about when forming cases are singular and plural. Estonian has a strange mood form called the quotative, often translated as “reported speech.” tema onhe/she/it is tema olevatit’s rumored that he/she/it is or he/she/it is said to be This mood is often used in newspaper reporting and is also used for gossip. Estonian has an astounding 25 diphthongs. It also has three different varieties of vowel length, which is strange in the world’s languages. There are short, vowels and extra-long vowels and consonants. linalinen – short n linnathe town’s – long n, written as nn `linnainto the town – extra-long n, not written out! There are differences in the pronunciation of the three forms above, but in rapid speech, they are hard to hear, though native speakers can make them out. Difficulties are further compounded in that extra-long sonorants (m, n, ng, l, and r) and vowels and are not written out. All in all, phonemic length can be a problem in Estonian, and foreigners never seem to get it completely down. Estonian pronunciation is not very difficult, though the õ sound can cause problems. At least in written form, Estonian is not as complex as Finnish. Estonian can be seen as an abbreviated and modernized form of Finnish. The grammar is also like a simplified version of Finnish grammar and may be much easier to learn. Estonian is rated 4.5, extremely difficult. If you think this website is valuable to you, please consider a contribution to support the continuation of the site. Donations are the only thing that keep the site operating.

A Look at the Turkish Language

From here. A look at the Turkish language from the point of view of an English speaker trying to learn the language. Turkish is not a difficult language to learn, but it is not exactly simple either, and the agglutinative structure is very different from Indo-European. Turkish is often considered to be hard to learn, and it’s rated one of the hardest in surveys of language teachers, however, it’s probably easier than its reputation made it out to be. It is agglutinative, so you can have one long word where in English you might have a sentence of shorter words. One word is Çekoslovakyalilastiramadiklarimizdanmisiniz? Were you one of those people whom we could not turn into a Czechoslovakian? Many words have more than one meaning. However, the agglutination is very regular in that each particle of meaning has its own morpheme and falls into an exact place in the word. See here:

göz            eye
göz-lük        glasses
göz-lük-çü     optician
göz-lük-çü-lük the business of an optician

Nevertheless, agglutination means that you can always create new words or add new parts to words, and for this reason even a lot of Turkish adults have problems with their language. Turkish is an imagery-heavy language, and if you try to translate straight from a dictionary, it often won’t make sense. However, the suffixation in Turkish, along with the vowel harmony, are both precise. Nevertheless, many words have irregular vowel harmony. The rules for making plurals are very regular, with no exceptions (the only exceptions are in foreign loans). In Turkish, incredible as it sounds, you can make a plural out of anything, even a word like what, who or blood. However, there is some irregularity in the strengthening of adjectives, and the forms are not predictable and must be memorized. Turkish is a language of precision in other ways. For instance, there are eight different forms of subjunctive mood that describe various degrees of uncertainty that one has about what one is talking about. This relates to the evidentiality discussed under Tuyuca above, and Turkish has an evidential form similar to Tamil and Bulgarian. On Turkish news, verbs are generally marked with miş, which means that the announcer believes it to be true though he has not seen it firsthand. The Roman alphabet and almost mathematically precise grammar really help out. Turkish lacks gender and there are almost no irregular verbs.  However, this is controversial, and it depends on how you define grammatical irregularity. There is strangeness in some of the verb paradigms, but it is argued that these oddities are rule-based. The aorist tense is said to have irregularity. Nevertheless, weighing against the verbal regularity would be the large number of verbal forms. There is some irregular morphophonology, but not much. The oblique relative clauses have complex morphosyntax. Turkish has two completely different ways of making relative clauses, one of which may have been borrowed from Persian. There are many gerunds for verbs, and these have many different uses. At the end of the day, Turkish grammar is not as regular or as simple as it is made out to be. Words are pronounced nearly the same as they are written. A suggestion that Turkish may be easier to learn that many think is the research that shows that Turkish children learn attain basic grammatical mastery of Turkish at age 2-3, as compared to 4-5 for German and 12 for Arabic. The research was conducted in Germany in 2005. In addition, Turkish has a phonetic orthography. However, Turkish is hard for an English speaker to learn for a variety of reasons. It is agglutinative like Japanese, and all agglutinative languages are difficult for English speakers to learn. As in Japanese, you start your Turkish sentence the way you would end your English sentence. Turkish vowels are unusual to speakers of English (ö and ü are not in English), and Turkish learners say the vowels are hard to make or even tell apart from one another. Turkish is rated 4, very hard to learn.

A Look at the Quechua and Aymara Languages

From here. A look at two major South American Indian languages, Quechua and Aymara with a view towards how difficult they are to learn for an English speaker. Aymara, which is actually at least two separate languages, is declining in Bolivia, Chile and Argentina and is only doing well around Lake Titicaca in Peru. Quechua is actually made up of up to 46 different languages spoken in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Bolivia. Quechua is probably one of the easiest Amerindian languages to learn, but that’s not saying much. Aymara is probably a lot more difficult. Quechua (actually a large group of languages and not a single language at all) is one of the easiest Amerindian languages to learn. Quechua is a classic example of a highly regular grammar with few exceptions. Its agglutinative system is more straightforward than even that of Turkish. The phonology is dead simple. On the down side, there is a lot of dialectal divergence (these are actually separate languages and not dialects) and a lack of learning materials. Some say that Quechua speakers spend their whole lives learning the language. Quechua has inconsistent orthographies. There is a fight between those who prefer a Spanish-based orthography and those who prefer a more phonemic one. Also there is an argument over whether to use the Ayacucho language or the Cuzco language as a base. Quechua has a difficult feature known as evidential marking. This marker indicates the source of the speaker’s knowledge and how sure they are about the statement. -mi expresses personal knowledge: Tayta Wayllaqawaqa chufirmi. Mr. Huayllacahua is a driver. (I know it for a fact.) -si expresses hearsay knowledge: Tayta Wayllaqawaqa chufirsi. Mr. Huayllacahua is a driver (or so I’ve heard). chá expresses strong possibility: Tayta Wayllaqawaqa chufirchá. Mr. Huayllacahua is a driver (most likely). Quechua is rated 4, very difficult. Aymara has some of the wildest morphophonology out there. Morpheme-final vowel deletion is present in the language as a morphophonological process, and it is dependent on a set of highly complex phonological, morphological and syntactic rules (Kim 2013). For instance, there are three types of suffixes: dominant, recessive and a 3rd class is neither dominant nor recessive. If a stem ends in a vowel, dominant suffixes delete the vowel but recessive suffixes allow the vowel to remain. The third class either deletes or retains the vowel on the stem depending on how many vowels are in the stem. If the root has two vowels, the vowel is retained. If it has three vowels, the vowel is deleted. Aymara gets a 5 rating, hardest of all.

A Look at Algonquian Languages

From here. A look at the Algonquian languages in terms of the difficulty they present for the English speaking language learner. Algonquian languages are nightmarishly complicated.

Algic Algonquian

All Algonquian languages have distinctions between animate/inanimate nouns, in addition to having proximate/obviate and direct/inverse distinctions. However, most languages that have proximate/obviate and direct/inverse distinctions are not as difficult as Algonquian. Proximate/obviative is a way of marking the 3rd person in discourse. It distinguishes between an important 3rd person (proximate) and a more peripheral 3rd person (obviative). Animate nouns and possessor nouns tend to be marked proximate while inanimate nouns and possessed nouns tend to be marked obviative. Direct/inverse is a way of marking discourse in terms of saliency, topicality or animacy. Whether one noun ranks higher than another in terms of saliency, topicality or animacy means that that noun ranks higher in terms of person hierarchy. It is used only in transitive clauses. When the subject has a higher ranking than the object, the direct form is used. When the object has a higher ranking than the object, the inverse form is used.

Central Algonquian Cree-Montagnais

Cree is very hard to learn. It are written in a variety of different ways with different alphabets and syllabic systems, complicating matters even further. It is both polysynthetic and has long, short and nasal vowels and aspirated and unaspirated voiceless consonants. Words are divided into metrical feet, the rules for determining stress placement in words are quite complex and there is lots of irregularity. Vowels fall out a lot, or syncopate, within words. Cree adds noun classifiers to the mix, and both nouns and verbs are marked as animate or inanimate. In addition, verbs are marked for transitive and intransitive. Verbs get different affixes depending on whether they occur in main or subordinate clauses. Cree is rated 5, hardest of all.


Ojibwa is said to be about as hard to learn as Cree as it is very similar. Ojibwa is rated 5, hardest of all.

Plains Algonquian Cheyenne

Cheyenne is well-known for being a hard Amerindian language to learn. Like many polysynthetic languages, it can have very long words. Náohkêsáa’oné’seómepêhévetsêhésto’anéhe. I truly don’t know Cheyenne very well. However, Cheyenne is quite regular, but it has so many complex rules that it is hard to figure them all out. Cheyenne is rated 5, hardest of all.


Arapaho lacks phonemic low vowels. The vowel system consists of i, ɨ~,u, ɛ, and ɔ. Each vowel also has a corresponding long version. In addition, there are four diphthongs, ei, ou, oe and ie, several triphthongs, eii, oee, and ouu, as well as extended sequences of vowels such as eee with stress on either the first or the last vowel in the combination. Arapaho words also undergo some very wild sound changes. Arapaho is rated 5, hardest of all. Gros Ventre has a similar phonological system and elaborate sound changes as Arapaho. Gros Ventre is rated 5, hardest of all.

A Look at Iroquoian Languages

From here. A look at the difficulties involved in learning an Iroquoian language for an English speaker. Iroquoian languages are probably some of the most monstrously complex languages on the face of the Earth. Take a look at that Cherokee paradigm below. I don’t get it. Are Cherokees replicants, supermen or space aliens? How could any normal human being possibly learn such a labyrinthine language?


All Iroquoian languages are extremely difficult, but Athabaskan is probably even harder. Siouan languages may be equal to Iroquoian in difficulty. Compare the same phrases in Tlingit (Athabaskan) and and  Cherokee (Iroquoian). Tlingit: kutíkusa‘áatIt’s cold outside. kutíkuta‘áatIt’s cold right now. In Tlingit, you can add or modify affixes at the beginning as prefixes, in the middle as infixes and at the end as suffixes. In the above example, you changed a part of the word within the clause itself. Cherokee: doyáditlv uyvtlvIt is cold outside. (Lit. Outside it is cold.) ka uyvtlvIt is cold now. (Lit. Now it is cold.) As you can see, Cherokee is easier.


Cherokee is very hard to learn. In addition to everything else, it has a completely different alphabet. It’s polysynthetic, to make matters worse. It is possible to write a Cherokee sentence that somehow lacks a verb. There are five categories of verb classifiers. Verbs needing classifiers must use one. Each regular verb can have an incredible 21,262 inflected forms! All verbs contain a verb root, a pronominal prefix, a modal suffix and an aspect suffix. In addition, verbs inflect for singular, plural and also dual. For instance:

ᎠᎸᎢᎭ   a'lv'íha 
You have up to 126 different forms*:
ᎬᏯᎸᎢᎭ  gvyalv'iha    I tie you up
ᏕᎬᏯᎸᎢᎭ degvyalviha   I'm tying you up
ᏥᏯᎸᎢᎭ  jiyalv'ha     I tie him up
ᎦᎸᎢᎭ                 I tie it
ᏍᏓᏯᎸᎢᎭ sdayalv'iha   I tie you (dual)
ᎢᏨᏯᎢᎭ  ijvyalv'iha   I tie you (pl)
ᎦᏥᏯᎸᎢᎭ gajiyalv'iha  I tie them (animate)
ᏕᎦᎸᎢᎭ                I tie them up (inanimate)
ᏍᏆᎸᎢᎭ  squahlv'iha   You tie me
ᎯᏯᎸᎢᎭ  hiyalv'iha    You're tying him
ᎭᏢᎢᎭ   hatlv'iha     You tie it
ᏍᎩᎾᎸᎢᎭ skinalv'iha   You're tying me and him
ᎪᎩᎾᏢᎢᎭ goginatlv'iha They tie me and him etc.
*only some of which are listed above.

Let us look at another form: to see

I see myself        gadagotia
I see you           gvgohtia
I see him/her       tsigotia
I see it            tsigotia
I see you two       advgotia
I see you (plural)  istvgotia
I see them (live)   gatsigotia
I see them (things) detsigotia
You see me             sgigotia
You see yourself       hadagotia
You see him/her        higo(h)tia
You see it             higotia
You see another and me sginigotia
You see others and me  isgigotia
You see them (living)  dehigotia
You see them (living)  gahigotia
You see them (things)  detsigotia
He/she sees me              agigotia
He/she sees you             tsagotia
He/she sees you             atsigotia
He/she sees him/her         agotia
He/she sees himself/herself adagotia
He/she sees you + me        ginigotia
He/she sees you two         sdigotia
He/she sees another + me    oginigotia
He she sees us (them + me)  otsigotia
He/she sees you (plural)    itsigotia
He/she sees them -          dagotia
You and I see him/her/it           igigotia
You and I see ourselves            edadotia
You and I see one another          denadagotia/dosdadagotia
You and I see them (living)        genigotia
You and I see them (living or not) denigotia
You two see me                  sgninigotia
You two see him/her/it          esdigotia
You two see yourselves          sdadagotia
You two see us (another and me) sginigotia
You two see them                desdigotia
Another and I see you          sdvgotia
Another and I see him/her      osdigotia
Another and I see it           osdigotia
Another and I see you-two      sdvgotia
Another and I see ourselves    dosdadagotia
Another and I see you (plural) itsvgotia
Another and I see them         dosdigotia
You (plural) see me      isgigoti
You (plural) see him/her etsigoti
They see me             gvgigotia
They see you            getsagotia
They see him/her        anigoti
They see you and me     geginigoti
They see you two        gesdigoti
They see another and me gegigotia/gogenigoti
They see you (plural)   getsigoti
They see them           danagotia
They see themselves     anadagoti
I will see datsigoi
I saw      agigohvi
He/she will see dvgohi
He/she saw      ugohvi

Number is marked for inclusive vs. exclusive and there is a dual. 3rd person plural is marked for animate/inanimate. Verbs take different object forms depending on if the object is solid/alive/indefinite shape/flexible. This is similar to the Navajo system. Cherokee also has lexical tone, with complex rules about how tones may combine with each other. Tone is not marked in the orthography. The phonology is noted for somehow not having any labial consonants. However, Cherokee is very regular. It has only three irregular verbs. It is just that there are many complex rules. Cherokee is rated 5, most difficult of all.

India, Land of Rapes

Here. American college student goes to India and endures the usual endless creepathon dealing with groping, masturbating, gawking, stalking, assaulting, raping, rapey, rapey Indian guys. This story hit the big-time on CNN. Yay! The world is learning about the 550 million rapey guys in India and how India is the biggest creepfest on the planet nowadays. The comments are full of Indian men ranting and raving about the “racist” article and how unfair it is to their wonderful Mata Bharat. I am glad that this story about rapey, rapey India is finally getting some press. It’s about time.    

Animal Adjectives

Here. Amazing, a whole bunch of English words you’ve never even heard of before. These are adjectives describing certain animals, meaning: like a, similar to, in the way of or relating to [animal name]. Here are the a’s just to get you started:

Animal    Adjective
agouti    dasyproctine (like an agouti)
ant       formicine/myrmecine (ant-like)
anteater  myrmecophagine (similar to an anteater)
antelope  antilopine (as an antelope)
armadillo tolypeutine (relating to armadillos)
asp       aspine (in the way of an asp)
ass       asinine (like an ass)
auk       alcidine (about auks)

Most of you have probably only heard of a handful of those words, and you have probably used an even smaller number. I have only heard of: asinine, acciptrine, taurine, feline, bovine, vaccine, canine, aquiline, elephantine, piscine, hominine, murine, passerine, porcine, serpentine, bufotenine. There are ~246 words there, and I got 16 of them. 7

Language Difficulty and Racial IQ

Neo asks:

As a linguist and race realist, is there a correlation between language hardness and racial IQ?

There is no relationship at all between language difficulty and racial IQ. Amerindian languages are the most monstrous on Earth, and their IQ’s are only ~87. Eskimo languages are horrific, and Eskimos have ~91 IQ’s. The language of the Bushmen is insanely hard, but their IQ is thought to be between 50-60. Aborigine and Papuan languages can also be incredibly difficult, and their IQ’s are very low. The languages of the Caucasus are the hardest on Earth, but their IQ’s are only ~85-90. Truth is that as languages become used by industrialized societies as forms of mass communication, they tend to simplify and a lot of their difficulty works out of them. This is because people in modern advanced societies often want to get their point across as quickly as possible, whereas a hunter-gatherer in the Kalahari has all the time in the world. In contrast, primitive people often have the most insanely complex languages. Primitive or noninudustrialized agrarian, rural or mountain-dwelling people do not have much intellectual stimulation, so they often play with their incredibly difficult languages as a source of creativity, fun and intellectual stimulation because they are intellectually starved and bored. The more advanced the ethnic group -> the simpler the language. The less advanced the ethnic group -> the more complex the language. Of course there are many exceptions, and linguists tear their hair out and start screaming and yelling if they read what I just wrote, but I do think there is some truth to it.

Hardest Languages on Earth Found in China

Article here. Video here. The most complex language on Earth is Fengxian Wu, spoken near Shanghai. The second most complex was the language of the Dong people of Southwest China. The third most complex was the language of the Buyang people, also of SW China. The study took over 10 years and involved teams from both the Anthropology and Linguistics Departments at Fudan University. They also found that the languages of Eurasia were more complex than the languages of Africa or the Americas. The article suggests that this may mean that humans came out of Asia instead of out of Africa. This is an old conceit of the Chinese. They just can’t handle the idea that humans came out of Africa, and they are always fighting this idea. They even claim that there proto-humans have special characteristics that mean that they could not possibly have come out of Africa. The Chinese have long been pushing the multiregional theory of human evolution. I am not sure why the Chinese feel that way, but it may have to do with not wanting to believe that they came from Black people. The Chinese have always thought that that China was the center of the world. The ancient belief is that China is the land where all four winds (north, south, east and west) arise. It’s a silly nationalistic conceit and the sooner they dump it, the better. Here is a bit on Fengxian Wu and the Dong or Kam languages, focusing on their difficulty:

Sino-Tibetan Chinese

A recent 15 year survey out of Fudan University utilizing both the departments of Linguistics and Anthropology looked at 579 different languages in order to try to find the most complicated language in the world. The result was that a Wu language dialect (or perhaps a separate language) in the Fengxian district of Shanghai (Fengxian Wu) was the most complex language of all, with 20 separate vowels. The nearest competitor was Norwegian with 16 vowels. Fengxian Wu gets a 5 rating, hardest of all.


The Kam languages of the Dong people in southwest China were rated by the Fudan University study referenced above under Wu as the 2nd most complex on Earth. There are 32 stem initial consonants, including oddities like , tɕʰ, , pʲʰ, ɕ, , kʷʰ, ŋʷ, tʃʰ, tsʰ. Note the many contrasts between aspirated and unaspirated voiceless consonants, including bilabial palatalized stops, labialized velar stops, and alveolar affricates. There are an incredible 64 different syllable finals, and 14 others that occur only in Chinese loans. There are an astounding 15 different tones, nine in open syllables and six in checked syllables (entering tones). The main tones are high, high rising, high falling, low, low rising, low falling, mid, dipping and peaking. Kam gets a 5 rating, hardest of all. If you think this website is valuable to you, please consider a contribution to support the continuation of the site. Donations are the only thing that keep the site operating.

A Look at the Danish Language

Danish is a harder language to learn than one might think. It’s not that hard to read or even write, but it’s quite hard to speak. However, like English, Danish has a non-phonetic orthography, so this can be problematic. It has gone a long time without a spelling reform, so there are many silent letters and sounds, both vowels and consonants, that make no sense. In addition, there are d words where the d is silent and other d words where it is pronounced, and though the rules are straightforward, it’s often hard for foreigners to get the hang of this. The d in hund is silent, for instance. In addition, the b, d,  and g sounds are somehow voiceless in many environments, which must be a hard sound to make. There are also the strange labiodental glide and alveopalatal fricative sounds. In certain environments, d, g, v, and r turn into vowels. There are three strange vowels that are not in English, represented by the letters æ, ø and å. They are all present in other Scandinavian languages – æ is present in Icelandic and Norwegian, ø is part of Norwegian, and å is part of Norwegian and Swedish, but English speakers will have problems with them. Danish language learners often report having a hard time pronouncing Danish vowels or even telling one apart from the other. One advantage of all of the Scandinavian languages is that their basic vocabulary (the vocabulary needed to converse at a basic level and be understood) is fairly limited. In other words, without learning a huge number of words, it is possible to have a basic conversation in these languages. This is in contrast to Chinese, where you have to learn a lot of vocabulary just to converse at a basic level. As with Maltese and Gaelic, there is little correlation between how a Danish word is written and how it is pronounced. Pronunciation of Danish is difficult. Speech is very fast and comes out in a continuous stream that elides entire words. Vowels in the middle and at the end of words are seldom expressed. There are nine vowel characters, and each one can be pronounced in five or six different ways. There is nearly a full diphthong set, and somehow pharyngealization as accent is used as an accent. Danish has a huge set of vowels, one of the largest sets on Earth. The sheer number of vowels is one reason that Danish is so hard to pronounce. Danish has 32 vowels, 15 short, 13 long and four unstressed: ɑ, ɑː, a, æ, æː, ɛ, ɛː, e, e̝ː, i, , o, , ɔ, ɔː, u, , ø, øː, œ, œː, ɶ, ɶː, y, , ʌ, ɒ, ɒː, ə, ɐ, ɪ, and ʊ. There is also a strange phonetic element called a stød, which is a very short pause slightly before the vowel(s) in a word. This element is very hard for foreigners to get right. Just about any word has at least four meanings, and can serve as noun, verb, adjective or adverb. Danish has two genders (feminine and masculine have merged into neuter), and whether a noun is common or neuter is almost impossible to predict and simply must be memorized. From here. This is a look at the Danish language from the viewpoint of how hard it is for an English speaker trying to learn the language. Suggesting that Danish may be harder to learn than Swedish or Norwegian, it’s said that Danish children speak later than Swedish or Norwegian children. One study comparing Danish children to Croatian tots found that the Croat children had learned over twice as many words by 15 months as the Danes. According to the study:

The University of Southern Denmark study shows that at 15 months, the average Danish toddler has mastered just 80 words, whereas a Croatian tot of the same age has a vocabulary of up to 200 terms. […] According to the study, the primary reason Danish children lag behind in language comprehension is because single words are difficult to extract from Danish’s slurring together of words in sentences. Danish is also one of the languages with the most vowel sounds, which leads to a ‘mushier’ pronunciation of words in everyday conversation.

Danish gets a 3 rating, average difficulty.

A Look at the Norwegian Language

From here. This is a look at the Norwegian language from the POV of an English speaker trying to learn it. The truth is that Norwegian is probably one of the easiest languages for an English speaker to learn. Norwegian is fairly easy to learn, and Norwegian is sometimes touted as the easiest language on Earth to learn for an English speaker. This is confusing because Danish is described below as a more difficult language to learn, and critics say that Danish and Norwegian are the same, so they should have equal difficulty. But only one Norwegian writing system is almost the same as Danish the Danish writing system. Danish pronunciation is quite a bit different from Norwegian, and this is where the problems come in. Nevertheless, Norwegian dialects can be a problem. Foreigners get off the plane having learned a bit of Norwegian and are immediately struck by the strangeness of the multiplicity of dialects, which for the most part are easy for Norwegians to understand, but can be hard for foreigners. There is also the problematic en and et alternation, as discussed with Danish. Norwegian has an irrational orthographic system, like Swedish, with silent letters and many insensible sounds, both consonants and vowels. It has gone a long time without a spelling reform. It has the additional orthographic issues of two different writing systems and a multitude of dialects. Norwegian, like Danish and Swedish, has a huge vowel inventory, one of the larger ones on Earth. It can be confusing and difficult to make all of those odd vowel sounds: 18 contrasting simple vowels, nine long and nine short , , ɛː, ɑː, , , ʉ̟ː, , øː, ɪ, ɛ, a, ɔ, ʊ, ɵ, ʏ and œ. Norwegian has very little inflection in its words, but the syntax is very difficult. Norwegian also has “tonemes” which distinguish between homophones. tankenthe tank tankenthe thought have two different meanings, even though the stress and pronunciation are the same. The words are distinguished by a toneme. However, Norwegian is a very regular language. Norwegian gets a 2 rating, moderately easy to learn.

A Look at the Italian Language

From here. A look at the Italian language from the POV of an English speaker trying to learn it. Compared to other Romance languages, Italian is about average in difficulty. Italian is said to be easy to learn, especially if you speak a Romance language or English, but learning to order a pizza and really mastering it are two different things. Foreigners usually do not learn Italian at anywhere near a native level. For instance, Italian has three types of tenses, simple, compound, and indefinite. There are also various moods that combine to take tense forms – four subjunctive moods, two conditional moods, two gerund moods, two infinite moods, two participle moods and one imperative mood. There are eight tenses in the indicative mood – recent past, remote pluperfect, recent pluperfect, preterite (remote past), imperfect, present, future, future perfect. There are four tenses in the subjunctive mood – present, imperfect, preterite and pluperfect. There are two tenses in the conditional mood – present and preterite. There is only one tense in the imperative mood – present. Gerund, participle and infinite moods all take only present and perfect tenses. Altogether, using these mood-tense combinations, any Italian verb can decline in up to 21 different ways. Italian has many irregular verbs. There are 600 irregular verbs with all sorts of different irregularities. Nevertheless, it is a Romance language, and Romance has gotten rid of most of its irregularity. The Slavic languages are much more irregular than Romance. Counterintuitively, some Italian words are masculine in the singular and feminine in the plural. There are many different ways to say the: Masculine: il i lo gli l’ Feminine: la le l’ Few Italians even write Italian 100 Italian is still easier to learn than French, for evidence see the research that shows Italian children learning to write Italian properly by age six, 6-7 years ahead of French children. This is because Italian orthography is quite sensible and coherent, with good sound-symbol correspondence. Nevertheless, the orthography is not as transparent as Spanish’s. Italian has phrasal verbs as in English, but the English ones are a lot more difficult. The Italian ones are usually a lot more clear given the verb and preposition involved, whereas with English if you have the verb and the preposition, the phrasal verb does not logically follow from their separate meanings. For instance: andare fuorito go + out  = get out andare giù to go + down = get down However, in a similar sense, Italian changes the meaning of verbs via addition of a verbal prefix: scrivere ascrivere descrivere prescrivere mettere smettere permettere sottomettere porre proporre portare supportare In these cases, you create completely new verbs via the addition of the verbal prefix to the base. Without the prefix, it is a completely different verb. Italian is somewhat harder to learn than Spanish or Portuguese but not dramatically so. Italian has more irregularities than those two and has different ways of forming plurals, including two different ways of forming plurals that can mean different things depending on the context. This is a leftover from the peculiarities of the Latin neutral gender. Italian pronunciation is a straightforward, but the ce and ci sounds can be problematic. Italian gets a 3 rating, average difficulty. Often thought to be an Italian dialect, Neapolitan is actually a full language all of its own. Neapolitan is said to be easier than Standard Italian. Unlike Italian, Neapolitan conjugation and the vocative are both quite simple and any irregularities that exist seem to follow definite patters. Neapolitan gets a 2.5 rating, fairly easy.

A Look at the Hebrew Language

From here. A look at how hard it is for an English speaker to learn Hebrew. Truth is that Hebrew is one of the hardest languages on Earth to learn.

Afroasiatic Semitic

Semitic languages such as Arabic and Hebrew are notoriously difficult to learn, and Arabic (especially MSA) tops many language learners’ lists as the hardest language they have ever attempted to learn. Although Semitic verbs are notoriously complex, the verbal system does have some advantages especially as compared to IE languages like Slavic. Unlike Slavic, Semitic verbs are not inflected for mood and there is no perfect or imperfect.

South Canaanite

Hebrew is hard to learn according to a number of Israelis. Part of the problem may be the abjad writing system, which often leaves out vowels which must simply be remembered. Also, other than borrowings, the vocabulary is Afroasiatic, hence mostly unknown to speakers of IE languages. There are also difficult consonants as in Arabic such as pharyngeals and uvulars. The het or glottal h is particularly hard to make. Hebrew has complex morphophonological rules. The letters p, b, t, d, k and g change to v, f, dh, th, kh and gh in certain situations. In some environments, pharyngeals change the nature of the vowels around them. The prefix ve-, which means and, is pronounced differently when it precedes certain letters. Hebrew is also quite irregular. Hebrew has quite a few voices, including active, passive, intensive, intensive passive, etc. It also has a number of tenses such as present, past and the odd juissive. Hebrew also has two different noun classes. There are also many suffixes and quite a few prefixes that can be attached to verbs and nouns. Even most native Hebrew speakers do not speak Hebrew correctly by a long shot, however, the Hebrew Language Academy norm is a prescriptive norm that few speak. Quite a few say Hebrew is as hard to learn as MSA or perhaps even harder. Hebrew gets a 5 rating for extremely difficult.

A Look at the Icelandic Language

From here. A look at Icelandic from the view of how hard it is to learn for an English speaker. Icelandic is often considered to be one of the hardest languages on Earth to learn. Icelandic is very hard to learn, much harder than Norwegian, German or Swedish. Part of the problem is pronunciation. The grammar is harder than German grammar, and there are almost no Latin-based words in it. The vocabulary is quite archaic. Modern loans are typically translated into Icelandic equivalents rather than borrowed fully into Icelandic. There are four cases: nominative, accusative, dative and genitive – as in German – and there are many exceptions to the case rules, or “quirky case,” as it is called. In quirky case, case can be marked on verbs, prepositions and and adjectives. The noun morphology system is highly irregular. Articles can be postfixed and inflected and added to the noun. In fact, Icelandic in general is highly irregular, not just the nouns. Verbs are modified for tense, mood, person and number, as in many other IE languages (this is almost gone from English). There are up to ten tenses, but most of these are formed with auxiliaries as in English. Icelandic also modifies verbs for voice – active, passive and medial. Furthermore, there are four different kinds of verbs – strong, weak, reduplicating and irregular, with several conjugation categories in each division.  Many verbs just have to be memorized. Adjectives decline in an astounding 130 different ways, but many of these forms are the same. The language is generally SVO, but since there is so much case-marknig, in poetry all possibilities – SVO, SOV, VSO, VOS, OSV and OVS – are allowed. There is also something odd called “long distance reflexives,” which I do not understand. In addition, Icelandic has the typical Scandinavian problem of a nutty orthography. Icelandic verbs are very regular but the sounds change so much, especially the vowels, that the whole situation gets confusing pretty fast. In addition, there are three different verbal paradigms depending on the ending of the verb: -er -ir -re Icelandic verbs are commonly cited as some of the hardest verb systems around, at least in Europe. Even Icelandic people say their own verbs are difficult. Icelandic has a voiceless lateral l. This can be a hard sound to make for many learners, especially in the middle of a word. In addition, there are two alveolar trills (the rolled r sound in Spanish), and one of them is voiced while the other is voiceless. Learners say they have problems with both of these sounds. In addition to voiceless l‘s and r‘s, Icelandic also has four voiceless nasals – , , ɲ̊, and ŋ̊ – the n, m, ny (as in Spanish nina), and ng sounds. There are also contrasts between aspirated and nonaspirated stops including the odd palatal stops and c. In addition, there is a strange voiceless palatal fricative ç (similar to the h in English huge). In addition, Icelandic has a hard to pronounce four consonant cluster strj- that occurs at the beginning of a word. Icelandic does have the advantage of being one of the few major languages with no significant dialects, so this is a plus. Icelandic has been separated from the rest of Scandinavian for 1,100 years. Icelandic is spoken over a significant region, much of which has inhabited places separated by large expanses of uninhabitable land such as impassable glaciers, volcanoes, lava flows,  geysers and almost no food. How Icelandic managed to not develop dialects in this situation is mysterious. Icelandic has traditionally been considered to be one of the hardest languages on Earth to learn. Icelandic gets a 5 rating, hardest of all to learn.  

A Look at the Romanian Language

From here. A look at Romanian from the viewpoint of an English speaker trying to learn the language.  Romanian is one of the hardest languages to learn in the Romance family. Surprisingly enough, Romanian is said to be one of the harder Romance languages to speak or write properly. Even Romanians often get it wrong. One strange thing about Romanian is that the articles are attached to the noun as suffixes. In all the rest of Romance, articles are free words that precede the noun.

English  telephone the telephone
Romanian telefon   telefonul

Romanian is the only Romance language with case. There are five cases – nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, vocative – but vocative is not often use, and the other four cases combine as two cases: nominative/accusative and dative/genitive merge as single cases.

Nominative-Accusative aeroportul
Genitive-Dative       aeroportului

The genitive is hard for foreigners to learn as is the formation of plurals. The ending changes for no apparent reason when you pluralize a noun and there are also sound changes: brad (singular) brazi (plural) Many native speakers have problems with plurals and some of the declensions. Unlike the rest of Romance which has only two genders, masculine and feminine, Romanian has three genders – masculine, feminine and neuter (the neuter is retained from Latin). However, neuter gender is realized on the surface as masculine in the singular and feminine in the plural, unlike languages such as Russian where neuter gender is an entirely different gender. The pronunciation is not terribly difficult, but it is hard to learn at first. Romanian is harder to learn than Spanish or Italian and possibly harder than French. However, you can have odd sentences with nothing but vowels as in Maori. Aia-i oaia ei, o iau eu? That’s her sheep, should I take it? It may have the most difficult grammar in Romance. Romanian has considerable Slavic influence. Romanian gets a 3 rating, average difficulty.


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