What is easy in English?

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What is easy in English?

Message  gerardM le Lun 18 Fév - 14:17

Hi everyone,

Some people say English is an easy language. What would you say?

A math teacher of mine kept saying the best response (to save time and really think of the question) was: "Depends!".
Some domains are easy while others are not.

Would you say that the possibility to make up words is a very nice spec?
For example, a possibility to create a noun from an adjective is to add the suffix -ness: kind -> kindness; what do you think?
For example, when you need an adverb and know the adjective, just add the suffix -ly: quick -> quickly; what d'ya think?
Last example to illustrate the point, to find the "opposite" adjective, add the suffix -less: sweet -> sweetless.

The three "rules" above look handy, no?
Do they work? How many percent?

What makes English an easy language according to you?

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Re: What is easy in English?

Message  MurielB le Lun 18 Fév - 14:39

Hi Gérard ! Hi everyone !
Very handy isn't it ? Thank you very much. The opposite of "less" is "ful"

harm harmless harmful
use (emploi, utilisation) useless (inutile) useful (utile)
tact tactless (sans tact / indélicat) tactful (plein de tact / délicat)
But you have to be careful
Some words only accept one of the two suffixes.


beauty: beautiless doensn't exist / laid = 'ugly'
weightful doesn't exist either / lourd = 'heavy'


Remarque:
Lorsque le nom auquel on ajoute le suffixe 'ful' est un contenant on obtient un nom exprimant une quantité.
a spoonful (une cuillerée) a handful (une poignée)
an armful (une brassée) An armful of hydrangeas (hortensias


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Re: What is easy in English?

Message  gerardM le Lun 18 Fév - 15:08

Hi Muriel, hi everyone,

Thanks for your message.

Am I correct in understanding that according to you, the easiest of English is that handy feature that permits to find adjectives/opposite-adjectives from the corresponding noun playing with -ful -less?

How general is that rule? What's the mark between 1 and 10? Wink

You pointed out counter-examples.
"How wrong" is it to make a mistake? I mean would EMTs understand you're just joking (and would find funny) or would they think your level is just poor?
Is the -ful suffix more common than the -less one? Is it risky to use -ful or -less?

Worry -> adj.?

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Re: What is easy in English?

Message  MurielB le Mar 19 Fév - 9:16

Hi Gérard ! hi everyone !
You have to remember that for "worry" it is worrisome.

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Re: What is easy in English?

Message  gerardM le Mar 19 Fév - 11:40

Muriel,
MurielB a écrit:Hi Gérard ! hi everyone !
You have to remember that for "worry" it is worrisome.
Yes I do remember as years ago, I made a mistake.

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Re: What is easy in English?

Message  gerardM le Dim 24 Fév - 20:19

Hi everyone,

Maybe I should not post here as my words won't correspond to "What's easy in English?"...

I take advantage of the subject to slip a remark about difficulties/mistakes.
English and French do have lots of similarities, but also lots of differences and lots of false cognates.
It's rather difficult and slow to learn everything by heart (our learning way as adults) so that sometimes we tend to apply the French rules to English: this doesn't always work Smile

A counter-example is indirect speech.
In French, we can say "c'est là que résident les différences" as well as "c'est là que les différences résident"... it depends on the rest of the speech but there's a preference to the inversion leading to an order similar to the interrogative form but with a transformed conjunction ("je me demande qu'est ce que tu veux" is definitely erroneous -> "je me demande ce que tu veux")
Things are not the same in English.
As far as I know but please, tell me if I'm wrong, there's only one possible way.
> That is where lies the difference.
This is wrong.
The only correct sentence is -afaIk-: That is where the difference lies.
I guess I never heard something similar to "That is where lies the difference" not even in the streets, not even in blues/jazz songs (often not the best level of language), maybe in poems (where many mistakes are permitted).
Am I too strict?

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Re: What is easy in English?

Message  gerardM le Mar 26 Fév - 17:34

Hi everyone,

I'm thinking of a message for days: here it is before I forget though I've not found the examples I do want.

I often write here that an English text is shorter than the corresponding texts in other languages I know (French, German, Italian, etc.)
I've in mind the French text is 50% longer than the English one.
I sometimes have to translate English into French for computer programs; the program is often written in English and the programmer sets a length according to the English language so that it's tricky to translate because my French words are longer and I can ask the programmer to enlong the area or I can use abbreviations, which is not easy at times (the abbreviations in French are not as common as in English and used in casual language).
Well!

English is a compact language.

In French, I (I hope you have to do the same) often have to use a very long expression such as "le fait que..." or even longer because the noun corresponding to the verb doesn't exist or doesn't go in my sentence (example "je voudrais revenir sur le fait que la température était basse ce jour là" doesn't have exactly the same meaning as "je voudrais revenir sur la basse température de ce jour là" - my first writing doesn't stress the same way).
English, as you know, puts forward a short, handy and easy solution: the -ing form also known as gerund.

Handy, isn't it?

Grammatically speaking, gerung is a noun.
If you don't have the exact noun in mind, you can use the gerund. Of course, it's better language to use the true noun but using gerund won't be considered as a big mistake, just a strange wording, that's all... my advice: don't stop, don't hesitate, don't show your trouble, just go on with your speech taking a relaxed pose and nobody will charge you for any mistake Wink

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Re: What is easy in English?

Message  gerardM le Mar 26 Fév - 17:41

Hi everyone,

Another handy geature of English: the -wise suffix.

That's wonderful!

While you have a long expression in French (e.g. dans le sens de la longueur / sur le plan mathématique / pour ce qui est du travail), English is bloody compact, say "lengthwise / mathwise / workwise".
It's perfectly correct! Compare lengths!! :-)

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PS: Pls note that I chose American English for my vocabulary, grammar, spelling, culture, etc.  :-)
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