Word up



There are all kinds of spoken languages, based on our ability to make noises - different noises, and varied noises. That's a phonetic alphabet (using 'alphabet' in its abstract sense:- as any set of related symbols, that convey "information").

Spoken language is obviously only one kind of language. Languages and alphabets (algebras) are mathematical - mathematics is a language, too.

Is math the abstraction of symbolic meaning, and therefore language?
Any language has an equivalent mathematical abstraction, a logical "map".
Many of the symbols are overloaded, operator-wise, and value-wise, though, which means some languages have a very complex abstraction.

If there's a "symbol" space, is there a "meaning space"?
Maybe you don't see the connections between the Spanish and English words, or you should study Romance languages, to get a better overview, and study a bit of Latin too.

Greek might help with the Latin, but don't get, you know, carried away with it.
All i can say is that spanish sucks I know I've tried!
why do you think that? I ask because my daughter wants to go to unversity in a few years to study spanish and history! and so far she finds it a dodle
Many Americans (and to a lesser extent other anglophones) find Spanish difficult for several reasons:
  • Its phonetic structure is counterintuitive. Spanish has both a flapped single R and a trilled double RR. Very few Spanish teachers explain that the flapped R is the American sound of the D in "ladder" and the T in "latter," so their students unknowingly struggle to convert the uvular English R into a sound they've been pronouncing all their lives. We can all produce the sound of the double RR if we're making rude sound effects, but it's very difficult for us to integrate that into the middle of a spoken word. In addition, the Spanish dental consonants (N, T, D) are pronounced with the tongue between the teeth (as in the English sounds in "this" and "thing") and we've all been conditioned since birth to avoid that tongue position for fear that we'd grow up lisping. Furthermore, Spanish has only cardinal vowels, some of which are rare or even missing in American English, so we tend to say "pay-sow" for peso. Also, due to the Moorish Arabic influence, Spanish has the KH sound which we place somewhere on a scale between "comical" and "rude." Finally (in this brief list but there are many more features I could add) Spanish has no schwa, so all vowels are pronounced as written, in contrast to our habit of almost eliding unaccented vowels.
  • Its speed is daunting. The Iberians did not streamline Latin the way the Franks did, so Spanish has very long words. "She" and "but" have two syllables, "we" has three and "quickly" has five. I'd estimate that Spanish requires twice as many syllables as English to express the same thought. As a result it is spoken very quickly (rápidamente), with vowels that find themselves adjacent in a sentence being run together into de facto dipththongs and triphthongs. Speaking at the American rate of syllable flow (which I judge to be slower than any other dialect of English--and our Southern dialect is slower still) makes us sound like students or struggling foreigners no matter how fluent we are. But worse, it's very difficult for us to listen at that accelerated rate so it's hard to parse the sentences and pick out the words we know.
  • Its inflections are bewildering to us. We still have a few left over from proto-Germanic, but the ones that were not discarded have been simplified and regularized. Spanish has an enormous paradigm for "conjugating" verbs according to the person (first person = I, second = you, third =he/she/it), the number (singular or plural) and the tense. Except for our relatively rare irregular verbs, we only have a very simple inflected form for present (-S) and past tense (-ED), and handle all the rest with the invariant infinitive or participial (-ING or -ED) form. Spanish has six inflected forms for every verb in every tense--present, two different kinds of past, future, conditional, and two kinds of subjunctive (duh, what the heck is that?). And there are two and a half different paradigms, depending on whether the infinitive ends in AR or ER/IR. That comes out to about sixty inflections to memorize, just for the regular verbs! Irregular verbs come in dozens of offbeat paradigms. Oh, and that's just verbs. Adjectives are inflected to match the gender (duh, what the heck is that?) and number of the noun they go with. So is the definite article "the"!
Most other languages have some of these difficulties, but few have all of them--plus the many other ones I didn't list.
  • Italian is about as similar to Spanish as you can find, yet its grammar is easier because it doesn't have nearly as many irregular inflections to memorize.
  • French is also Latin passed down through the ages, but it lost a lot of syllables along the and is now just about as compact as English, so it is not spoken as fast as Spanish.
  • German is so closely related to English that we recognize many of the words, and even the somewhat more complex grammatical forms are eerily familiar.
  • Chinese has its phonetic challenges, but it has no inflections so there's virtually no grammar to learn in the conventional sense, its syllable count is even lower than ours so it's spoken slowly, and it has only nouns and verbs so there's a comforting, almost mathematical logic to its syntactical structure.
Notwithstanding all of that, there's something indefinable about the nature of Spanish that makes it not as daunting for a lot of Americans as you would expect. Probably the fact that the Spanish and their descendants had and have a huge presence in the U.S. and their influence is everywhere. We've all seen a rodeo, tried on a sombrero, drunk cerveza, eaten burritos, and in the West we've surveyed the scenery from atop a mesa and driven through an arroyo. Our map is dotted with Spanish words: Florida, Colorado, Los Angeles, El Paso, Las Vegas, Sierra Nevada, Rio Grande. My generation grew up listening to Desi Arnaz's exaggerated Cuban accent on "I Love Lucy." Salsa music was invented in New York City (unlike the condiment :)). Most Americans can understand a little Spanish--certainly more than French or German, which in my day were regarded as more "important."

That familiarity probably makes it easier to learn for many people. It's hard to say whether the average American finds it easier or harder than other commonly taught languages, but it remains a popular course regardless of its difficulty.
its like how mom is almost usually similar sounding
The first sound a baby can make which actually mimics speech is the syllable "ma." All he has to do is open and close his lips, which is something he can already do for feeding and crying. Everything else requires more maturation of the muscles and nerves, and more practice.
The crying is instinctive behaviour, one of the handful of things we mammal newborns can do.

Quite a few mammals can crawl around right after birth, but not us guys.
We have to get what we want by complaining about not having it.

Apparently it elicits a certain response in the natal female, who should be lactating at birth, like most other mammals (at least the group we're in).

Much like the response elicited by the instinctive behaviour of canine young in the wild (apart from mewling or yapping), of licking the parent's muzzle, to get them to regurgitate meat (behaviour also seen in C. familiaris, with the adopted parent - the human owner). Young dogs exhibit this response-elicitation behaviour with their owners.
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