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  • septimine

    One thing that would make learning a spoken language harder is slang, and I doubt that the infographic took that into account. I know that can be a problem in some languages -- there's the "formal" language you learn in school, then there's the street language that you hear in the streets. Standard Arabic is supposed to be the common language of all of the Arabian area, but it's not the stuff you hear on the streets. If you tried speaking the Arabic they teach you to read the Koran, it winds up sounding about like the King James Bible does to us. Sure, you can get around, but you're gonna get some funny looks when you say "whence cometh the bus?"

    • breedlove500

      In my arabic studies they actually made us "choose" a dialect after the first two years. I couldn't believe how different some of them can be from the Standard Arabic!

      • TheEnglishMajor

        The idea of "choosing" a dialect fascinates me -- I studied Spanish, and it seemed that with each and every lesson, professors would say offhand that this particular usage or this particular grammatical structure would sound commonplace in one Spanish-speaking country and absurd in another. It seems to me that learning one specific dialect would prevent a non-native speaker from sounding a little ridiculous everywhere. When I imagine a non-native American English speaker switching between northern and southern expressions, it sounds sillier than if the speaker would commit to one single dialect.

        How often do language students choose specific dialects in language acquisition? Who else has experience with this method of learning?

    • Teakay

      This is true in Japanese as well, which has different levels of formality on top of slang and onomatopoeia. In some cases the textbook language sounds nothing like what you'd actually hear if you went to Japan and just started talking to people.


      "whence cometh the bus?"

      nearly made me spit my snack all over my keyboard. Thanks. :)