Humorous definition of American.

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Dinosaur, Feb 1, 2015.

  1. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    A person who speaks two languages is called bilingual.

    A person who speaks three languages is called trilingual.

    A person who speaks more than three languages is called multi-lingual.

    What is a person who speaks only one language called?

    Answer: An American

    BTW: I am an American & the definition now fits me, although circa 40 years ago I spent over a year in Brussels & learned to speak French. I had some difficulty understanding if the speaker spoke at a normal speed & often requested a repeat and/or slower speech.
     
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  3. KitemanSA Registered Senior Member

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    Nonsense. An American seaks dozens of languages that have been absorbed into our language. It is the best, most universally applicable language out there. You can say MANY more things in American than you can in any other language. Why do you think everyone learns American?
     
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  5. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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  7. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    So true, because English is the international standard for commerce and pilots. We are the only ones who don't have to learn another language. USA! USA!
     
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    ?? The syntax in German is a lot more logical, and Esperanto is even simpler. English is common just because it's common; Americans have a lot of money so people learn to speak English to participate in that commerce. It says nothing about the inherent utility of the language.
     
  9. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Stuff speaking American!
    Try speaking Aussie!
     
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  10. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Episode 2: How to Speak Australian:
     
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  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Not true. Chinese has a vocabulary that rivals (or possibly exceeds) English, its grammar is much less complex than ours, and it takes fewer syllables to express an idea than English, allowing it to be spoken more slowly and to be understood more clearly.
    Because the USA is the world's 700-pound gorilla. We're #1 in wealth, commerce and military power, and we are prominent in education, science and entertainment.

    And by the way, the name of the language is English, not "American." English has four recognized dialects: American (including Canada), British, Australian (including New Zealand) and Indian. So it's correct to say that someone speaks American English, but not simply "American."
     
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Huh? Have you ever tried to decipher a long, nested Schachtelsatz? How about waiting for the absolute end of a sentence before you finally learn what the verb is (if it's an infinitive or a past participle)?
    Esperanto grammar and syntax are indeed simpler because it's a crafted language, not one that evolved. However, its admittedly fabulous word-building facility has a down-side: it has a very small vocabulary that makes it rather boring to hear and frustrating to use for expressing nuances. I learned Esperanto sixty years ago and have correspondents in several countries, in addition to visiting many of them 40 years ago. It's a great language for socializing (as long as you don't try to go too deep), but it sucks for literature (especially poetry!) or anything else that by its very nature requires nuance.

    English is common just because it's common; Americans have a lot of money so people learn to speak English to participate in that commerce. It says nothing about the inherent utility of the language.
     
  13. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    I would have actually thought in the first instant because the English/British had spread their influence far and wide in discoveries/settling of foreign lands, the many books in English, and then later on the influence of Hollywood and its many movies in English albeit American English.
    Couple all that with the fact that all English speaking countries are rather affluent.
     
  14. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    Other side of the coin: An American is a person who's language everyone else speaks.
     
  15. zgmc Registered Senior Member

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    "With a trailer full of meat and a blood alcohol reading of .25, they head home to start the barbie". LMFAO this is great. thanks for posting!
     
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Just the big ones. Jamaica is not an economic powerhouse, and the Liberians are downright destitute.

    With the exception of Liberia, the anglophone nations are former British colonies. We're all modeled after the British template, although we discarded monarchy as a system of government, something the Brits are doing much more slowly.
     
  17. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    A sad story I saw today was when a man visiting from India and can't speak english was stopped by police and interrogated but since he couldn't understand the police and they couldn't understand him a problem developed and he was forcibly shoved to the ground and roughed up enough to become partially paralyzed over the non ability to communicate. If these officers had a cell phone and used the link I provided, https://www.google.com/search?q=spa...a=X&ei=eTveVLiEPcuzyASA7IGoDQ&ved=0CAkQ_AUoBA , this would not have happened.
     
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I'm amazed. All the schools in India teach English. In fact it's the lingua franca of the entire country. Even though all educated Indians can speak, understand, read and write Hindi (which is also taught in the schools), it is the language of the territory of Delhi, seat of the national government... and is therefore the native language of the ruling class. There is so much animosity toward that demographic, that when two people from different provinces meet and can't understand each other's regional languages, they would rather talk to each other in English, the language of their conquerors, than in Hindi!

    Most of the Indians in the USA are university-educated (many in American universities) and speak English fluently--although we sometimes have trouble understanding the Indian dialect of English, which is characterized by a near-monotone and prepositions that, I swear, are chosen from a dartboard. I can't imagine meeting an Indian in the USA who can't communicate in English. He must have been somebody's poor relative (one without very much formal education) who was invited over for a visit.
     
  19. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    He was a relative visiting for a few weeks from what the news story stated.
     
  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    American cops will enthusiastically beat the crap out of anybody who isn't of northern European ancestry. And if they haven't had any fun for a few days, they'll just shoot him.
     

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