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Not So Easy PDF

By Berry J Prinsen

alt  May 29 – June 4, 2009

It is certainly arguable that Spanish is an easy language, as stated by Steve James in his article ‘Why Brits Don’t Learn Spanish’ (SUR in English, May 15 – 21, 2009). 

The mere fact that it is pronounced as it is written does not make it easy at all.  Spanish is far more difficult to master than a lot of other European languages, English included.  The latter is a hybrid language that gradually dropped a lot of complicated grammar of the original Germanic language brought to the British Isles by the conquering tribes of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes during the fifth Century. 

The English vocabulary may have a lot of Latin based words that infiltrated this language with the arrival of William of Normandy in 1066, but the grammar remained Germanic and therefore, according to knowledgeable circles, German, Dutch and the Scandinavian languages should be far easier to learn for an Englishman than Spanish. 

It is also arguable that the Dutch are the best linguists in Europe and if that would be the case it is only because they see it as a courteous attitude to speak at least a smattering of the language of the country they have chosen to live in.

Finally, as Wittgenstein so aptly worded: ‘The limits of my language are the limits of my world’.