Flaws in Spanish (22)

1 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-05-19 23:30 ID:YGAKxQoc

My Spanish teacher insists that Spanish is the greatest language and that theare no flaws in it, when in fact I know all non-constructed languages have some flaw in them.

I need some ammo to fight back, and then it can continue into a discussion I suppose.

2 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-05-19 23:41 ID:nk+thnfm

Nouns have gender :(

3 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-05-20 11:36 ID:uepBzwjB

The biggest problem with gender is that it's called gender. Someone once told me of a language where the word for "man" was a feminine noun. If that doesn't suggest it's the wrong word for the concept then I don't know what does...

4 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-05-20 13:50 ID:nk+thnfm

Yes, I read that recently: in German, Mädchen "girl" is neuter, and in Irish, cailín "girl" is masculine1. I also heard that Spanish nouns' grammatical gender can be inferred from their ending in many cases (but not all, so that doesn't excuse it, in my mind).

1Wikipedia, Grammatical Gender. Retrieved May 20, 2008.

5 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-05-21 06:13 ID:6EVzuiwl

Spanish conjugations are really hard.

6 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-05-21 10:13 ID:Heaven

I hear they're releasing a patch soon.

Also, constructed languages tend to be shit. Is that a flaw?

7 Name: Baka_toroi : 2008-05-22 14:53 ID:BJJ0XDgR

As a native Spanish speaker I can say...

  1. Unnecessary bureaucracy: until a word is accepted by the RAE (Royal Spanish Academy) the word does not belong to the language. And even then, you sometimes end up with monsters like "cederrón" (for CD-ROM).
  2. OMG, irregular verbs: there are a lot of irregular verbs. The amount could be lower than in English, but in English you have to learn 3 forms of the verb, at most, whereas in Spanish you could easily have 20 irregular form for a single verb.
  3. Spelling is unnecessarily complex: due to historical reasons, a lot of letters exist that are not necessary anymore. H is always silent (except in CH clusters), C can be replaced with S or K (depending on the vowel following), Q is unnecessary as well.
  4. Sexist. You don't have neuter words for a lot concepts. For instance, "Spokesperson" and "Spokesman" is "Vocero". You can't infer just by the word if it is a man or if the speaker doesn't want to specify the sex of the person.
  5. Lots of tenses: who the hell uses the "pasado anterior" (e.g.: hubo ido)? It doesn't make any sense to have such a tense, only used by people who want to show off their skillz of the language (probably literary cunts).

Hope you can win the discussion ;)

8 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-05-22 21:16 ID:uN4htKUV

What does your teacher mean by flaw, I wonder? I'd argue that the existence of a single irregular verb could be considered a flaw. I guess #7 above agrees with me.

Getting more specific on the gender arguments, I'd also consider the lack of a gender-neutral term for 'sibling' a flaw (albeit one that's shared with most languages).

Frankly, I think the whole concept of finding flaws in languages or identifying "perfect" languages is more than a little ridiculous--the arguments on both sides can't help but say more about nationalism or cultural chauvinism than they do about linguistics.

9 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-05-23 00:42 ID:YGAKxQoc

I'm not a cultural chauvinist myself, and in fact the way she goes around preaching Spanish's "lack of flaws" is what makes me mad, I know not all languages are perfect, but her zeal towards the language is turning me off of it.

Thanks for that.

Mmm.... kind of, but I've found they've grown on me after a while.

10 Name: Bloguero_Connor : 2008-05-28 04:18 ID:db2HHoMN

There is a lot of irregular verb.
I have parted is: "He partido", but I come back is "He vuelto" instead of "He volvido".
Regarding the RAE (Royal Spanish Academy), that is something that only Spanish from Spain cares, in Latin America we are independent from them since almost 200 years and we talk as we want without waiting for approval of any foreign academy.
Sorry for my English.

11 Name: Bloguero_Connor : 2008-05-28 04:22 ID:db2HHoMN

A big flaw in Spanish: The letter "H". There is no point (besides historical reasons) to use it. To say "egg", in Spanish is "huevo", but it sounds as "uevo". It is pronounced ospital, but it is written hospital.

12 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-05-28 06:27 ID:nk+thnfm

It seems to me there are comparatively few irregular verbs in the Spanish language.

13 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-05-28 11:30 ID:tmdRyY1Y

I am a native Scottish English speaker, and I know German and Latin. Spanish seems to be the most regular of the Romance languages, orthography-wise, and it also seems quite simple when compared to French. Also, grammatical gender can also be called noun class, maybe this would be a better convention to use? Also, Spanish only has masculine and feminine, and I don't think it declines for case. German, to compare, has masculine, feminine and neuter, and words can decline in nominative, accusative and dative cases. Polish has 5 genders: animate masculine, inaninate masculine, personal masculine, feminine and neuter. I suppose you could argue that Spanish is better in terms of grammatical simplicity, but it all depends on the person learning it.

Another point I'd like to make is the fact that languages do not have "flaws". Languages are simply finite tools for communicating an infinite amount of data, and no language is inherently better than another.

14 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-06-03 08:52 ID:R1KUj0MT

I always thought that the "h" added some sort of breathy beginning into it, like "hoo" instead of "ooh".

15 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-06-16 05:13 ID:8h0rKNlJ

Your teacher is obviously high on something. As a Spanish speaker who had to study the language, I can tell you there's plenty of problems. That being said, it's not as bad as a lot of the alternatives, but still a challenge.

16 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-06-16 16:04 ID:8EZ7coVD

There are no "flaws" in a natural language. That's like claiming there's a "flaw" in a certain organism. There may be inconsistencies, irregularities, vestigial structures, inefficient features, or natural limits, but to claim that a natural language is either inherently flawed or flawless is not looking at things in the proper way.

17 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-06-17 04:51 ID:8h0rKNlJ

Well put. The odd and tough parts of a language are what make it what it is. I guess I was looking at it much like OP. and not like you or >>13.

18 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-06-17 06:49 ID:YGAKxQoc

Hm... OP here, I should clarify that I know flaws in languages are well, natrual! However, I simply needed some ammo to fight back, as I love learning Spanish but my teacher (Don't have her anymore) made it really uncomfortable.

19 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-07-23 05:58 ID:UfnOpdcm


If a language is not flawed nor flawless, then what is it?

20 Name: Anonymous Linguist : 2008-07-27 03:17 ID:HEUNlwer

it just IS. The point is that there is no natural "perfect" language so there isn't really a scale to rate perfection. As s/he said, there may be problems with it, but that isn't really the point of a natural language. If you were trying to create a perfect language e.g. esperanto, it isn't the same as a language evolving over time. To clarify, just because Latin American Spanish and European Spanish may differ in some aspects, it doesn't make one better than the other (I know that wasn't the original question, just trying to make an example).

21 Name: HED : 2008-07-27 09:48 ID:mzf6razf

Actually, Spanish has neuter too. The problem is that the word por the male genter use to be the same for the neuter gender (some women are gettin' mad here about that xD), and that could be a flaw.

22 Name: Gerbosan : 2008-09-10 01:16 ID:vBHEehsM

Take this example, certainly you already know:
Concejo != consejo
town council != advice
same sound, diferente meaning.

Spanish have many verb conjugations that can make it difficult to learn, but as I live in a spanish speaking country I'm used to it. =)
It's false that RAE has no influence in Latinamerica, it has (at least in education) and many words known only to certain countries are being considerated in RAE dictionary.
There is also some difference in pronunciation, or so teachers taught me in school, the pronunciation of v is not as b.
Is as so many people mentioned above, there is no perfect language in this world, just neverending development.
Ask your teacher about the new words added to RAE dictionary ;)
Make a comparation of the old spanish and the new spanish.
Compare the spanish used in different countries or regions, for example the spanish used in Argentina has very diferent conjugation than in Chile or Perú.
Enjoy your knowledge, forget about that noisy teacher. =P

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