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Jonathan Soukup [SMTP:jsoukup -at- airmail -dot- net] wrote:
>> I think almost everyone has heard the phrase, "English is the hardest
>> language to learn," but I've never actually seen it in print. Does anyone
>> know who said it or where it is published? Is this something that we, as
>> Americans, have made up to make us feel better about ourselves? I don't
I have no idea who was the first to say it -- but, as Maggie said, there is
much to support this premise.
As a native New Yorker, I get to meet people from all over the world -- and
many bitterly complaining about our language. For example, I remember a
former colleague from Cuba who was walking down the street when passersby
began yelling "Look out!" Suddenly, gunfire erupted. As Leo complained,
"Since they wanted me to duck, why didn't they tell me to duck? Had I
looked out, I would have been killed!"
Leo also complained about having been driving his car when he was stopped
by a policeman, who told him to back up. Staring blankly, Leo queried, "I
know how get zee card back, but how get zee car up?" He was NOT happy to
learn that the word up was superfluous, and again complained that Americans
never say what we mean.
Think about it. The plural of house is houses; the plural of mouse is
mice. That's common, and understandably drives foreigners insane.