Languages? Sprachen! Langues?
26th September marks the European Day of Languages. Europe is such as small part of the globe and yet it has such a heritage of languages. Denmark, Holland, Iceland, Croatia may not be large in size, but their people speak their own tongue.
All languages are interrelated, of course. Apart from having international words in their vocabulary, such as “website”, “film”, “fantastic”, which have spread to most languages, languages are also divided into groups or families, depending on their origin and structure. English, German, Danish belong to one language family, whereas French and Romanian to another. These are just examples of languages using the same alphabet. Chinese, Korean or Japanese definitely stand out with their own ideographs. And so is Russian.
It frightens people to see something written in a language they can’t even guess. Anyway, most complete Internet resources are written about it and I don’t intend to repeat it all here. One question I am often asked as a Russian translator is why a Russian text always takes up more space and yet its wordcount is less than the original English. The answer is English is analytical and Russian is synthetic. Without going into too much detail, where English uses articles and prepositions, Russian expresses the same linguistic links through word endings. It has no articles all together. So there are less words, but they are longer.
And as lazy as the English may be for a language-learning nation, they also respect the European Day of Languages and so they should. The ability to speak another language is commendable, it opens doors to some while they remain closed to others.
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