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The mathematical and scientific facts, laws, or principles are dictated by the nature. We, humans, only discover them and find relations between them - how one affects the other. This is the essence of objectiveness of scientific approach where one couldn't incorporate one's own personal beliefs and prejudices in one's findings.

It's true that almost all the languages around the world share some similarities between them. I haven't ever consulted any grammar book on my native language except when they forced me to memorize some of it in the schooldays. That's why it's called the native tongue. I remember once someone, I believe it was Amy (Yankee), who told me that a preposition is always followed by a noun phrase. This a kind of rule in English language. Who made this rule? Why can't one break this rule? A language is not an invention of a single individual - it's a colllective ownership. I'm sure there would be many other rules of this kind and surely I have practiced them infinite times. In general, how such rules come into being? Please do list some of them. I'm not a linguist, so I request you to keep your approach simple and straightforward. Thank you.

preposition
a function word that typically combines with a noun phrase to form a phrase which usually expresses a modification or predication
[M-W's Col. Dic.]
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Comments  (Page 2) 
Cool BreezeMany of the scholars who consider less than ten forms a lot ("much inflected") speak as their mother tongue languages such as the Germanic and the Romance languages, none of which is highly inflected compared with truly highly inflected languages. This explains why less than ten forms is "much inflected" to them. A Finnish noun, for example, can have thousands of different forms even though only a few hundred of them are actually used.
I think it depends what you mean by "inflected". It seems that linguists make a distinction between inflection and derivation ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inflection#Inflection_vs._derivation ). I guess that means that "happiness" is not an inflection of "happy", but just a derivation. And "does" is an inflection of "do", but "doable" is not.

It seems Finnish has fifteen cases, which is really a lot ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish_grammar#Cases ). However, I don't know how many "declensions" Finnish has. Latin is considered to be a "highly inflected language" on Wikipedia, with "only" five cases but also five different patterns of declension, and also four patterns of conjugation in six tenses, two moods and two voices ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inflection#Latin_and_the_Romance_languages ).
So, Finnish has fifteen cases, but how many "patterns of declension" for nouns does it have? And how many patterns of conjugation for verbs does it have? I really don't know, because I couldn't find that information easily and I don't feel like looking it up, LoL.

For example, the genitive case of the Latin noun aqua (=water) is aquae. The genitive case of the noun agricola (=farmer) is agricolae, and so on. But that is only the first pattern, which applies to a set of nouns ( declension#First_declension.28a.29 ). Then there are other patterns that applies to other sets of nouns. The genitive case of the noun dominus (=master) is domini, and that is the second declension pattern. The genitive case of portus (=harbor) is portus, and that is the fourth pattern of declension. There are five patterns of declension.
The same goes for verb conjugations, there are four different patterns, and each different pattern applies to a set of verbs that are inflected for person (1st, 2nd, and 3rd), number (singular or plural), six tenses, two voices (active and passive), and some moods...

I don't know any Latin or Finnish, but I just wanted to mention that stuff because I think it's hard to compare languages without knowing the most important details. How many "patterns" of declension or conjugation are there in Finnish?
KooyeenHow many "patterns" of declension or conjugation are there in Finnish?
I honestly don't know. We add endings to words to change the tone and often an ending is used instead of a word. For example, also / too can be expressed by adding an ending to a word. Inflection may not be the right word in such cases. It may be better to say that a word can have so and so many forms.

Some time ago I found a thesis (in Finnish) about these endings and it said a Finnish noun can have more than 5,000 forms but only about 150 of them are basic forms. I never counted them!Emotion: big smile You are right about the grammatical cases. There are only 15 or 16 of them.

The system of inflections varies from word to word and is so complicated that it is normal for a Finn not to be able to say correctly: I met him for the 689th time.Emotion: smile Even people who reallyshould know that, like news anchors on TV or on the radio, make mistakes with such things! Everybody can say: I met him for the 5th time, but any long rarely used ordinal that should be used in the right grammatical case can prove insurmountable. Unlike English, every digit has to be in the right case and form, and it's not a simple matter of just adding something to the numeral. There are other changes as well.

My apologies that was unable to really answer your question, Kooyeen.Emotion: sad

CB
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Cool BreezeThe system of inflections varies from word to word and is so complicated that it is normal for a Finn not to be able to say correctly: I met him for the 689th time.
Whew! I'm relieved that Finnish didn't become the "Internet" language. I've also heard that Basque and Welsh have a reputation for their difficulty too. And I can't imagine comfortably speaking a language liberally sprinkled with words like Eyjafjallajokull. Mastering Japanese or Chinese writing would take years and years.

Is English comparatively easy to learn?
AlpheccaStarsIs English comparatively easy to learn?
It seems it is, although I think it's impossible to know how difficult a certain language is. According to this table, it is among the easiest ones: http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/e/languages/index.html . Italian is among the easiest ones too in that table: it is inflected, but the pronunciation is extremely simple (compared to other languages).
There are three problems with English though, in my opinion:
  1. Pronunciation: there are too many accents. Everyone speaks differently and there is also phonemic overlap, which means you sometimes have to guess the phonemes from the context (otherwise when some Brits say "artistic" or "called", an American might understand "autistic" or "code" instead).
  2. The "ESL world" is a business. English is the most widely taught language in the world. Many teachers are non-native speakers, and they are not good enough. This means that prescriptivism, lack of practice, immersion in "broken" English, and not enough knowledge about real English (weak forms and assimilation included) are very likely to confuse most ESL students.
  3. Spelling and vocabulary: a large vocabulary with regional variations and an a totally irregular spelling, as far as the vowels are concerned. How the hell can "bury" and "berry" be pronounced the same? Why does "word" have a different vowel than "wore" or "cord"? And what about past forms? Spit or spat? Learned or learnt? Do you have a rubber or an eraser? A purse or a handbag? And so on...
AlpheccaStarsIs English comparatively easy to learn?
Yes and no. If one wants to master a language, no language is easy. Learning a working knowledge of English is easy. The grammar is easy because there is so little of it but it is also difficult because there are so many illogical exceptions.

The pronunciation is difficult. The stress may move: photograph, photography, photographic.
The same spelling may be pronounced in two ways: Nothing can separate them. He has a separate room.
Intonation may also prove difficult for many.
Even native speakers have problems with English spelling, so it goes without saying that English spelling must be one of the most difficult of all languages.
Using the right, natural word, phrase or idiom in a given context can be difficult as well. There seems to be a natural expression for almost every situation and the slightest deviation from it may sound wrong.

I think my ex-teacher of German put it rather well. She said that even though English seems - and actually is - an easy language in many respects, we, her students, might learn German well enough to fool a German into thinking that German was our native language but we would never fool a native speaker of English to think English was our native language.Emotion: smile There may be some truth in that.

CB
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Hi folks:

This site claims that English acquired its millionth word on precisely June 10, 2009 at 10:22 a.m. (GMT) ONE MILLION WORDS???

And the vocabulary keeps growing at the rate of 1 new word every 98 minutes. OMG! How will we ever keep up! Emotion: surprise
AlpheccaStarsAnd the vocabulary keeps growing at the rate of 1 new word every 98 minutes. OMG! How will we ever keep up! Emotion: surprise
We need not keep up at all - and nobody actually does! Since English is the most important language of science, international commerce and many other things, allspecial vocabulary first sees daylight in English. When scientists discover an animal that has no name, it is usually given an English name and a Latin name. For example, more than 1,000,000 species of insects are known. When all of them have an English name, the names of insects alone will constitute the majority of English words!Emotion: smile These words are not for the common man in the street. The vast majority of speakers of English never even hear these words.

In many cases these names of animals, plants etc. never get a name in most of the world's languages for the simple reason that such names are needed only among specialists. The average person doesn't need to know 10,000 different kinds of flies by name.

CB
Cool BreezeThese words are not for the common man in the street
But, CB, these new words are coined by the common man, for the common man!

Some of them are really cute and catchy:

Sexting - texting using naughty language
frenemy

unfriend

muggle

grrrl - (look ma!! no vowels!!)
cyberslacker
locavore
ginormous

Some are techie words;

twitterature (twittermob... )

webisode
webinar
malware, adware

And some give me the shivers;

waterboarding
pretexting

subprime
botnet

And they keep coming........Emotion: smile
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Thank you, Alphecca, CB, Kooyeen, for your knowledgeable replies and discussions. I have learned more on this topic than initially intended. Keep the exchange of ideas, knowledge going!
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