Why is the Spanish language spoken backwards? | SpanishDict Answers
Do you #LoveSpanish? Share why for a chance to win $15,000 in scholarships from SpanishDict. Learn more!
report this ad
4 Vote

Why is the Spanish language spoken backwards?

  • These guys are seriously insane. You are clearly an english speaking person. Asking why the spanish language is spoken backward, because..... for english speaking people.... it is. Policia Federal is a prime example. - alturic May 13, 2012 flag

23 Answers

18 Vote

Heidita is fond of quoting "there are no stupid questions ...". Nonetheless there are questions which display a profound ignorance of how (other) languages) function. Your question suggests the assumption that all languages should pattern themselves after English.

At the risk of upsetting/disillusioning you, English is not the model on which all other languages are based. Other languages have their own ways of expressing ideas. If it is not the same way that you would say something in English, tough luck!.

English is English and we have our own peculiar ways of saying things. If you consider any deviation from those ways to be "backwards", then forget about learning any other language! In one way or another, they are all "backwards".

  • you really are up your own arse arn't you Pesta?????? - leeallen Nov 9, 2011 flag
  • Good God, maybe the person phrased it wrong but I remember thinking the same thing when I was a child. I don't think this person meant any harm. - SunnyGeek Feb 2, 2012 flag
  • I agree, that was very rude. - rac1 Feb 2, 2012 flag
  • pesta? - FELIZ77 Feb 2, 2012 flag
  • Rac yes I agree very disrespectful :( - FELIZ77 Feb 2, 2012 flag
11 Vote

Lol this is a great example of "The Ugly American" who shows no respect for other nation's culture, either by accident or because they feel superior. (No insult to you by the way, I'm sure you were doing it by accident. People can't know everything automatically, and if you did, you wouldn't be asking questions, you would be answering them, lol)

But perhaps the reason that the word order in Spanish and English are different is because of Latin. (It's great to be able to blame stuff on a dead language, lol) In Latin, somebody had the bright idea that the final word in the sentence was the most important, but the word order didn't really matter that much. In order to understand each other, people started using a certain word order, and after time, it became the regional dialect. Of course, when the Roman Empire broke apart, various 'barbaric' tribes conquered vast tracts of area, mingled with the people, and attempted to force them to speak their language. Thus, these regional dialects became mingled with other languages, and eventually became much different from what they were to begin with. English was heavily influenced by the language of the Saxons and by French. Low English was considered a "dirty" language, spoken by peasants and the like. High English was also considered somewhat foul, but was spoken by merchants and many nobles. On a side note, French was considered to be the best language of the time, and one of the two that were deemed worthy to write in. Because of this, English wasn't used to write anything for hundreds of years, and when it eventually was used to write things, people spelled them exactly like they sounded, causing English to be a highly phonetic language. Ancient Spain, if I remember correctly, was invaded by both the Goths and the Visigoths, and later by the Arabic speaking inhabitants of North Africa under command of Gerbil Tarik. This resulted in lots of blending in the Spanish region, as well as many Arabic names for places in Spain. Thus, with a few thousand years thrown into the mix as well, the Romance Languages were born.

  • Actually,you're lingusitically the Germanic tribes had little influence. - BellaMargari Mar 11, 2010 flag
7 Vote

¡Bienvenida al foro!

....and, of course, they think that way, too! grin

  • lol - 00494d19 Mar 10, 2010 flag
  • I see that Q is making up for all those times he forgot to say "bienvenido/a" ;))) - Issabela Mar 11, 2010 flag
  • Lol'@Q very witty :) - FELIZ77 Jul 27, 2010 flag
7 Vote

It's another language, you can't expect it to follow English rules.

I used to think this too though. Direct object pronoun placement makes no sense to me for instance.

Call me narrow-minded but whatever.

  • Definitely not narrow-minded. It's just when you're used to speaking a certain way, some things may come across "backwards". - SunnyGeek Feb 2, 2012 flag
7 Vote

We use "backwards" word order in English more often than you realize. Some examples:

  • Leave by a date certain
  • Trip the light fantastic
  • Murder most foul
  • Attorney General
  • Court martial
  • Poet laureate
  • Time immemorial
  • Heir apparent
  • Accounts Receivable

I will admit that such cases in English are imported from (mostly) French, it doesn't alter the fact that English speakers are quite comfortable with this usage, since they have been around awhile and practiced. Spanish speakers are similarily accustomed.

Apparently, you it does bother. (note my use of Direct Object before the verb wink) Maybe it would help to think like "Yoda" tongue wink

  • Not familiar with "date certain" but the rest are spot on. Love the Yoda suggestion. - fontanero Jul 27, 2010 flag
  • I've never come across "Leave by a date certain" before. - dave0710 Jul 27, 2010 flag
  • The U.S. Congress often used this expression "Leave by a date certain..." in discussion of Iraq policy. - pesta Jul 27, 2010 flag
  • I'm in the UK, so thats why I don't know it. - fontanero Jul 27, 2010 flag
  • Pesta, I love your cunning examples. Many can be read backwards,no doubt you realize this. - annierats Sep 25, 2011 flag
6 Vote

I think most of you jumped the gun in assuming that this person was being insulting and too ignorant to understand. Of course, when you're learning a new language it's going seem complicated and backwards. This is called getting to know another language. I enjoyed reading how many of you jumped on the PC bandwagon when it deems necessary for you. Wouldn't it have been a little nicer to simply answer the question? I asked this similar question to my Spanish professor and he certainly didn't respond with such disrespect. I wonder if you do that every time someone asks for help. Perhaps, this is why people are frustrated with even attempting to learn other languages.

  • Yes, but there were more respectful ways of asking that questions such as Why does Spanish have a more flexible syntax than English ? - BellaMargari Sep 24, 2011 flag
  • No we don't . Look at other posts and look at mine here I did not insult. - BellaMargari Sep 24, 2011 flag
  • "most" of us ??? Please be fair. You undermine your credibility with hyperbole. - pesta Sep 24, 2011 flag
  • I agree with poemondey 198. I too was curious about that... "Why is the Spanish language spoken backwards?" I am glad my Nicaraguan friend didn't treat me so crudely when I ask her about it. No, she simply corrected my ignorance with grace. - rac1 Feb 2, 2012 flag
4 Vote

Your question seems to start from a false premise (basic assumption) that there is only one right/correct way for any language to develop and work in practice..in the same way as English

If this assumption is based on some idea that English is the only correct model then on what facts do you base that assumptiion? Please do not think that I am getting at/attacking you personally I am simply challenging the somewhat arrogant and misplaced idea that because Spanish sentence construction places the words in a different word order it must be backward.

The reason for what you call the 'backwardness' of Spanish is simply having its roots in a different language.People had chosen to speak the words in a different order.

If by backwards you simply mean in a different or even reverse order yes, to some extent that is true but if by backwards you mean inferior then It could be argued conversely, like Gfreed said with some humour, that other cultures with different languages could say the same about the English language tongue wink

I personally do not believe that there any bad languages as such and relatively speaking it could also be argued that there are no good ones since what is good for one could be seen by bad by another person. I believe we must be careful not to think that other languages are wrong because they are diffrent to what we are accustomed.

3 Vote

HI, welcome to the sitegrin

Now this is a funny question, why do you say that? big surprise

  • I agree, Heidita, thsi is a question that needs questioning. No good answering until we know what he?she means by backwards.. - annierats Sep 25, 2011 flag
3 Vote

?it does,sense make doesn't this¿

2 Vote

I am sure you are talking about syntax, but like samdie say you are making the assumption that all languages follow the rigid subject'-verb- object syntax of English Hey even in English we reverse subjects and verbs though only poetic contexts..

2 Vote

No, why is English spoken backwards?? rolleyes smile

  • The question that needs asking this is. :) - tc84 Sep 26, 2011 flag
1 Vote

This question makes absolutely no sense. Just as English spoken backwards would make no sense, if you could even pronounce some ot the letter combinations, the same would be true of Spanish. Olbah loñapse. I can pronounce the last sentence but it does not mean anything and I'm sure you will never hear a Spaniard saying it.

  • He is referring to word order, NOT the spelling (or pronuncation) of words. Read before you post! - JCameron Mar 10, 2010 flag
  • How do you know what he's referring to? Alice in Wonderland makes little sense if you don't speak good English... - annierats Sep 25, 2011 flag
1 Vote

English is what linguists refer to as an SVO language, as is approximately half of the world's 6,000 languages. That is, the most common word order is Subject-Verb-Object. Of course, the other half of the world's languages get along very nicely (thank you for your concern) with some other word order being more common (Japanese, to my sure and certain knowledge and, reportedly, Turkish [just to name two that you might have heard of]). Spanish is also, predominantly, SVO but is more flexible than English and other word orders are more common than in English (In English departures from the SVO pattern mostly occur in poetry).

  • As I understand it, the rigid SVO within English is due to its loss of case. Only the word order can express who does what to whom, ( to employ a little example with a bit of case:-) - Janice Sep 24, 2011 flag
1 Vote

Linguo-centrism (no, it's not in the dictionary) is not uncommon among those who have not studied a second language, which is the majority of the USA population, I'm sure. That's why learning a second language is so eye-opening on a number of different levels. These levels may include opening one's self to the understanding of different cultures, as you realize how so much of your worldview has been acculturated. wink

  • Beg to differ. Here in New England nearly every high school student studies a second language. - mtmonadnock Feb 2, 2012 flag
  • Ah, but how many of those high-school student can really speak (think in) a second language? - samdie Feb 2, 2012 flag
1 Vote

I went to an American school but never really studied English. This is the question I was searching for when I found this place. Very funny to be so ignorant. He does mean in reverse. I for one never new there was a writing order. lol I thought it was just a thinking order. I have always seen what I had thought to be a reverse order and wondered but not enough to seek an answer to it. I am 60 now and find it hard to understand that it's not in reverse. That everyone when thinking automatically puts the words in the right order. This is really interesting and now doubt that I have any chance in learning Romanian.

  • Welcome to the Forum, Confused. Unlike the person who originally made the post, you sound like a thoughtful person, really striving for knowledge. When you have that drive, and that mindset, I think everything is possible. - Gekkosan Feb 2, 2012 flag
Answer this Question
report this ad