HomeQ&ARelative advantages and disadvanatges of English and Spanish.

Relative advantages and disadvanatges of English and Spanish.


What, in your opinion, are the relative advantages and disadvantages of the English and Spanish languages?

¿Qué, en su opinión, son las ventajas y desvantajes relativos del idiomas inglés e español?

updated ENE 1, 2013
edited by ian-hill
posted by ian-hill
Disadvantages :) - 002262dd, JUL 18, 2010

6 Answers


English pros - It has become virtually a universal language. Not everyone speaks it, but almost everyone who speaks at least two languages does. It's very flexible and easy to invent new words for new things and situations.

English cons - Very difficult to learn. It's very irregular, and has had different languages cobbled onto it over the years. It's a Germanic language with a Latin grammar imposed by the Catholic clergy, and a huge influx of Norman French vocabulary when the Normans invaded England.

Spanish pros - Very widely spoken, very easy to learn, very regular. Being a Romance language, once you learn one the rest are relatively easy to learn. It's a very pretty, poetic language.

Spanish cons - Not many. The myriad of subjunctive tenses can be confusing. The words are generally longer than English. Some of the letters can be difficult to pronounce for non-native speakers (r and rr, for example).

updated ENE 31, 2012
edited by KevinB
posted by KevinB
English pros - should include a very easy English verb structure. - ian-hill, ENE 31, 2012
English cons (for those lerarning it) the Modals. But they are very "powerful" and almost remove the problem of the Spanish subjunctive. - ian-hill, ENE 31, 2012

Good question Ian.

For me, of course English is very easy.

I am highly proficient with the language and have written many technical papers, and I also write articles for magazines occasionally.

Spanish---Well for me, when I first started to learn it I gave myself a goal, which I do with everything that I do, and the goal was to be fluent in 1 year.

What a misjudgment that prediction became.

I was off by a few years.

I am getting better. I started studying by taking a 10 week cram course at the local college which got me kick-started, then I took private lessons for a time, but my business got too busy and I had to drop the private lessons.

I think Spanish is very hard because of all the tenses.

What I do like, is the verbs easily tell you what person you are in.

That is a good idea.

The other thing that makes it difficult for English speakers, in my opinion, has to do with neuro-linguistic programming which is the way we take information from the outside world and translate it into a language.

Humans of course take in the information the same way, sight, sound, smell etc., but that information has to be organized in our schema, then output into a language.

The problem is the way the information is organized between the two languages.

Example: English and Spanish person looking at a blue sky with a white cloud.

English: I see a “puffy” white cloud and a beautiful blue sky.

Spanish: I see a big sky that is blue with a “puffy” cloud.

This is why the adjectives follow the noun in Spanish, and precede it in English. This incongruence (in my opinion again) is what makes it so hard for English speaking people to get a handle on the language.

I believe the trick to learning Spanish for an English speaker is to “think” like a Spanish person.

Another example:

English: How old are you? Spanish: How many years do you have (on you)?

English: Where do you live? Spanish: Of all the houses, which one do you live in.

updated JUL 18, 2010
posted by Rolest
Very amusing, I sympathize being native spanish speaker married to an native english speaker, rings true your observations :) - Silvia, JUL 18, 2010

Spanish: One particular advantage is that the language is **word specific and by that I mean words exist to express exactly what you would like to say in Spanish:**

eg If a man wants to tell a girl how much he loves her he can say:

te quiero tanto mí amorcito = I love you soooo much, my sweetheart/darling

yet the English have only one word to mean love which is supposed to carry the same strength of meaning for love a little much fancy and even lust, so the English language is poorer in that respect. The Spanish can use diminutives like mí amorcito in place of mi amor where as the English only add a y as in horsey,to communicate a greater sense of affection mummy which can be cute as a child but seems a little childish when you say the same things as an adult lol

Another advantage of Spanish is that it is very phonetical nearly all letter sounds are as pronounced as written.

A disadvantage of Spanish is that there are sooooo many verb forms to learn lol 7 simple ones and 7 compound ones: most of them are tenses but some are moods like subjunctive.Some other aspects of grammer can seem complex too like all the different types of pronouns reflexive, direct and and indirect subject pronouns, and how and when to use them

Regarding the English.language, one advantage is that it is widely spoken around the world.

One relative disadvantge of the English langauge is that it is not phonetical: pronounced (and spelt) as it sounds. This can make it a very hard language to learn to speak and spell.

I have to admit I struggled to think of any advantages of English as a langauge I managed one lol red face oh oh

updated ENE 1, 2013
edited by FELIZ77
posted by FELIZ77
English also has "to adore" Feliz - ian-hill, JUL 18, 2010
Yes Ian it does but personally to adore is to close to worship and I will only worship God not any human being - FELIZ77, JUL 18, 2010
too close I mean - FELIZ77, JUL 18, 2010
Other terms for love: to adore, to cherish.... other terms: enchantment, infatuation - rlm387, ENE 1, 2013

Hmm, might be because I'm Hungarian or might be because I've been learning it for more than ten years, I think that English is not difficult at all, much easier to learn than Spanish :D

However, English has a very complicated pronounciation system (for me XD), so Spanish is easier to pronounce smile And a Spanish text sounds much better than an English one.

But it's only my opinion, I think it depends on where you live and which languages you speak raspberry

updated JUL 18, 2010
edited by kamiyayoriko
posted by kamiyayoriko

English is the most powerful language on earth, for several reasons.

1) Enormity and Versatility: Its original Germanic base has been mixed with an Romance vocabulary (French and Latin), giving it "the best of both worlds"--an extremely rich dual arsenal of expression unprecedented in history.

It has an enormity of words at its disposal to express an immense number of things (objects and concepts). Its widely known as a language for science and technology for this reason. Its size also allows for a given word to possess a multitude of different meanings in different contexts.

Conversely, an entire assortment of words might express the same proximate meaning, but with each synonym rendering a slightly different texture and feeling, depending on the desired affect.

For this reason, English allows for more precision, specificity and exactitude than most Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, Port, Romanian, French)...

2) Efficiency: It's extremely laconic (succinct). Sentences translated from English into other languages take up at least 30% more space. English words and expressions are concise as are its sentences.

3) Flexibility: The relative absence of a sophisticated rule-based grammar system (present in other languages, such as Slavic ones) makes it not only efficient but adaptable to new concepts and technologies. It's one of the most adaptive languages on earth. A noun can be easily turned into an adjective or a verb, and vice-versa, without sacrificing expressiveness or literary beauty.

4) Its preeminence is of little surprise: It's spoken by the most influential and powerful countries on earth, the USA and the UK. But this is no accident: I actually believe that the privileged status of these Anglo nations is in large part due to speaking a language as flexible, versatile, cogent adaptive as English - strange as it sounds. When you have a language as remarkable as English, it's really no surprise that it would become a potent tool both for Shakespeare and for Bill Gates. Whether we're talking about movies, art, literature, IT, technical stuff, or science, English is always at the forefront of expression. This proves that, apart from the political status of its speakers, the language itself has certain remarkable properties that make it, objectively, the best language in the world.

updated ENE 2, 2013
edited by rlm387
posted by rlm387

I'm an English speaker who is totally in love with the Spanish language, so I'm very biased on this discussion. tongue rolleye So we'll start with Spanish...

Spanish in my opinion, makes English pale in comparison. The language is constant and steady in its pronunciation and spelling, almost always. Thoughts are very well organized using the systems in Spanish, and its vocabulary is very clear and distinct. Most of these everyone had already said.

I'm not fluent in Spanish and have not yet spent more than a week in a Spanish speaking country (can't wait!!) So I really am at no place to say the negatives of Spanish, since I haven't experienced it fully yet. "Don't knock it 'til you try it" concept.

My only issue right now is the subjunctive, and learning to think like a Spanish speaker, but that is not a flaw in the Spanish language, but a flaw in the way the English language is taught and spoken!

So onto English, since it's such a natural topic for me. (This is all about American English, by the way.) It's a very unorganized language, in the way it is spoken, and in the way it was created. Just being the conglomeration that it is opens it to that critic. We have different words and grammatical concepts from different roots of languages--Romantic, Germanic, etc--and it is almost impossible to combine those very different systems into one coherent unit.

That being said, I also think the language is poorly taught in our school system and not enforced enough in the home. I went to a private school all my life, and had grammar class every year until grade 9. Same book, same concepts, over and over again in my head. How boring and useless to fill in punctuation in a book that already has an extra space where it will go!!! We need to do more writing in upper elementary and middle school, instead of starting in grade 10 and letting kids suffer through papers in college. After 13 years of education, they should be able to write a paper!!!

Ok, rant over. Anyway, I can't think of any plusses to English, except that maybe since all of the verb "conjugations" are the same for some tenses, it might be slightly easier to learn if you forget all reason and rhyme, simply because you don't have to memorize as many verb conjugations.

updated ENE 1, 2013
posted by megan5
So true your opinion on how the language is taught in school, I have seen it, as a mother and teacher! - Silvia, JUL 18, 2010
Good points made, megan. Just to help you the word is 'disorganised,' not unorganized, at least in Britsh English - FELIZ77, JUL 18, 2010
I voted you a point, anyway - FELIZ77, JUL 18, 2010
haha... thanks :) I'll change it - megan5, JUL 18, 2010
lol, actually they are both in the dictionary. weird!! That's what we get for speaking English. Stupid language. - megan5, JUL 18, 2010
Stupid language? Umm... please see my comment below... - rlm387, ENE 1, 2013
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