1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Duolingo
  4. >
  5. A Special Feature About Your …


A Special Feature About Your Native Language

Hey everyone!

I like to focus more on native languages than the languages one is learning, as the threads are much more interesting in my opinion.

The title explains my question. My native language is Hindi, or Modern Standard Hindi, spoken mainly in India, the world's fourth most spoken language.

There are quite a few things I'd like to mention:

  • Hindi is phonetic to a very large extent. ~95% of the things are written the exact same way they are spoken. The pronunciation of the remaining 5% changed over time; one can say that they changed in this century.

For example, the word पहनना if spoken the way it's written would be [puh-huhn-naa], but is rather pronounced as [peh-hehn-naa]. This may not be the case with every native speaker. Some, particularly the older generations, pronounce it as the former - the original way; while the newer generations pronounce it as the latter - the pronunciation which changed over time.

  • Hindi has 44 sounds in total, 11 vowels (7 original, the other four as a result of mixing the originals) and 33 consonants; 20 stop consonants - out of which 5 are unvoiced and unaspirated, another five their aspirated version, another five their unaspirated voiced versions, and the remaining five their voiced aspirated versions; 5 nasal consonants; 4 semi-vowels; 3 's' sounds; and one aspirate - the letter 'h'.

The interesting feature here is the fact that Hindi has 5 nasal consonants. This is because it has different nasal sounds for touching your tongue in different places in your mouth. The nasal consonants are ङ, ञ, ण, न, and म. The first one is the one found in English word singiNG. The 'ng'. The second one is the one in puNch. The third not found in English, and is retroflexed. The fourth and fifth are the normal 'n' and 'm' as in English respectively.

The semi vowels are य, र, ल, and व, which are the letters 'y', 'r', 'l', and 'v' respectively, as they are closely related to the vowels 'i', 'ṛ', 'ḷ', and 'u' respectively. (ṛ is pronounced something like 'ri' in MSH, and ḷ does not exist in MSH but was a sound in Sanskrit)

Edit: Not to miss out, Hindi has 8 cases, two genders: male and female, for nouns, adjectives, and verbs (yes even verbs, which depend on the subject), and the word order is somewhat flexible.

That was it, I'll add more if I remember :P

What are interesting aspects about your native language?

Till then, happy language learning!

December 8, 2015



Far from unique features but Finnish doesn't have:

  • articles
  • gender
  • future tense
  • word for have

Finnish does have:

  • cases
  • potential mood
  • long and short vowels and consonants
  • more cases
  • quite a lot of vowels
  • very few irregular verbs
  • even more cases

Finnish is:

  • a Uralic language
  • 99-100% phonetic (do ng, nk count?)


Hindi doesn't have definite articles, has 8 cases, does have a future tense, doesn't have a word for have (yay Finnish ;) ), does have long and short vowels, has MANY irregular vowels and so on. Interesting similarities ;)


Ng is, I think, the only clear exception. Even nk is debatable. Most finns wouldn't necessarily even recognize ng as one, cause it's so natural in contrast to pronouncing the letters separately. One could also argue that since letters c, q and w don't have their own sounds (they're pronounced as s or k, k or g and v or wh - as in whale -, respectively), they could be seen as non-phonetic, but since they're not used in finnish words, I don't really count them.


What, no future tense? How do you express something that is going to happen in the future?


With the present tense. Future is either implied through context or stated with other words, such as 'tomorrow', 'soon' etc.


Interesting, thing in Hindi there is no different or same word for tomorrow and yesterday, or day after tomorrow and day before yesterday, same for one hour after and one hour before, even same for next and last. It's day or time from future or past is implied through context of tense.
What more surprising is that, if you use words for tomorrow and soon with present conjugations, Sentence will automatically turns of future time (or by context), even there is full fledged system for future tense. This makes Hindi and Finnish one of a kind. : )


In hindi, one hour after is "ek ghante baad", one hour before is "ek ghante pehle", next is "agla/agli" and last is "pichla/pichli". Although the rest is correct.


People use agla/agli for both past and future, pichla/pichli" used for past only, and depending upon context 'ek ghanta 'without using with postposition 'baad' and 'pehle' can imply both. I agree with your point that "ek ghante baad" and "ek ghante pehle" are not same, as they are not single word, They don't fit into category. Using "agla/agli" as both time is common in eastern dialects of Hindi from Bihar/Jharkhand, not in Mordern Standard Hindi.


I have never heard agla/i being used for past. Could you give some examples please?


dramatically There is no future.


Finnish has no future.


Are you saying Finnish is finnished?


Why does Finnish have to be such a good word for making puns? :-D


Strictly speaking, some people would argue we don't have a grammatical future tense per se in English, either.

All the ways we have of expressing the future use other ways. I'm going to do something (a present tense structure used to indicate the future), I will do something (present tense as an auxiliary verb to express the future), what are you doing tomorrow (present tense with contextual word to make it clear it's happening in the future). (I'm sure I'm missing a few here, but those are the obvious three!)

We use auxiliary verbs, 'going to' and context, we don't have a form of the verb, like say French or Russian, which expresses that we are going to do something as an inflection of the verb. For example, in French one can use an auxiliary verb, je vais... do something, but one can also say je serai, j'irai to express the future directly.

Contrast with the past tense, where there is a definite past tense. I see you present. I will see you, I'm going to see you, see you tomorrow/later > various ways round the fact we don't have a verb form to express "I futuresee you". But I saw you > verb tense changes.

Fun, huh?

  • 1865

Of other interesting things, about Polish [Edited several times]

  • Grammar is almost entirely based on endings (Inflection).

  • One of the interesting consequences of the above is that you may put words in a (simple) sentence in almost any order: the phrase will mean almost the same, but the words will have different "importance": the most important is the last word. It means for example, that depending on the words order, the phrase "answers" to different (theoretical or actual) questions. There are some exceptions - conjunctions are "glued" to their respective nouns, or adverbials should have specific form.

  • There are 3 genders: male, female and neutral; also, all nouns have their specific gender (male, female or neutral) that has to be memorised; the gender of noun changes gender of other words that describe it (adjectives, numerals, verbs - even if the noun is only assumed i.e. not used in the sentence - as it happens f.ex. in Spanish), plus...

  • There are cases; not as many as in Finnish or Hungarian, however 7 of them is fairly enough, because they are different for each gender and different for living and non-living nouns. Cases are applied to nouns, adjectives, pronouns, numerals and some cases of verbs in function of adjectives (see below).

  • Theoretically, we have 4 tenses (of which the equivalent of "past perfect" is only archaic) - but... All verbs have forms for moods (indicative, subjunctive and imperative - the last only in present tense), which doubles past and future tenses and triples present. Almost all verbs have aspect ( durative and perfective; some have also third one, equivalent to "happen sometimes" ) which virtually doubles the number of tenses. Most of past and future tense+mood combinations are expressed two different forms - that mean the same, only has some figurative nuances.

  • Verbs can be transformed to something that grammatically behaves as [edit] adjective or adverb (participle), and there is not 1 particilpe form, but depending on verb, there are 4 to 5 types thereof (and, as most of adjectives, they can also hold the function of nouns in phrase) + there is verb form behaving as noun (gerund).

Examples for the verb "oglądać" (to watch) - only in nominative case:

  • "oglądający" (he who is watching; and yes, there are different forms for 3 genders);
  • "oglądany" (he who is being watched);
  • "obejrzany" (he who has been watched);
  • "obejrzawszy" (he/she/it [doing something else] just afer having watched);
  • "oglądając" (he/she/it who [is doing something else] while watching).
  • Verbs have derivated forms, that are created by adding a small part at the beginning of the verb, which dramatically changes its meaning.

  • There are 11 groups of verbs (models of inflection ) + irregular verbs. Also, models of inflection are different for different genders (with some exceptions), even in first person (it means, that woman and man use different inflection while she/he is speaking of her/his actions)

  • There are 3 grammatical numbers: singular, double and plural (although double presently exists only for several nouns, like f.ex. eyes, ears).

  • There at least 7 types of numerals (I am not sure, some more are mostly archaic) + nouns and verbs derived from numerals; some of the numerals behave like nouns, some - like adjectives. Most of them have cases and 3 gender forms.

Examples for "2", only in male forms of nominative case: simple: "dwa" (two); ordinal: "drugi" (second); multiplicative: "dwukrotny" (two fold); collective: "podwójny" (double); multiple "dwojaki" (existing in 2 types). Besides, for some numbers there are indefinite numerals: "kilka" (some, from 2 to 10), "kilkanaście" (some, from 11 do 19), "kilkadziesiąt" or "dziesiątki" (some tens), "kilkaset", "setki" or "paręset" (some hundreds) etc. ; partial - exists only for 1+1/2 ("półtora", "półtorej") , 1/2 ("pół") , 1/4 ("ćwierć") and 1/8 ("półćwierci"). There is an archaic form "samowtór" (in team of only 2 persons). Noun derived from numeral: "dwaj" (two, male, living, in nominative case); another noun: "dwoinka" (name of bacterium diplococcus). Verbs derived from numeral: "dwoić" (to multiply by two) and its derivatives: "podwoić", "zdwoić" (make it double, make 2 times stronger); and derived from numeral verbs, behaving as adjective: "zdwojony", "podwojony" (both mean doubled, male, in nominative case, first for uncountable and abstract objects, second for countable or uncountable phisical objects).

  • There are not so many words in the language - depending on dictionary, it may be between 40.000 and 200.000, but... there is a multitude of combinations of words ( phrasemes ) that have specific meanings (some of Polish linguists evaluate their number to "millions" http://sjp.pwn.pl/szukaj/ile-jest-s%C5%82%C3%B3w-w-j%C4%99zyku.html ), and there are clear ways of creating new words, that would be understood if necessary.

Example of creating new words in Polish: "konstantynopolitańczykóweneczka" - its structure:

konstantynopol - the city of Constantinople - so, it means, that the subject described by this word is related to that city; but the whole word is not name of the city, so it will not start from capital letter.

  • itańczyk - part meaning inhabitant (but this particular one may be applied only to names ending with selected letters; there are others to apply for city names ending with other letters)

  • kówen - part meaning, that the subject is unmarried woman, double kk made from beginning of this one and end of previous part is reduced to single k; and that it is not yet the end of descritption, if it was the end, it would be -kówna.

  • eczka - the subject is a young girl.

So, the word above means "a girl living in Constantinople, too young to get married". Please note, that - unlike in German - there is only one actual noun, all others are only inflective endings. And, the above word will be then declinated by 7 forms:

  1. Mianownik (Nominative): konstantynopolitańczykóweneczka
  2. Dopełniacz (Genitive): konstantynopolitańczykóweneczki
  3. Celownik (Dative): konstantynopolitańczykóweneczce
  4. Biernik (Accusative): konstantynopolitańczykóweneczkę
  5. Narzędnik (Instrumental): z konstantynopolitańczykóweneczką
  6. Miejscownik (Locative): o konstantynopolitańczykóweneczce
  7. Wołacz (Vocative): konstantynopolitańczykóweneczko!


Could you give some examples of what you call mood? I’m curious, I’ve never heard about that before or maybe under a different name.

  • 1865

Of course you did hear. In other languages there are separate tenses, f.ex. indicative, subjunctive or imperative; in Polish - they are properties of verb, which then is fitted into one grammatical tense.

For example - to want - "chcieć":

Present tense in indicative mood
person / gender male, neutral & female
ja chcę
ty chcesz
on/ono/ona chce
my chcemy
wy chcecie
oni/oni/one chcą
Present tense in imperative mood
person / gender male, neutral & female
ja (niech chcę) niech zechcę
ty chciej
on/ono/ona niech chce
my chciejmy
wy chciejcie
oni/oni/one niech chcą
Present tense in subjunctive mood
person / gender male neutral female
ja chciałbym chciałobym chciałabym
ty chciałbyś chciałobyś chciałabyś
on/ono/ona chciałby chciałoby chciałaby
my chcielibyśmy chcielibyśmy chciałybyśmy
wy chcielibyście chciałybyście chciałybyście
oni/oni/one chcieliby chciałyby chciałyby

For past and future tenses it gets even more complicated, because all genders get their proper endings, and can be expressed in complex or simple form.

  • 1865

Also, if you want to learn Polish (as I can see on your profile page), this can be helpful: http://mowicpopolsku.com/


Oh, thank you very much! :-)


To add to Br0d4: subjunctive mood absolutely exists in English, and is done by putting "would" in front of a verb...

"I would like that" vs "I like that", "I would not do that" vs "I do not do that", "I would read more" vs "I read more", etc.

Imperative mood is far more complex, but generally, it is used to issue commands or instructions with most verbs. Its other uses are things I can't pretend to understand, as I'm still very much learning myself.

"Sit!" vs "You are sitting".


How do people pronounce those words("_") (Asked from a learner's point of view)


Word like konstantynopolitańczykóweneczkę


Oh, the complicated ones. I'm not a great expert, but I think it's something like this. Kahn-stahn-tihn-oh-pahl-eet-ahn-chihk-oov-ehn-ehch-keh.

  • 1865

You may copy and paste it to the window on page https://www.ivona.com/pl/ and press Play - it will be quite accurate, only without any accent. To get some accent, you need to form a phrase, f.ex. "Znam pewną konstantynopolitańczykóweneczkę." (I know a girl living in Constantinople, one too young to get married. - and no, it does not any any inappropriate subtext)

Also, you do not have to use such a monster-word, in many cases you may just form a regular phrase using only some of the inflective parts with selected words.

  1. I've never heard about the affix for being unmarried. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, but it is probably so rare, that we should probably not bother people with it.

  2. The most commonly variant of the word, „konstantynopolitańczykowianeczka” (a little girl from Constantinople)… is incorrectly formed! The correct one is „konstantynopolitaneczka”. See: „konstantynopolitańczyk” -> „konstantynopolitanka” -> „konstantynopolitaneczka”.


In West Flemish you can conjugate yes and no and that (and if) :p

Joa (Yes) {@style=float:left;width:33%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #00BFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Nin (No) {@style=float:left;width:33%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal;font-weight: bold; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #00BFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Da (That) {@style=float:left;width:33%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #00BFFF; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Joak {@style=float:left;width:33%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Nink {@style=float:left;width:33%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Dak{@style=float:left;width:33%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Joag {@style=float:left;width:33%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Nêeg {@style=float:left;width:33%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Dag{@style=float:left;width:33%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Joaj/Joas/Joat {@style=float:left;width:33%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Nêen/Nêes/Nint {@style=float:left;width:33%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Datn/Daze/Dat' {@style=float:left;width:33%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Joam {@style=float:left;width:33%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Nêem {@style=float:left;width:33%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Damme {@style=float:left;width:33%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Joj {@style=float:left;width:33%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Neije {@style=float:left;width:33%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Daje {@style=float:left;width:33%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Joas {@style=float:left;width:33%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Nins {@style=float:left;width:33%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;} Daze {@style=float:left;width:33%; border:1px #1caff6; border-style:solid; padding:6px; font-style:normal; white-space:nowrap;text-overflow:clip;}

Unique, isn't it? ;)


As a Finnish speaker, I'm very familiar with conjugating "no" but not the others. Do you mean "that" as in the conjunction? That seems like an interesting feature.


Yup, the conjuction one :) (Yay, another reason to learn Finnish!)


Do you make duo-style charts like that in the Incubator??


Italian is almost entirely phonetic. The only case I can think of where the language is not exactly phonetic is with "gl", which is usually pronounced like Spain's Spanish "ll" but is pronounced like "g + l" in words from Greek like glucosio (glucose). A spelling bee would be completely pointless in Italian. There are some particular cases like "sc" changing the pronunciation according to the following vowel, but they regularly follow a pattern.

On the other hand, it is extremely challenging when it comes to verbs: a complex conjugation (even more than Latin), different prepositions in front of infinitives (forget "good-for-everything" prepositions like English "to" or german "zu"), quite a few irregularities.


I really like how Italian sounds! The double consonants are really... beautiful? Yeah. :P



-It's a Slavic language

-It's almost 100% phonetic

-It has cases

-It has no articles

-You can change the word order and the sentence still means the same thing


-It is not spoken in space :D

More seriously, though:

  • It has retained nasal vowels (I think it's the only Slavic language still to have them)
  • It is written in the Latin alphabet
  • It's a very "soft" language, palatalising more than other Slavic languages (at least that's my impression)
  • It turned the L-past from a simple participle (distinguishing only masc/fem and sg./pl.) into a fully-conjugated form with personal endings
  • Has at least two sounds that are represented by two spellings each, the choice being made for etymological reasons (u-ó; rz-ż)
  • It is the only language I know to distinguish between affricates and sequences of stop+fricative: czy and trzy are distinct words in Polish.

  • 1865
  • For the same sounds, it is also: h - ch; there is a very slight difference, but only few people distinguish it in pronunciation.

  • There also sounds, that are clearly distinguishable for native speakers of Polish, but few outlanders can hear the difference, and almost nobody is able to pronounce it correctly: ź - dź; c - dz ; ć - cz - dż, ś - sz... You may try to hear the difference, by putting these: " żać - szadź ; coś - dzoś ; ćąć - cząć - dżąć, śąść - sząść, miecz - mieć - miedź ; cześć - sześć " into the window on page https://www.ivona.com/pl/ and pressing "play". The pronunciation of Polish by Ivona is really very good (it is a piece of software made by the Polish programmers).


Also the difference between czy and trzy.


More than two sounds, but I don't remember what the other combinations were. :-)


The third one is h - ch.


Thanks! I knew there was something else.


In Russian well know example of distinguishing between affricates and two-sound-sequences is the folowing:

Отшумели - they stopped noising
Очумели - they went crazy

This two words are rather clearly distinguished by native speakers )))
However it must be noticed that the "ч" is always palatalized while "ш" is never. So may be it is not as good as czy and trzy in Polish ))


Frederik Herman Henri (Frits) Kortlandt (born June 19, 1946, Utrecht) is a professor of descriptive and comparative linguistics at Leiden University in the Netherlands. He writes on Baltic and Slavic languages, the Indo-European languages in general, and Proto-Indo-European, though he has also published studies of languages in other language families. He has also studied ways to associate language families into super-groups such as Indo-Uralic.

Which has covered the nasal qualities in various Slavic languages

  • 1865
  • It's almost 100% phonetic

Not really. If it were, "jabłko" would not be pronounced properly as [japko], "sześćset" as [sześset], "trąba" as [tromba], "zaczęli" as [zaczeli], "diabeł" as [djabeł], "wsuwać" as [fsuwać] or "marznie" as [marznie]. There are strict rules of pronunciation (and exceptions like "marznąć"), there are rules describing when a letter is changed by the neighbouring letters, but the language is not really 100% phonetic.

For rules, the interested may see f.ex. Fonetyka języka polskiego and next pages, or here: Język polski - wymowa - zasady - with links to vast list of words having changes in pronunciation compared to their orthography.


I think you mean this page -- the auto-linkifier snips off the end of your URL because underscores _ are also used for italics so it thinks that _wymowa_ is intended to be italicised.

  • 1865

Yes, thank you. Just in case, I'll correct the link. I still learn how the discussion board operates.


Actually,Polish IS phonetic. Every language has exceptions.


German has V2 word order, which is interesting and a bit unusual :)

The finite (conjugated) verb always goes in the second position of a main clause, meaning the subject can be either before or after the verb.

And in a subordinate clause, the finite verb goes right to the end.

German has lots of nearly untranslateable particles which "flavour" the sentence but don't really result in an exact translation. Adding "mal, halt, doch, fei, eben, aber, wohl" etc. properly is something for advanced learners :)


I love the German modal particles. When I was in Germany, I noticed that my host brother kept using "halt" which I hadn't heard as often before. I asked him when you use it, and he said "Man sagt es halt...es ist halt so."

I've never encountered "fei." When do you use it?


I don't :) It's a south German thing, and I'm aware of its existence but don't really know how it's used there.

Duden doesn't even list it, but Wiktionary does: https://de.wiktionary.org/wiki/fei


Fun fact: Danish has them too: bare, engang, dog, jo, nok... I wonder which other languages use similar words? I guess some English words, like "just" or "even" behave similarly.


Interesting. My host brother was from Nuremberg, but his family's Vietnamese, so he doesn't speak much Fränkisch. I guess I missed out on the full range of modals.


That's interesting! I never seem to understand verb placing though. It gets difficult. :P But practice... some day... when exams are over XD


Plus,there are difference between English structure and hindi structure. Verbs and auxiliary verbs always appear in the end of the sentence. For example, “आप कैसे हैं” [aap kaise hain] means ‘how are you?’ but if we translate the sentence word-by-word, it appears as ‘you how are?’; or मैं अच्छा हूँ [main achchha hoon] refers to ‘I am fine’, but in the order as ‘I fine am’. Hope that helps:D:D


Yup, the Subject-Object-Verb sentence structure. :)


Hmm I guess an interesting aspect of Greek is that the vowels ι, η and υ as well as the dipthongs ει, οι and υι are always pronounced the same way as /i/, the vowel ε and the diphthong αι are both pronounced as /e/ and ο and ω are both pronounced as /o/, which can make writing down words quite difficult if you don't know the right /i/, /e/ or /o/ to use. Of course in some cases there are rules, but in others there aren't and even native speakers make spelling mistakes oftentimes. So while it is a phonetic language, spelling down words can still be a challenge, especially for learners but as I said, for natives as well.


Oh... that doesn't happen with Hindi. But interesting, nice :)


The hardest thing for me learmning Hindi was the aspirated consonants. I loved the rationality of its alphabet though! Some day maybe I'll get back to it - I never got very good as I was mostly self-taught.

English is a language with many bafflements, having aggregated itself over the years from many sources. I think its homophones are hardest for new learners. Even native speakers mix up "they're/there/their" which is always painful for me to see, but surprisingly common. You often see "course" and "coarse" mixed up here on Duolingo. And here's one that just seems cruel - how many ways can you write /reɪz/???

Raise – to lift something up

Rays – sunbeams

Rase – to erase something

Raze – to knock something down

Rehs – sodium salt mixtures

Réis – plural of real (the currency of Portugal and Brazil)

Res – plural of re, as in the musical scale (doh re mi, for fans of The Sound of Music)


I've never heard of "rase" and sure enough, it's listed in my dictionary as archaic.

  • 1865

I suppose, that Polish is the only language, in which double "Yes" («Tak, tak») can mean "Not" in some cases (when the phrase is ironic). I suppose also that the word «No» - while it is actually neither "Yes" nor "Not", can mean both of them, depending on pronounciation.


Depending on pronounciation in English, "yeah, right" can mean exactly its opposite.


As an Australian, 'yeah nah' = no, and 'nah yeah' = yes, even though the former is used much more often. :'D


Dutch has that. Especially as a response or part of a response to indicate the answer to your question is 'no', or your thoughts are considered a bit off the rails and we think you haven't thought things through/are too optimistic/whatever the situation calls for in a response.

As stated by Dcarl1, "yeah, right" would be a good translation for that. Especially if tone is preserved.


My native language is English... I've heard that it's hard to learn so I guess I'm lucky??


Wait you've never heard anyone say that? Of course it's not really difficult as compared to other languages but as far as being phonetic is concerned... pfewh. XD


Irish (not my native unfortunately ),

is the only language along with Welsh to combine prepositional pronouns into one word.

e.g. liom = with me

dúinn = to/for us

This fact was given to me by Irish teacher so i can't 100% confirm it.


I'm pretty sure that (Scottish) Gaelic also has it, being close to Irish as it is.

I know for sure that Cornish has it, and so I would be surprised if Breton didn't as well.

So it's something that's common to the Celtic languages.

(Cornish translations of your examples: genev = with me; dhyn = to us; ragon = for us)


Hebrew has it, too. But you probably meant that Irish and Welsh are the only European languages to do it :)


Ah yes - "li, lekha, ..."!


Like in Urdu We say "Kya Hal Hai Tumharha" (Stands For How Are You) Actually it relates to Formal-you like "usted in Spanish or tu.


Log bolte hain hindi mein defaultly koi tum ya tu bolega, aur urdu mein aap ya tum. Jo bolna hain bolein kya antar hai dono mein XD


I usually say "kesi/kesay ho"


That's easier. Kaisi sthiti hai tumhari would sound weird.


We can also say "Tum" or "Tu" but Tu is like calling somebody really offensively xD.


India mein tu is common among friends. Isn't it the same with Pakistan also?


I see. Urdu is really formal. No?


Well. That's something different. Sorry if I got confused. :P My bad. :)


Well, that's nothing different. Any ways, its fine:)


One can't say that. Hindi is formal on its side. No language is more formal than others. Every language has its own degree. :)


You got me wrong, my friend:) I myself know that Hindi is a very formal language and I never said that Urdu is "more formal" or something like that. Did I? I just complimented the language. That's it. It was just my opinion on his comment, that "tu" is considered rude over there whereas here, it is not. That means, Urdu is a formal language(in my opinion). And please correct me in my above comments if I ever said that Hindi is less formal. I am an Indian and I respect my language. If complimenting another language means considering that language more superior or formal, whatever you say, than you native language, then I am sorry. My only point here was to respect the other language. Thankyou.


I'm a native English speaker, and an interesting thing I've heard is that every grammar rule in the language has at least one exception, with the exception(yes, even this rule has one) that a "u" always follows a "q." Though there still technically are exceptions to this as foreign country names like Iraq and Qatar are still spelled as such in English.


Not true though (as any Scrabble player worth their salt can tell you!). While the q-without-a-u words are mostly borrowings from foreign words, they can be written as such in English. Examples are:

qanat, qi, qadi, qat, faqirs, niqab, qigong, tranqs,


Yes, that it what I meant. I just shouldn't have mentioned foreign countries specifically. Thanks for making it more clear.


Qi! I've used that word so many times. :-)


You mean a 'q' is followed by a 'u'. Your comment says otherwise :P And the exceptions' numbers are large in English O_O


"u" follows "q" = "q" is followed by "u." They both mean the same thing.


No, actually they don't quite. There is a subtle difference of meaning. However, your point is understood.


Why not quite? Which version implies that the "u" comes first?


Neither implies that.

"U follows q" can be understood as meaning it follows q and only q, or that it must follow q. In fact u can precede q, it can follow p, it can do many other things.

Yes, we all know that is not at all what is meant but that phrase has ambiguity, whereas "q is followed by u" is completely limited in what it means.


Active participles and Gerunds are always formed with '-ing' ending )) I think this rule does not have exceptions ))


I would say in Malay, people would say that it is phonetic and it's true but one weird thing is the way vowel A being pronounced, sometimes it can sound like E when it being spoken but in songs we pronounce it like usual A, I think maybe this is a dialect thing. Malay also doesn't have genders, fun fact that I think everyone already knew Malay and Indonesian almost mutually intelligible. Some resources also say that Malay and Indonesian are two of the easiest asian languages to learn. I've also heard one website claim these two languages are like Spanish among asian languages because some people roll their R and similar words. Some Malay speakers do roll or tap their R a bit but most of the time we pronounce it like English R , however I'm not sure this is true Indonesian roll their R more I think.


Not really unique but: Bosnian: -Nearly, if not entirely phonetic -Officially uses both the Latin and Cyrillic alphabet -A slavic language -No articles -7 cases -You can rearrange the words in a sentence and it will be correct most of the time, e.g "Ja učim Francuski", could also be: "Učim Francuski ja" "Francuski ja učim" "Francuski učim ja" "Ja francuski učim" And so on.


Hmmm........... IMy Native Language is Urdu


Where are you from?:D


Pakistan? Hi fellow neighbour! I am from India:)


my native language is russian


Oh I tried learning Russian, and one of the first things I had to learn were the cases.. which made me give up... :P


They have to be drilled I guess. :)) But there are 3 declensions - types of nouns depending on the ending in nominative. Maybe it could be easier to learn at small amount of basic words for each declension and then learn the cases for one declension, then for another. Once you know the endings it will be much easier even if you occasionally forget some of them. You will have the general understanding and expectation of how it should be done. Maybe Duolingo format is not good for such drilling but it can be done outside the Duolingo, you don't need any special resource for it, just the table with endings and examples. :) That is the thing with Slavic languages, a lot of endings to be learned. :)


I tried... everything... but trying again would be better. :) Thank you!


Yeah, it is similar to Latin that way. I never expected that Latin would prepare me to one day learn Russian...


first try learn alphabet


I've done that already :)


second-try to learn some words and its meanings


Okay... thank you. I'll try. :)


I will call Hindi 99% phonetic. Does it matter if original pronunciation is as valid as other.


One unphonetic part of Hindi is whether a bare consonant is pronounced as (e.g.) "p" (just the consonant sound) or "pa/puh" (with a following short vowel).

I think that in general, you can find out whether it's pronounced or not by counting from the back or something like that, but it's still something that a non-native learner can't see at a glance.


Yeah, that is called schwa syncope. In Hindi it occurs at end of words which ends with an schwa or short 'a' voice. That is nature of North Indian languages. Second way it happens on second syllable of word. There are few more rule which describes behavior. But excluding those 'schwa syncope' all consonants and vowels are fully phonetic.


And that is special to Hindi O_O because what's interesting is that Sanskrit doesn't have it. Sanskrit puts a halant there, Hindi also did, I believe, earlier, until they stopped using it. Language really changes a lot.


hebrew have close write system as yiddish


Not exact same but close so I guess they have close roots...


the strange thing about Urdu is that it doesn't have words like 'the', 'a' and 'an'


Well... Urdu/Hindi does have 'a'/'an'. एक/ایک [ēk] is there. :)


eik means one not a or an but we do use it instead of a/an


That's exactly what I'm saying. Though it means one, it is used as an indefinite article.


Slavic languages (at least the ones I'm learning, Russian and Polish) don't have those either, and it messes me up all the time.

  • 1865

Why does it mess you up? If you need to use one, there are pronouns ( zaimki ) that may serve the function of definite articles. There are also other words, that may serve the function of definite or indefinite articles. Indefinite - to stress the new information (you may see https://www.duolingo.com/comment/10824913 ). You should only avoid to use to many of them: one indefinite and one definite per phrase is fine, two of them may be in some cases OK - more in most cases will lead to some misunderstanding.

  • indfinite: pewien/pewna (sing) / pewne (plural); jakiś/jakaś/jakieś

    W mieście żył pewien chłopiec ( A boy lived in the city). Czy masz jakąś książkę kucharską? (Do you have a cookbook?)

  • definite: ten/ta/to/te/tę/tą ; ów/owa/owe ; wymieniony/-a/-e ; (wyżej, wcześniej) wspomniany/-a/-e, przytoczony/-a/-e, wymieniony/-a/-e , rzeczony/-a/-e ; przedmiotowy/-a/-e (and others)

    Podasz mi tę książkę, o którą prosiłem? (Will you pass me the book I asked for?) Wyżej wspomniana sprawa nie leży w naszych kompetencjach (The above mentionned question does not fall within our competences)


It messes me up because I'm so used to using articles that I always want to use one. Dziękuję!


The only Slavic language I know of that has articles is Bulgarian, which has definite articles - stuck on the end as in Albanian or Swedish. (I can imagine that Macedonian might have this too, since it's fairly similar to Bulgarian.)


Thanks! So I'd better get used to it if I'm going to learn all the Slavic languages I want to. :-)


I've been told that Dutch is really close to Hawai'ian in sounds/phonetic pronounciation of letters. I've been looking for a course that teaches that for a while, but not yet found one very structured and complete that was also free or not time-boxed.

At some point, I'm going to have to take some time to learn that language. I'm not very good with the amount of sunlight, but I'd like to know it. :)


Hawaiian! That's interesting ;) the only thing I know about it is aloha. :P


Haha, I know a few words, but I don't get much further than 'hello', 'brother' and 'merry Christmas' at this moment, I'm afraid. :)


Hehe. Hawaiian has never been that popular, for the lack of a better way to say it, like Spanish or French, I observe.


Maybe that's for the best. But I really like the sounds, so I'm going to just keep looking. :3 For now, though, Russian keeps me well and truly occupied, so I'm down with that.


I'm learning Sanskrit right now! ^_^


Cool! I hope you enjoy it! :)

Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.