German, English and Word Quirks

Interesting post on quirks of English vs. German vocabulary. No comment section: one additional cause for English’s greater “mongrelization”, not pointed out in the article, is there being no authoritative PREscriptive standard for English — unlike the Académie de la Langue Française, the Rat für Deutsche Rechtschreibung, or (closer to my adoptive home) the Academy for the Hebrew Language. The de facto standards for English (Oxford, Merriam-Webster, Fowler’s Modern English Usage) are primarily DEscriptive: they mostly present how English is actually spoken and written rather than how it should be.

Cat Rotator's Quarterly

It’s funny. You can be familiar with something for years before you realize some of the major differences between it and what you are used to, and the hints that gives about the thought below and behind the thing. It wasn’t until I immersed myself in  architecture and art history German this spring that I realized that English eats words whole, while Germans translate them. I’d seen it before, but not to such an extent that it hit me like a two-by-four between the eyes. Kinda like fish not realizing they are wet.

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