Odds and Ends
Icelandic place names may sound exotic, but they're usu
11 1, 12:44am
As far as reading goes, Japanese is the worst for me, with its three interlocking writing systems, plus romaji (romanization) to make things "easier" for us. The language itself is fairly logical, though its structure takes some getting used to, and the levels of politeness can be very confusing. Among the languages that I halfway understand, I have a great deal of difficulty understanding Danish and French when spoken, though I can read and write both of those fairly well. Dutch is interesting in that it very often sounds something like English (it's closely related) and it's not unusual to feel like you ought to understand what's being said, but don't.
English is very difficult to handle in a fluent, idiomatic way, because of its irregularities, odd pronunciations, and enormous vocabulary. But on the other hand, it can be spoken very badly and still be mostly understood. So long as the context is clear, and the words are in the right order, with a little listening practice we can understand all but the thickest accents. (Ask me how I know!