Fantastic Features We Don't Have In The English Language

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  • Published on: 31 May 2013
  • http://tomscott.com - @tomscott - There are lots of interesting features in other languages, some of which English would really benefit from having. I'm going to talk about four of them: time-independence, clusivity, absolute direction, and evidentiality.

    Also, I've learned from last week: no irritating piano music this time!

    UNESCO list of endangered languages: http://www.unesco.org/culture/languages-atlas/
  • Runtime : 4:
  • tom scott tomscott linguistics conjugation time-independence clusivity absolute direction guugu yimithirr evidentiality endangered languages language

COMMENTS: 40

  • Cypher791
    Cypher791   1 hours ago

    Languages divide... which is fine because there’s more than enough English speakers to talk to anyway... 👍

  • shereen sultani
    shereen sultani   17 hours ago

    in my mother tongue (farsi). we have different words for maternal and paternal relatives.paternal:kaakaa= uncleamai= auntmaternal:maamaa= unclekhalaa= auntthis helps because i have an aunt on both sides of my family named karima. i can’t really explain how the language works for cousins because there is kind of a hierarchy for male cousins that are older than you that you call uncle. i usually have to ask my parents what to call my older cousins because you want to keep the formality.

  • Cat
    Cat   17 hours ago

    A symbol that expresses bewilderment"?!" Is not very pleasing visually

  • 寂筑羽
    寂筑羽   1 days ago

    I would like to have more different sounds, and more sounds is presented shorter, so it’s more efficient over all.

  • Adam Alkhatib
    Adam Alkhatib   2 days ago

    In Arabic we have a feature that I can't help but miss when speaking English or German. The same way there is Grammar for Singluar and Plural in English, we have Grammar for Singular, Plural AND Pairs. Basically, you have times that apply for when you're talking about a thing with the number of one (Singular), multiple things that are 3 or more, and finally "Pairs" for anything that is exactly 2. This gives a certain flavour for Pairs that I don't feel when talking in English

  • Summer Grace
    Summer Grace   2 days ago

    Something I think English needs is a consistent way to say "twice a week/month/year" and a (separate) way to say "once every two weeks/months/years" because what's the point of saying biweekly (/bimonthly/biannually) if you always have to explain if you mean twice per or every two

  • littlenicky666
    littlenicky666   2 days ago

    The english language needs a punctuation mark for sarcasm!! You can type a sentence and cause WW3 if someone doesnt know you're being sarcastic Haha.

  • MR ONO
    MR ONO   2 days ago

    So what is the difference between We <—AndUs <— Then??

  • madison king
    madison king   2 days ago

    i feel like english has clusivity in tone

  • Cassan Q
    Cassan Q   2 days ago

    That and this, those and these, them and ???I don’t like those shoesI don’t like themI don’t like these shoesI don’t like... them? I think there should be separate worlds but are they even the same kinda thing?

  • GlitterKiss111
    GlitterKiss111   2 days ago

    ClucivityTom: "It shows up in languages all over the world... apart from Europe"BSL users and learners: Erm... We (exclusive) have it.

  • ToEs aRe h0T
    ToEs aRe h0T   3 days ago

    this may be a thing for multiple languages, but how come we don’t have a punctuation for and exclamation point and a question mark used at the same time? (for example, “Are you okay!?”) The !? looks so immature and inappropriate.

  • xscallcos boss
    xscallcos boss   3 days ago

    All languages should have the same spelling as slovenianPros:Every letter in this language has its own sound except e,o and some more witch have wide and narrow variantsCons: There is no xqwy and there are other letters like čšž

  • Taekwondo Time
    Taekwondo Time   3 days ago

    "We" could always add a new word to the English language to differentiate "we" from "we". Although given that people don't know "ask" from "axe" or "your" from "you're", I think we've reached the limits of what humans are capable of remembering and using from a language perspective. :)

  • Rubber Ducky
    Rubber Ducky   3 days ago

    dang, languages are wierd. The consept of coming up with nouns, verbs, and adjectives are quite easy, but it's crazy how our minds have put together such complex systems of how these words specifically relate to each other.

  • Mary Callen
    Mary Callen   4 days ago

    Or what about features that SHOULDN’T exist in any language:Gendered nouns.

  • frayzure
    frayzure   4 days ago

    I though this would be interesting....but ....(there is no word in the English language to describe the level of how lackluster this video is)

  • Lizzie Jones
    Lizzie Jones   4 days ago

    In Filipino, “kami” is an exclusive we and “tayo” is an inclusive. I’ve never even thought about how english never had it despite having it as a second language.

  • Woop
    Woop   4 days ago

    ¿Can we use these?

  • Bick Barl
    Bick Barl   4 days ago

    1. We do, we have the word “to dance”2. True3.We do: North, South, East, and West, those languages fail to account for relative direction4.Also something we have, we just use more words, inefficient, but existent.

  • gaberdine 1424
    gaberdine 1424   4 days ago

    How do the languages with out left or right do the hokypoky

  • luis enrique vargas azcona

    Dedicated words for inclusive or and exclusive or. Consistent rules of pronunciation.Different pronouns for singular and plural second person.

  • Abdullah M.
    Abdullah M.   5 days ago

    The fact that verbs need time doesn’t suck. It makes it so that we can express more things in less words, which is good for me since I’m lazy.

  • Michael Hutson
    Michael Hutson   5 days ago

    We need words that better describe rotation, especially if we're going to spend much time to come in outer space. For example you can "turn" a book so it's cover still faces you but is upside-down (axis of rotation is oriented toward/away from you). Or you can "flip" a book so that you're looking at the back cover with the text or author's picture right-side up (axis of rotation is oriented up/down). Or you can flip it the other way so that the back cover's text or picture is upside-down (axis of rotation is oriented left/right). There should be a concise and brief terminology for exactly how an object is to be flipped, and what it's current orientation relative to you is. Maybe borrowed from how game developers use quaternions to model rotation?

  • Mike Clancy
    Mike Clancy   5 days ago

    Phrasal verbs. Why the Anglo-saxons conquered the world.

  • Years of Internet safety lessons

    Something to distinguish between something that didn’t happen and did: for instance “and then the horses turned into corpse monsters” is weird if it’s not referring to fiction or a dream

  • Microwave Hate Machine

    We are already adding new language features. Just check out the social justice movement people.

  • Totally not Zokix11_MC

    Oddly enough, a lot of native English speakers complain about how hard English is but English is my second language and it's the easiest language I've ever learned. It's not complicated.

  • Nuke Star
    Nuke Star   6 days ago

    I just wanna say "the day before yesterday" in a word like a bunch of languages have. I know we have "overmorrow" for the day after tomorrow but even that has red lines on it at the moment xD