Posts Tagged ‘English’

Which Language is the Most Difficult (Easiest) to Learn?

This post is copied from my Facebook page, but I think I should move it here just in case if I need to review it again or if this might help any lost souls who stranded here, or just for archive. Enjoy. :)

So, I was once had an argument with my friend about the most difficult language on Earth someone can learn, and he said that Chinese / Mandarin is the hardest, partly because we have to know how to pronounce it in correct intonation or phonology, and they consist of thousands of pictograms or kanji, in which each “word” have specific stroke orders.

I have learn and be interested in many natural languages and constructed languages for so long, but started to take this seriously just recently, about one year ago when I started to learn Japanese. I even can’t decide which one is the hardest language for me. Some languages take time to be learn because they’re a bit more complicated, but it doesn’t mean the language is difficult. It looks difficult because some people just looking at specific language but not trying to understand and learn other languages, usually they compare it just with their native language or L2 (secondary language) like English. If you say Chinese is hard, try learn Japanese or European language like German or Spanish for a while.

If I have to give my honest opinion, the most difficult language if you’re an Indonesian should be Bahasa Indonesia. We have used it daily for whole of your lifetime, but some of us may still have difficulty to manage which words we need to be used when writing a formal email to our boss or client, or when you have to write a scientific paper or formal reports or letters. Even some of us perhaps don’t know when to use “di” as a preposition or as a prefix, like “di rumah” and “dirumahkan”, comparable with some native English speaker who have difficulty to use “you’re” and “your”, Or something like when to use space in “tanggung jawab” and ignore them in “pertanggungjawaban”. Why? Simply because it’s not in our interest to learn and use native language properly.

How many of us got more than 90 out of 100 when we took an exam in our high school? I myself as far as I remember got only 80-ish in my final standardized test (or 90, perhaps? Not sure, clouded memory). Perhaps nowadays children tend to have higher score in English and Mandarin than in Bahasa Indonesia. If this happens, can we take a conclusion that Bahasa Indonesia is harder than Mandarin and English, or vice versa? If Mandarin is the most difficult, it should have lower number of users since lower number of people will be able to acquire it, but in fact it’s one of the most used language in the world, and it keeps growing nowadays. On the other side, Esperanto which is deemed as the most easiest language have only 2 million users worldwide.

In the end, it’s just a matter of interest, right? For now I have learned L2 language like Esperanto for about 100 hours, German for 20 hours, Spanish for 20 hours, Japanese since about 1 year ago (not noting my learning hours because I learn it a bit randomly), English for roughly 15 years since I was in middle school. and some minor languages As I have read in some polyglots’ blog, acquiring new language is easier if you have already known some L2 languages, but honestly Japanese is the most challenging so far. Not the most difficult, but the most challenging, SO FAR. Anyway, here is the list of challenges I found in each language I have learned:

Japanese: it has a different structure compared to Bahasa Indonesia other language I’ve learn which is subject – object – verbs sequence. Have different writing system (katakana, hiragana, kanji) and multiple forms of word according to formality and time, and multiple reading for each Kanji character (kunyomi and onyomi) . But something make it easier because it pronounce consistently with it’s writing in kana.

Esperanto: almost no difficulty in this language, just a bit problem with the vocabulary, a bit different alphabets, and some prefixes. Mainly it’s a bit weird to speak in a constructed language that is so consistent in structure and grammar. If you have a basic in European language, this will boost your speed in learning Esperanto. Also Esperanto is from the word “esperi” which means to hope, which added with suffix -ant which basically means “someone who did the <verb>”, so it means “the one of hope” perhaps?

Spanish: Language with gender, like France and German. So, the cat can be “la data” (feminine) or “el gate” (masculine), and a sofa is masculine, no, seriously. Every verb has it’s own form depends on the subject, e.g, I eat: = yo como; she eats = ella come; we eat: nosotros (masculine) / nosotras (feminine) comemos; you eat = usted come (formal) / tu comes (informal); you (plural) eat = ustedes comes. LOL… And also “j” pronounced as “h”, so rojo (red) will be read as “roho”, just need to get used to this unique pronunciation. Also there is many more mysteries in it that I need to know since I’m a beginner.

German: Almost same with Spanish, a gender language, so a cat is feminine “eine Katze”, and a dog is masculine “ein Hund”. So what if they it’s a female dog or male cat? Screw you, because the grammatical gender is not a biological gender, so deal with it. Oh, did I said there are also gender neutral nouns? HAHA… Also verb-form depends on the subject (I drink = Ich trinke, you drink = Du/Sie trinkst, he/she drinks = Er/Sie trinkt, they drink = Sie trinken; and yeah, Sie can be used as she, you in formal, or they), and inconsistent pronunciation like English (perhaps since English is actually rooted from Germanic). Also am a beginner so I need to learn more before I can write down more challenges in this list but I think this should have make you think twice before learning this German, yes? No? Good, try it then, don’t let me discourage you.

Mandarin: Nah, this one is as challenging as Japanese, but should be easier since the structure is consistent and you only need to learn the Kanji, just have to learn the intonation or phonology of word when speaking and listening. See? Now I say it’s easy right? At least Hakka is my mother’s language so I have spoke it naturally as my L1 when I was a child, though I’m not used it as much when I was grown up, so intonation should not be a problem to learn.

Arabic: actually I learned it in high-school but not really into it that time. But why did I learn this in HS? Because it’s part of “curriculum” from my Bahasa Indonesia teacher who said we have to learn Malay-Arabic (Arab Melayu). Mainly the difficulty is the right-to-left system so far, but I will take time to learn this more in the future.

Elvish (Sindarin + Tengwar script): Yeah, this is from LOTR… Learned the writing system but have forgotten about it. This is a low priority language since it’s for fun. grin emoticon

Basically, every language is easy or hard depends on your interest in learning the language, but no language is the most difficult language in the world. Arguing about this matter is the same as to say which is the most delicious food in the world, you will not know until you taste it all, which practically impossible to do (considering for one language usually there are different accents, like food which use different spices). So if you’re really interested in a language. go learn for it. Even if the language you are interested in is used by minority of people, or specific group of people, don’t afraid to learn it because you have nothing to lose when it comes to acquire a new usable language. Take the course online, or from the language learning center in your place.

This entry was last modified on: September 7th, 2017 at 1:29

Non-WWW Domain Cookie Problems

If you come to this blog (etersoul.com), you may realize that the domain name appears without www preceding the etersoul.com on your address bar or location bar of your browser. Even if you try to type www.etersoul.com, it will redirect your browser to “etersoul.com”. Well, I did this intentionally some years ago when I first use this domain name and installing blog engine for this site. The reason was that I once visited a site called no-www.org, which is encourage people who own internet domain name to remove it’s “www” because “www” is considered as deprecated and so it must not be used.

If you visit that website, you’ll find the reason why they — the people behind no-www.org, appear to conclude that using “www” is deprecated:

By default, all popular Web browsers assume the HTTP protocol. In doing so, the software prepends the ‘http://’ onto the requested URL and automatically connect to the HTTP server on port 80. Why then do many servers require their websites to communicate through the www subdomain? Mail servers do not require you to send emails to recipient@mail.domain.com. Likewise, web servers should allow access to their pages though the main domain unless a particular subdomain is required.

Succinctly, use of the www subdomain is redundant and time consuming to communicate. The internet, media, and society are all better off without it.

I was agree with this statement so I implemented redirection when someone who visits my site by using “www” to non-www one. My site now classified as Class B at no-www.org with that scenario. Even I implemented this scheme to some of my projects. In fact, using this schema is not without negative effects.

Some months ago, I made some experiments that used my domain name and web browser cookie, which is data that are stored by the website on user’s browser. I found that using my domain that was not preceded by www might cause the cookie that was created for domain .etersoul.com to be sent to the server when the visitor also opens all my sub-domain sites. Well, it is by design that the cookie data from the domain can also be accessed by the sub-domain, unless you also describing the path of cookie. However it may cause other problems to appear rather than solutions.

Consider you use an application that is located at “/application1/” path with “example.com” domain, and the cookie is implementing this path (of course with the domain), it will still send the cookie data when sometime you must also place some application with the same path name, but under sub-domain (for example, “subdomain.example.com/application1/”). Another case, you may need that cookie to be accessed by other application in same domain, but you don’t want to place it under “application1” path. Actually, it just a matter of how the developer handles the cookie data so it will just ignore it when the data is not relevant for the application, but of course it create extra coding effort.

Some people may wondering, “why must I being bothered if the cookies are sent to the domain as well sub-domain?”. Well, the answer is depend on your website, i.e. how many user accessing your website, how many different applications that are hosted on your domain and sub-domains, and is your primary “no-www domain” total users larger than the sum of users of your sub-domains. If you just running a small website or personal website, with irregular visitors come and go (and perhaps some spiders, crawlers or spam bots) like this website, without sub-domain or just one or two rarely visited sub-domains, you could just ignore the problems. However if you really want to run a combination of serious website with tons of users, thousands hits per minute, many spam bots and crawlers that try to drain out your limited server power and limited network bandwidth, many sub-domains with some sub-sub-domains, with probably uncountable files that don’t “eat” your cookies, and your site always stops responding on busy time (and you know the problems in fact is your own website if you host your site on shared hosting), you will find out that cookie optimization is one of several methods to effectively cut these problems.

Here is the math for you. For example, you have 10 cookies with 20 bytes data each that are “baked” for your main domain, say that “.mydomain.com”, so you have to send the total of 200 bytes each time you need to request another file. On a page of your web application, a user must fetch 6 Javascript files, 4 CSS files, 29 images (some of them even just icons under 1 Kilobyte), so the user’s web browser need to send 40 different requests. But remember, each time the browser send a request, it also needs to send the data of cookies that are designated to that domain and the sub-domains, so that the total of data for sending the cookies alone is: 200 bytes x 40 request = 8 KB. A small number for 1 user with 1 page request. Multiply it with 1000 users that request averagely 5 pages each minute, the server and network have to handle about: 8 KB x 1000 users x 5 request = 40 Megabytes per minutes, just for the cookie data, assuming that the static files are also not optimized to be cached by the user’s browser. Huge waste of resource, of course.

That’s why even big websites like Google or Facebook don’t use no-www scheme so they can independently assign the cookies for the main site with “www”, the cookies for other sub-domains other than “www”, and the cookies that are globally accessible from the whole site. Another work around for this cookie problem is to use another domain to serve static contents that don’t need use any cookies at all, like Facebook that use fbcdn.net to serve all user uploaded images and static file. Of course using the CDN (Content Delivery Network), they also optimize many other things, such as compression, caching, etc.

Oh, another suggestion. If you really want to make a site, try to make a site that is accessible both by using www and no-www, however redirect the unused one to the scheme that you consider better to be implemented. For this site, I redirect www to no-www domain. This is for the sake of search engine optimization, and for some, as bandwidth conservation since every request from www to non-www is considered as different by the web browser and the web browser will never use the cache if you try to request the same static file from those two different scheme.

How about this site? I don’t think I really need to change my website to www one. I am comfort with the condition without www, but of course will consider the using of www on my other projects.

By the way, this is the first technical post that I write in English, so I apologize if there are some mistakes in grammar or structures. Google Translate? Nope, I didn’t use that kind of thing when writing this article since there will be many weirder word that Google Translate will produce. I just try to use my own sentences, and of course my own writing style. :) However if you are Indonesian and don’t understand this article, you could try to use Google Translate to help you. One more thing, please tell me if you found mistake on my post. Thanks. :)