An interview with American linguistics Richard Sears

mars 13th, 2015

By Rachid Filali

First of all ..
I’ve read about your life … It’s really a wonderful story, and can be transformed into a successful film professor Richard Sears .. Why all this great sacrifice, it was a high price (lost your wife) in order to become a specialist in Chinese language ..

-Professor ,lot of people believe that the Oriental languages is much harder than the European languages such as English, French and German, is not this the wrong idea, because the Chinese language, for example, is easier than English .. What do you think?

For a baby speaking all languages is in theory about the same difficulty. But reading and writing Chinese requires learning about 5000 characters and about 60,000 character combinations. Chinese is harder to read and write than other languages.

-You say that the Japanese language, different from the Chinese, and Japanese language resembles more the Turkish language ..
Can you clarify that for us?

The structure of Japanese grammar is quite different from Chinese. Many people think it more resembles Turkish than Chinese. But they borrowed Chinese characters and many Chinese vocabulary, so they use a lot of Chinese characters. But they still need two alphabets to write the words that are not derived from Chinese.

-Is the Chinese language has borrowed words from other languages, and what are these languages?

Chinese have borrowed words from other languages.

-Professor Richard Sears  , why do you think the Chinese did not invent the alphabet easy to write like most languages, and why they prefer this difficult and complex symbols?

Chinese have a larger reverence for their elders and especially the “Ancestors”. In fact some people say they have ancestor worship. I suspect it is this strong reverence for the ancestors that has kept the written language alive for so long.

-Professor Is it true that there is a language suitable only for science, and language suitable only for Literature?

No. You can write literature or talk science in any language. As long as the other person understands the language and appreciates what you are trying to say.

-What is the secret of this great love especially the Chinese language, without other languages, Why did not you learn the Arabic language, for example?

One day I wanted to learn a foreign language and I wanted to choose the most different language from English. Since Chinese was not alphabetic, I chose Chinese because it seamed the most difficult. Also it is the largest language in the world.

-Professor, is it true that the Chinese language will become the first international language after a few years, especially after the great progress made by China in terms of economic growth?

I don’t think so. English is the only language that is commonly spoken all over the world. I don’t think that will change. Try to speak Chinese in Brazil, or Arabic in China. English is the only common language.


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