As English became widely accepted official language of the nations all across the world, the inefficiencies of this “global” language came to the fore. The more it adapted and relaxed the rules of the usage and the semantics, it risked losing the chance to become native for any community. “Just as fish presumably don’t know they’re wet, many English speakers don’t know that the way their language works is just one of endless ways it could have come out”. That’s how this wonderful essay at The Atlantic begins as it contrasts English’s efficiency, or the lack thereof, against a few native languages.
Languages are strikingly different in the level of detail they require a speaker to provide in order to put a sentence together. In English, for example, here’s a simple sentence that comes to my mind for rather specific reasons related to having small children: “The father said ‘Come here!’” This statement specifies that there is a father, that he conducted the action of speaking in the past, and that he indicated the child should approach him at the location “here.” What else would a language need to do? Well, for a German speaker, more. In “Der Vater sagte ‘Komm her!’”, although it just seems like a variation on the English sentence, more is happening.