Community Tutor
The Ease of Searching the Internet in Various Languages

So I'd like to start a discussion about how certain languages seem, at least to me, to lend themselves better to online searches. Imagine that you are creating a database of example sentences for the language you are studying and you want to populate it with sentences which use a variety of different grammar patterns. For instance, for the English verb to buy, sentences using the grammar patterns buys, bought, have bought, want to buy, must buy, have to buy, etc. I think English is pretty straighforward for searching the web for sentences that contain these patterns, especially since if a pattern consists of more than one word, then they usually appear one after the other according to the rules of word order in the English language. A search for wants to buy, for instance, might return the following sentences on Google:


1. He wants to buy a new car.


2. My friend who wants to buy a new home is meeting with a realtor tomorrow.

3. Jakes wants to buy an iced tea too.


The Indonesian language seems pretty straightforward for this too. To find sentences expressing "wants to buy", for instance, one could enter ingin membeli or mau membeli into Google's search form. Doing so might return the following sentences:


4. Saya ingin membeli es the setela bekerja.

= I want to buy an iced tea after work.


5. Teman saya Jake juga mau membeli es the sebelum kami menonton film itu.

= My friend Jake wants to buy/get an iced tea too before we see the movie.

* Please correct me if I wrote that incorrectly.


Likewise, Spanish and most of the Romance languages seem pretty straightforward for this. For instance,


6. Quiero comprar un te helado.

= I want to buy an iced tea.


7. Mi amigo Jake quiere comprar un té helado también.

= My friend Jake wants to buy an iced tea too.


What about languages like German though? German word order, for instance, can separate parts of a pattern with additional grammatical forms like direct objects and the such. For instance,


8. Ich will ein Buch lesen.

= I want to read a book.


9. Du musst den Hund verkaufen.

= You have to sell the dog.


10. Ich will zum Starbucks in Hadley fahren, um einen Kaffee zu kaufen.

= I want to go to Starbucks in Hadley to buy/get a coffee.


In English, I can surround want to go in double quotes to get a sentence containing that exact phrase, but in German, I can't do that because the word order requires the main verb to go at the end of the clause, so entering will fahren into Google will return all kinds of junk. For instance, some sentence in a paragraph will contain the word will and then a sentence which appears later on in the same paragraph will contain fahren. This is not what I want though.

Jul 1, 2014 3:48 PM
Comments · 3

Hehehehe. I want to learn too many languages. :)

July 1, 2014

Sounds interesting analysis..Telle me Shawn what is the language you want to learn ?

July 1, 2014

I guess in the case of German, one might be able to use subclauses to find example sentences which match a grammar pattern accurately though. For instance, the sentence "I am not going to the party tonight, because I have to read a book for class." would force "kaufen muss" at the end of the subclause, I think. Does anyone else have a better way / hack for doing this though and what are your thoughts on searching in your own language or the languages you are learning?

July 1, 2014
Language Skills
Danish, Dutch, English, French, Gaelic (Irish), Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Other, Spanish
Learning Language
Danish, Dutch, English, French, Gaelic (Irish), Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Other, Spanish