I think about languages a lot. Sometimes I confuse Spanish with English or Dutch is just very complicated after all.

Take English, for example. It's a bare, stripped-down, simple language. You can address your grandparents, the priest, the doctor and the mayor and the teacher just the same as your friends. Very rude. In English, there are no polite forms of address. Everything is "you."In Spanish, there are. There you say "usted" to a gentleman. And "tú" to your friends. In fact, I never really learned to be polite in Spanish very well. In Soná where I love to visit, I have never spoken to the priest. And with my family and friends, even if they are older, I can just be rudely tutoyed.

Another word that bothers me is the English word "girlfriend." As a child, I thought this was a word you could use for your female friends. Spanish, unlike Dutch, is much clearer in this. There, for your girlfriend the word "novia" is used and for a friend the word "amiga". So in this the Dutch falls short because you use the same word ("vriendin") for two meanings. Depending on the context of the word, the correct meaning is determined.

So then you would think that of these three, Spanish is the perfect language. At first glance, it would seem so. But appearances can be deceiving. The Spanish language is much more perfect than the Germanic languages. The imperfection of the language is not a grammatical problem but a cultural problem. In this case, I am very feminist. The fact is that women are disadvantaged in the language. If there are three friends of yours waiting in the square, there are three "amigas" waiting. But if a friend ("amigo") of yours comes to stand with the women then it is four "amigos." Even if a hundred friends "amigas" have a man standing with them, then it becomes all male. Conversely if to three friends "amigos" comes a friend "amiga" then nothing changes at all. They are already men and women do not change that.

In the Bible, St. Paul's letters invariably begin with "Brothers and sisters,".In Spanish, I would expect "Hermanos y hermanas,". But no way. The women don't matter here either and so it becomes "Hermanos,"

So in conclusion, as far as I'm concerned, Spanish is still the best. There will just have to be a cultural shift that women are equal to men.

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