About Me

United Kingdom
Presenting some of LIFE's ODDITIES and plenty of RANDOM JOTTINGS


Monday, 31 January 2011

Strangeness in the English Language

                   Why English is such an Obtuse language

        Let's face it-English is a crazy language.

        There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
        neither apple nor pine in pineapple.

        English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries
        in France.

        Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet,
        are meat.

        We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes,
        we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square
        and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

        And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers
        don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is
        teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese.
        So one moose, 2 meese? One index 2 indices?

        Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend,
        that you comb through annals of history but not a single annal? If
        you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of
        them, what do you call it?

        If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian
        eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? If you wrote a
        letter, perhaps you bote your tongue?

        Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to
        an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people
        recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send
        cargo by ship?  Have noses that run and feet that smell? Park on
        driveways and drive on parkways?

        How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise
        man and a wise guy are opposites? How can overlook and oversee be
        opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike?

        How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?

        Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they
        are absent? Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful
        gown? Met a sung hero or experienced requited love? Have you ever
        run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled, ruly or peccable?
        And where are all those people who ARE spring chickens or who would
        ACTUALLY hurt a fly?

        You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which
        your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form
        by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off by going on.

        English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the
        creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn't a race at all).

        That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the
        lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch,
        I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it.


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