Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Think of Gallagher reading this. Now he was one funny comedian.

A Wild And Crazy Language...

English is the most widely used language in the history of our planet. One in every 7 humans can speak it. More than half of the world's books and 3 quarters of international mail is in English. Of all the languages,it has the largest vocabulary - perhaps as many as 2 MILLION words. Nonetheless, 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 thru 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 preacher 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?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and 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 clock 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.

15 comments:

Merle said...

Dear Patty ~~ Great post about the English language. It sure has its funny side.
Thanks for your comments about my grandson and his girl. It was lovely to see them and lifted my spirits. I am so sorry your friend lost his home, but glad he is OK and hopefully the cat got out. It has been 30C which is 86 F. Your 30F is about zero C, Hope it soon warms up for you.
Take good care, my friend, and sleep well.
Love, Merle.

Twisted Fencepost said...

Interesting post, Patty. Makes you think about people trying to learn the language. I've heard it is the hardest to learn. I wouldn't know, I only speak English.

jinksy said...

Well, now - as a totally discombobulated Brit, I applaud your recognition of the back to front genius of the English language. Where would the world be without it, said she, currently wiping tears of laughter off her cheeks (face, not bottom, in case you were about to ask!)

अविनाश said...

Right english wasnt invented by computers.....

intresting thoughts

long time no see, busy? wassup?
hope all well on ur side

Reader Wil said...

It's a coincidence that I also wrote something about the English language used by foreign speakers. It is sometimes very funny. Thank you for your humorous post.

Denise said...

Great post Patty, it made me laugh.

Abe Lincoln said...

This is really interesting. I have seen similar words in the past and it does not make English easier.

Tomate Farcie said...

"Have noses that run and feet that smell?"
That one really cracked me up, but I quickly pulled myself together.

;)

Wanda said...

What a fun post to read and then re-read!!

I'm amazed just how clever some people are !!

Shionge said...

Very interesting and it certainly 'stimulates' my brain juice so to speak hehhehe...

Thanks for visiting my blog and also the funny 'backside' photo too :D

Femin Susan said...

hey very cool description about English language.
i enjoyed reading it...very thoughtfully written...
cheers!

Renie Burghardt said...

That was really very interesting, Patty. Learning to speak English was not hard for me, but learning to spell, was very hard.

Have a good night.

Renie

raccoonlover1963 said...

Hi Patty.
I agree. The English language is a little screwy! But, I think I';; stick with it instead of trying to learn another language.
Have a great week.
Lisa

Raymonty said...

I like to invent words said the poor speller. - Me!

Raymonty said...

Happy 'Good Wensday'!