Tuesday, January 08, 2008

There Is No Logic In English

I am not an English major. Some of the rules and exceptions to the exception of the rules in spelling English words frustrate me to no end. I live and die with my spell checker. Especially bloging, I am typing this in Word and will transfer it over to blogger once I’ve re-read it two or three times.

My point... I just spent 10 minutes trying to spell permission. Logic says ‘permit’ plus ‘tion’ or ‘ion’ since there is a ‘t’ get you permition, right? WRONG!!! Try it. And none of the suggestions were even close. God damned fucked up language!!!

This reminded me of a collection I have made over the years. My youngest son and I started this when he was struggling with English and when to use which word. You’ve probably heard some of these, maybe not all of them.

Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn:

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) After a number of injections my jaw got number.

19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

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. 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?

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 a wise guy are opposites?

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, is not a race at all.

That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick"


Pink Icing said...

Aren't ya'll just pleased as punch that ya'll took our language???

Jan said...

dnr..this was such a great post!

I was just telling my husband the other day, how much trouble I had with the word, "snow" when I was learning to read. I would always prounounce it with a "now" sound, which is what it looked like to me.
I'm glad I finally figured it out, and as far as I remember, it is the only word that I ever had a problem with...thank goodness! :)

DNR said...

tanie - yeah, pleased as punch...

jan - Thanks!! Bet you were a ctute littel thing saying 's-now'! hahaha

Kat said...

ROFLOL! As an English major, I can fully appreciate this post! ROFLOL!