- Books, Literature, and Writing
English... How Funny!
Oh Our Mother Tongue!
I have a few questions... Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by a situation that just seemed too huge to dissect? Or has something ever happened to you that was so far below mundane you were totally underwhelmed? If either scenario has happened in your world... then why have you never been simply somewhere in the middle and just whelmed?
English has a very deceptive complexity! And it's never exactly as it may seem...
I mean, what is a "fell swoop"? And why can't it be said as "fallen swoop"? I don't know!
And what about the "v" and "f" in some of our crazy words? Why are there knives when we have more than one, but if we have less than two it is a knief? (Hey! What's up with the "k" in the first place?) And the same with halves and half. Or calves and calf.
And how is anyone who doesn't have English as a first language suppose to understand the multiple meanings of the simple word fine? Is it something to pay after recieving a traffic ticket. Well... yes. Is it a certain quality of something, like say china? Yes again. Or could it be the texture of a baby's hair. Absolutely! It's also the way I'm feeling today!
Have you ever been so behind at work that your backlog seemed too large to get past? If so, did you work your rear end off to get ahead, and then find yourself forlogged? Why not?
And why must we constantly repeat ourselves? Like when we say "beck and call", or "peace and quiet", or "rack and ruin", or "for all intents and purposes"?
Well how do you mean that? Do you want to "sound off" about it. Maybe so, if you have a "sound mind". Or do you want to "sound it out" first. And did you think about it while you wiggled your toes in the water at the "sound"? If so, was it while you also heard the "sound" of children playing near by?
And why do we have words that have two meanings that are the exact oppisite? Cleave can mean to cut something in half. Or it can mean to stick together. Why?
Why are blunt scissors dull, while a blunt remark is sharp?
Why is the word ending "gry" only found in two common English words? (Angry, and hungry). I mean we have a million words ending in "ing", "es", "ed", and "ly". Was "gry" just not good enough?
And what about phonics?
Pronounce these words, then explain phonics to me:
low - how
ache - mustache
five - give
paid - said
And this is only a few confusing "spelled the same, said differently" sounds we use all the time!
Still... we effortlessly manage to speak, and write to each other, and even comprehend!
Why is an item of clothing worn in cold weather to keep a person warm, called either a greatcoat, a topcoat, an overcoat, or just a coat, according to where the speaker grew up?
Don't ask me!
Then there are the illusive verbs and nouns...
If I say to you, "I am laughing hysterically" laughing is a verb. But if I say, "My laughing was hysterical", laughing is a noun. How does it do that?
And if you only use the word "chunck" as a verb, are you really a redneck?
Why is it okay to ask, "I'm doing it, aren't I"? But not okay to ask, "I'm doing it, are I not"? I mean... it's only a shorter way to say it, is it not? Or isn't it?
Oh well... I love my native tongue, with all it's root words, compound words, contractions, weird spellings, and what seems contridictions.
Know what I'm talking about?