Monday, September 12, 2011

WTHIUWT Part 2 - English

In Part 2 of my continuing series called "What the Heck is Up with That", we delve into another of lifes little mud pies, English.

English is a West Germanic language that originated from the Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Britain by Germanic invaders from various parts of what is now northwest Germany and the Netherlands.  In other words, English is a mutt language consisting of the waste of Latin and German, mingled with any other language that had a word that English did not.

Much like the childhood game of telephone, certain English rules were passed down through several stages after which nobody remembers why it's done that way, just that it is.  For example, 'i' before 'e' except after 'c' makes perfect sense.  Piece of cake, right?  Oh, crap!!!!  What about 'neighbor' and 'weigh'?  Suppose you use a rule of thumb to mind your p's and q's?  Lost?

Even better are terms that sound alike but are spelled differently (heterographs)?  Read, Reid, Reed, or weigh and way.  How about homographs?  Read, and read (red)?

How about large words that describe something small?  I'm looking at you 'abreviation'.

Or onomatopoeia (words that sound like their sounds... er something like that)?  Buzz, moo, galumph?  Also, why does spelling matter with words like these?  What if to me a cow goes mumumumoooo?  Why can't I spell it they way it sounds to me?

This brings me to another point.  Why can't I just spell something phonetically?  Phonetically is an oxymoron, but oxymoron isn't oxy nor moronic, but it is spelled phonetically.

There are also silent letters in the English language.  Read should be re-ad or to add again, but it's not.  If I want to silence a given letter, like in the word 'shifty', I get in trouble, but no one bats an eye at page or slime.

English is the language of choice in the world today, so learn it.  Just don't be surprised if someone looks at you funny when you re-ad a book.

1 comment:

  1. Watchu talkin' 'bout, Pogey?