Peculiarities of the english
language I have always been aware of many peculiar aspects of the english
language, and have often wondered what someone who is trying to learn english
must think. There are words that are spelled alike but pronounced differently (read & read). There are words that sound the same but are spelled differently (no & know). When I saw number 22 in the Research Article options, I knew this was what I wanted to write about. In doing research for option 22, I came across an article “english
is a Crazy Language.” written by Richard Leaderer (n/d). This is a humorous account of the craziness of our language. Much of this paper was inspired by this article.
Speakers of other languages must find it confusing to learn that there is no butter in buttermilk, no egg in eggplant, no pine or apple in pineapple, nor ham in hamburger. Blackberries are green first, and then red, then black when they are ripe. Blueberries are green before they are blue, but what are strawberries, cranberries, elderberries, huckleberries, raspberries, and gooseberries supposed to look like? Sweetmeat is made from fruit, while sweetbread, which isn’t sweet, is made from meat. To add to the madness, we drive on parkways, and park in drive ways. Boxing rings are square. You fill in a form by filling it out. Guinea pigs are not from Guinea, and they are not pigs. A wise man and a wise guy are opposites. A slim chance and a fat chance are the same thing. Noses can run, and feet can smell.
In this crazy english
language, the blackbird hen is brown, greyhounds aren’t’ always gray, a woodchuck is a groundhog, which is not a hog. A horned toad is a lizard; glowworms are fireflies, but fireflies are not flies, they’re beetles. (Leaderer n/d)
There is a word in the english
language that has only two letters, but that two letter word is huge when you look at all the different meanings it can have. That word is “ UP. “ It’s easy to understand “ UP” when someone is referring to the sky, or climbing to the top of something, but it’s not so easy to understand that just before we get UP in the morning, we wake UP. In class we must speak UP in order to bring UP a subject. Then it’s UP to the teacher to give UP class time unless she can think UP an excuse not to.
We call UP our friends and ask them to come UP to dinner. We clean UP the apartment, shine UP the floors, and hope they have worked UP an appetite. We mess UP the kitchen while cooking UP a meal, and when we clean it UP, we use paper towels to soak UP the spills. If all the food isn’t eaten, the next day we heat UP the leftovers.
If it looks like it’s going to rain, we say it’s clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it’s clearing UP. If things get wet when it rains, they may wind UP getting all rusted UP. If it doesn’t rain for awhile, everything dries UP. In the winter, if things are not put UP they might freeze UP. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP. To learn more about UP, look it UP in the dictionary. You will find UPwards of thirty definitions, and it takes UP a fourth of the page. (Internet site 1)
Here are some other eccentricities of our english
When the stars are out, they are visible. When the lights are out, they are invisible.
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same?
The bandage was wound around the wound.
The farm was used to produce produce
If brother becomes brethren, why doesn’t mother become Methren?
If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth?
If one goose becomes two geese, why doesn’t one moose become two meese? (Internet site 2)
WE have attempted to make this paper humorous, while at the same time acknowledging how bizarre the english
language can be. It is all too clear how people can become confused. (Even native speakers of english
.) We hope you find this paper acceptable.
Internet site 1 – http://aclassen.faculty.arizona
Internet site 2 – http://www.buzzle.com.editorials/4-20-2005.asp