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Observations on the English Language

A friend sent me an amusing commentary of sorts on the oddities of word formulation and usage in English. As I read it, it occurred to me that for those who write stories when English is their second language, it must all be very confusing at times. (Hard enough for those of us when it's our mother tongue!) I thought some of you might enjoy this.

Subject: Four all who reed and right

And people wonder, "I wish he/she would just learn English"

Four all who reed and right!!

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes;
but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice;
yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men, why shouldn't the plural of pan
be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet, and I give you a boot, would a
pair be called beet?

If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth, why shouldn't the plural of
booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those, yet hat in then plural would
never be hose, and the plural of cat is cats, not cose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren, but though we say
mother, we never say methren.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him, but imagine the
feminine, she, shis and shim.

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.

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

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers
don't groce and hammers don't ham?

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 folks who grew up speaking English
should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other 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.

If Dad is Pop, how come Mum isn't Mop?

Author Unknown or is it Knotknown?


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 1st, 2006 01:38 am (UTC)
Would you like some Ghoti for dinner?

Ghoti is an imaginary word used to illustrate irregularities in English spelling. It is pronounced /fɪʃ/, just like fish:

* "gh", /f/ as in laugh, /læːf, laːf/;
* "o", /ɪ/ as in women, /ˈwɪmɪn, ˈwɪmən/; and
* "ti", /ʃ/ as in nation, /ˈneɪʃən/.

I love the English language. your poem is just an example of why it entertains me all of the time.
Sep. 1st, 2006 11:47 am (UTC)

The English language really is daft - especially English English. I have no idea how I ever managed to get even a feeble grasp on it!
Sep. 1st, 2006 05:48 pm (UTC)
How true!
It's an impossible language and forever changing!
Loved this! Thank you for sharing it.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )



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