The English Language

Discussion in 'ten-forward' started by still_longhorn, Oct 23, 2004.

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  1. still_longhorn

    still_longhorn Registered Member

    Oct 3, 2004
    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?

    Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you comb thru annals of history but not a single annal? 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 preacher praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? If you wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your tongue?

    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 wise guy are opposites? How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?

    Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent? Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful gown? Met a sung hero or experienced requited love? Have you ever run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled, ruly or peccable? And where are all those people who ARE spring chickens or who would ACTUALLY hurt a fly?

    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 clock goes off by going on.

    English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn't a race at all). That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it.
  2. jxkruzzn

    jxkruzzn Guest

    When I was a lad in knickers, getting snickers from the lassies, this same argument was around.

    It is stll around, only now, the words are even more absurd.

    Down with it - the flu? No agreeing with the idea

    Crackin' - Used to mean making jokes with your pals.

    Pimpin it - used to be something no one would admit to, now means stylin' which used to mean with stlye?

    There are certainly posters here who know more of the vernacular than I, but, I agree nothing means what it used to, not even sure it means what it says?

    Do you have a solution? :D
  3. Cochise

    Cochise A missed friend

    Jan 26, 2003
    North Thoresby Lincs Good Olde England
    Yeah! and what comes after Once - Twice - Thrice......or what comes after Single - Double - Treble.......?

    Cochise, :cool:
  4. ssgtmax

    ssgtmax Registered Member

    May 2, 2004
    Phoenix, AZ
    2Funny! Great examples. I'm reminded of some comic (Gallagher, I think) who often said, "Why is it that we drive on parkways & park on driveways?"

    No sense somehow makes sense when it comes to the polyglot English language. It has roots in many languages, even primarily in a dead one: Latin. Add to that all the regional colloquialisms and dialects, techno-words, general laziness in adherance to grammar/spelling rules and a thousand other influences on the constantly-evolving language, and you end up with that which still_longhorn so eloquently describes.

    One thing for sure: it keeps English teachers across the land constantly on their toes - and helps keep comedians in business. ;)
  5. ssgtmax

    ssgtmax Registered Member

    May 2, 2004
    Phoenix, AZ
    I'm so old that I actually remember when "gay" had but one meaning:

    1 a : happily excited : MERRY b : keenly alive and exuberant : having or inducing high spirits

    I cannot remember the last time (other than an old film or book) when it was used in that context. :doubt:
  6. Blackspear

    Blackspear Global Moderator

    Dec 2, 2002
    Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
    I have decided to study Swahili....but first I had to get a year 12 pass in ENGLISH.....

    I Gave UP!!!

    Blackspear :D

    The bandage was wound around the wound.

    The farm was used to produce produce.

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

    We must polish the Polish furniture.

    He could lead if he would get the lead out.

    The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

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

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

    When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

    I did not object to the object.

    The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

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

    They were too close to the door to close it.

    The buck does funny things when the does are present.

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

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

    The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

    After a number of injections my jaw got number.

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

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

    How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
  7. bigc73542

    bigc73542 Retired Moderator

    Sep 21, 2003
    SW. Oklahoma
    could be a bit confusing couldn't it :D ;) I had an english teacher that taught english in africa for awhile tell me that english is one of the easiest languages to speak and one of the hardest to learn the mechanics of. ;)
  8. nadirah

    nadirah Registered Member

    Oct 14, 2003
    English is darn easy if you understand the language inside-out. ;)
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