Wednesday, 19 August 2009

English is a crazy language

There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; nether apple nor pine in pineapple. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. 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 and grocers don't groce?

If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?

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 vegetarians eat vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

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?

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all.

1. The bandage was wound around the wound.
2. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
3. We must polish the Polish furniture.
4. Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
5. When shot at, the dove dove into the buses.
6. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
7. They were too close to the door to close it.
8. The buck does funny things when the does are present.
9. The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
10. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

My head hurts!!


Queenie said...

Hahahahaha I LOVE this post!!!

French Fancy said...

You know I moan quite often about how hard it is to learn French but, looking at your post, I reckon it is non-English speakers who try to learn our language that have it hardest of all.

You mention some fascinating things that I'd never even thought about before


Debs said...

Brilliant. Loved reading those, especially number four.

The Accidental Fan said...

I've got ham but I'm not a hamster. Just for FF.

Phillipa said...

Hi there - just come to your blog via Debs Carr's Shed site. I was lucky enough to have my first novel, Decent Exposure, translated into Thai. The characters look so beautiful, I wish I had a clue what they mean. I did find a few Thai speakers on a book forum commenting that may of the English idioms hadn't been carried across to the book ...(but I had to work that out from a Google translation!)

SueG said...

Terrific. Actually, I love this sort of stuff.

Anonymous said...

When you were very small, you always talked about a tortoy, rather then a tortoise - a toy was one, toys were more than one, so it made perfect sense - even to us!

Love Mum x

Suburbia said...

Great isn't it?!! I have 2 dyslexic children, that makes it a whole lot more complicated!

Mark said...

I can't spell for tofy (ha) - thank heavens for spellcheck

Carol said...

Queenie - LOL...I couldn't resist :-)

French Fancy - Moon used to get totally confused when she was trying to learn English. She just couldn't understand how so many words could mean so many different things (which is odd considering in Thai one word can have up to five different meaning depending on what tone you use!!)

Debs - They are fun aren't they :-)

TAF - I don't think I want to know!!

Phillipa - Welcome :-). Congratulations on your novel and you are absolutely right, written Thai looks beautiful!!

I shall pop over to your blog for a nosey later :-)

Sue - hehehehe, it hurts your head doesn't it!!

Mum - I didn't know I had said that when I was little *grins*....not as daft as I look am I!!

Suburbia - I struggle and I don't have any problems!! I can only imagine how tough it must be for your kids!!

Mark - I am so with you on the spell check!! My spelling is shocking!!

C x

Lily Sheehan said...

Great post - the English language is a mind field of contradictions which is why I have so much respect for those who can speak it fluently as a second language.

Tessa said...

Yikes! That made my brain wobble dangerously!

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for your lovely comment. It's so nice to 'meet' you! I'm off now to read more of your posts....

Carol said...

Lily - That was one of the things that struck me in Thailand...I was amazed at how many people could speak English and how quickly they learned it!!

Tessa - It made my brain wobble too!!

Your blog is fab and I adore your paintings!! Oh, and I may get to meet you in real life too...I'm not far from Bath and I think Absolute Vanilla is going to try and arrange something for the three of us :-)

C x

DJ Kirkby said...

What a cool post! there is such thing as indeces but the term refers to levels of things in the blood

Carol said...

DJ - Thank you my dear. I got sent an e-mail with some of it which then inspired me and I added to it :-).

C x

Kevin Mullins said...

Very clever - and sooo true. Mind you, I've seen some Grocerse that are definately gross! That's me done for the week - I'm off to the Whole Hog for my Friday lunch. Have a great weekend.

ladyfi said...

Hilarious! I used to be a TEFL teacher and my poor students were forever asking me these questions! I used to reply: "If the Romans had had to learn English, they would never have had time to conquer the world..."

Carol said...

Kevin - hahahaha, I too have seen Grocers that are gross (but not in Malmesbury obviously!!).

Hope you had a lovely lunch (I adore the sausage and onion jam that they do there!!)

Ladyfi - LOL!! That is very true :-)

C x

Anonymous said...

Further to... There is an Academy of Music and and an Academy of Art, but neither are considered academic subjects - this always intrigued me.

Love Mum x

Carol said...

Mum - I've never noticed that before but you are absolutely right!!! The English language is a bit bonkers when you think about it isn't it!!

C x

Calico Kate said...

This is brilliant! Several I 'knew' but loved the way you put it together - And your mums comment oh so true!

Carol said...

Calico Kate - I can't take all the credit...some of it was sent to me via e-mail and I added to it :-)

C x

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

A very interesting read, as is your post about the sheep. I really hope I get to see a sheep actually DO that sometime!!! Best wishes. Lesley

Carol said...

Sea Blue Sky - Hehehe, I would absolutely love to see a sheep doing that too!!

C x

Kay said...

Hi Carol, I loved this article, I have to write this one to my mum who is a teacher, heh he hugs Kay

Carol said...

Kay - LOL. It's just bonkers when you think about it isn't it :-)

C x

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