View Full Version : Learning English, anyone?

4th Apr 2002, 19:06

This little treatise on the lovely language we share is only for the brave.

It was passed on by a linguist, original author unknown. Peruse at your
leisure, English lovers.

Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn:

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

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

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

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

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

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

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

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

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

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

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) After a number of injections my jaw got number.

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

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

21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

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? 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 teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

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 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.

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. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick"

4th Apr 2002, 21:48
A few ways to pronounce O-U-G-H

Ought = OR
Through = OO
Thorough = UH
Bough = OW
Cough = OFF
Enough = UFF

Any more?

Hagbard the Amateur
4th Apr 2002, 22:40
We're talking about a language originally Saxon/Celtic/Gaelic, influenced by Latin then Norse then French then returned (thanks amongst other people to Chaucer even though the peasants never spoke Will the Conqueror's French anyway) to the beginnings of what we now know as English English. Shakespeare and the King James Bible did the rest. The core of the language is currently an Indo Germanic/Latin fusion with all the amazing vocabulary installed from all over the world added as a bonus (think pyjamas, ketchup, chutzpah.) Is it a wonder the language is confusing?
Still I love it.

4th Apr 2002, 23:29
Well we wouldn't want any old Tom Dick or Harry learning our language would we. The Yanks have to ultimately take reponsibility for Egg Plant, Hamburger, English Muffin and Fench Fries (never tried them my self but chips are quite nice). Lets face it they still haven't figured out aluminum yet. Admittadly it's quite technical.

Forgive my spelling, as I haven't yet installed word checker(ms version) and the dictionary is in the loft (or is it aloft, I can't remember).

5th Apr 2002, 02:28
Oooooooo..... the English Language.... me fave...

... if ya really wanna look into it.. buy any book that's written by 'David Crystal'... he is by far 'the best' when it comes to this subject!!!!

I'm just thankful that I wasn't born in France... I can't speak a word of French!!!! :p

Now... if anybody wants to know more 'bout 'Language Acquisition'... lemme know!!!!! hahaha

Hagbard the Amateur
5th Apr 2002, 11:09
Yep, David Crystal is the man. "The English Language" is one of the best books on the subject ever written.

For linguistics - see Noam Chomsky

5th Apr 2002, 11:34
I thought sweetmeats were cooked bulls testicles and sweetbread was the pancreas. :eek: :eek: :eek:

Or is it the other way around ?


5th Apr 2002, 12:01

Its all Bollocks any way :D

5th Apr 2002, 13:36
According to English pronunciation, "ghoti" should be pronounced "fish".

A relatively easy language if you merely wish to acquire the basics, a fiendishly complex one if you wish to learn the subtleties. Perhaps the finest language on the planet for being meticulously accurate in, and yet it also excels for an ability to be vague to the point of a total lack of meaning.

Winston Churchill's "A History Of The English-Speaking Peoples" is perhaps one of the better sources for getting an idea of the various races/nations which have contributed to the development of English in the last fifteen hundred years or so, as well as being a rattling good read in its own right.

A truly great language, and since it is continually evolving, anyone care to speculate on what it might be like in, say, 500 years time?

5th Apr 2002, 14:25
Engelsk er et skodsprog.

You Ænglish kæniggets, eye farth in uar general direction.
uar mother waz a hramster and uar father smelled of eldebaries.

;) :p :D

5th Apr 2002, 15:09
Hµh¿ Sørrý¸ Jµstførk'׸ d'dñ't ¶µ't' g't thât...

5th Apr 2002, 19:41
Ah! Hugmonster, you rascal. I knew I should go upstairs and double-check that quotation. Too lazy.

Now for "UFF". Yes, there is one more: "euch".

Shortly after the Union in 1707 a Mr Scott, Advocate, was pleading in the House of Lords. To interjections from their Lordships, Mr Scott would reply: "Weel eneuch, my Lords, weel eneuch".

One of them corrected him: Well enough, Mr Scott. Uff! Uff! Mr Scott! The letters "ough" are pronounced "Uff"!

Weel enuff, My Lord.

The case concerned land. Mr Scott continued about the pluffgaits of land.

Mr Scott, what is a pluffgait?

A pluffgait, My Lord, is a measure of land, the amount of land a guid pluffman can pluff in the yae day.

6th Apr 2002, 19:44
http://www.contrabandent.com/cwm/s/contrib/fk/catfly.gif My SpellChecker!! http://www.contrabandent.com/cwm/s/contrib/fk/catfly.gif

Eye halve a spelling chequer,
It came with my pea sea.
It plainly Marx four my revue
Miss steaks eye can knot sea.

Eye strike a quay and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee four two long
An die can put the era rite,
Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it,
And I'm shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh -
My chequer tolled me sew! :p

6th Apr 2002, 20:44
Far be it from me to disagree with
Perhaps the finest language on the planet for being meticulously accurate in, and yet it also excels for an ability to be vague to the point of a total lack of meaning.
However, I do wonder sometimes if the people claiming such uniqueness for the English language are fluent enough in other "tongues" to really make a valid judgement?

I'm a mere FA and no linguist, but I do think that there are other languages that are as just as richly textured, varied and a pleasure to express oneself in.
In fact, there are times when other languages are superior!
:eek: :eek: :eek:

...........very worried she'll be banned from proon now................

6th Apr 2002, 20:50
The wind was rough
And cold and blough;
She kept her hands inside her mough.

It chilled her through,
Her nose turned blough,
And still the squall the faster flough.

And yet although
There was no snough,
The weather was a cruel fough.

It made her cough,
(Please do not scough);
She coughed until her hat blew ough