Off topic: English is a Crazy Language
Thread poster: Sabry Hameed
| | Sabry Hameed
Local time: 12:27
English to Arabic
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 blouse, 2 blice?
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you comb through 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 preachers 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? Park on driveways and drive on parkways?
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?
Now I know why I flunked my English. It's not my fault, the silly language doesn't quite know whether it's coming or going.
"An Excerpt from the Introduction, by Richard Lederer"
| || || |
| | Atenea Acevedo
Local time: 05:27
English to Spanish
| This is great!!! || Sep 27, 2004 |
Thanks for posting it!
| | Marijke Singer
Local time: 11:27
Dutch to English
| I enjoyed it very much || Sep 27, 2004 |
Thank you for posting!
To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:
You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »
English is a Crazy Language
|BaccS – Business Accounting Software|
|Modern desktop project management for freelance translators|
BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, ProZ.com integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!
More info »
|Anycount & Translation Office 3000|
|Translation Office 3000|
Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.
More info »