The English Language: Gotta Love it 2


Richard Lederer at 2006 Mensa World Gathering

Richard Lederer at 2006 Mensa World Gathering (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This came in the same e-mail (and I’m sure you’ve all seen it at one time or another) but I did find out who wrote it.  Richard Lederer, a man who has used and abused the English language for a living.  He is definitely a man after my own heart, and someone I plan to explore more closely in the future.  Enjoy 🙂

 

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’ ?

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5 Comments

  1. What a super blog! I love it

    • Aw, thank you! I needed that encouragement today 🙂

  2. Be encouraged all over the place. I love this blog. It’s all true isn’t it. We simply don’t think about it; we must muddle through. In a way, I find it laughable but we take our language seriously. Thanks. Good one for a Friday. I’m actually here on the right day. Hmm.

    • Thanks Tess, I appreciate that! Even though I am an editor and know my stuff pretty well, I still make mistakes when I write. I definitely do when I talk!!!! Here on the right day? What’s the world coming to? I’ll be caught up myself as soon as all the grandkid weeks are over with. (maybe). 🙂

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