Saturday, May 06, 2006

Watch Your Language!

The English language (if it truly is a language) is really weird. That may, in part, explain why I like messing around with it so much. It’s really good company. Kind of like a friend who is fun to just hang out with. You don’t even necessarily have to do anything, just goof off and be weird. So, yes, I love English. It’s never boring and sometimes it’s downright hilarious. I’ve been compiling a list of words I find particularly amusing for some reason that, at the moment, completely eludes me.

1. Bean
2. Weasel
3. Gargoyle
4. Bumble
5. Blither
6. Swine
7. Taxes (not really, I just threw that in)
8. Ladle
9. Chigger
10. Opine

Well, there are more, but you get the idea. English is an awesome language. Consider the following question of logic: “If you sweat in a sweat suit, golf in a golf shirt, and smoke in a smoking jacket, what do you do in a wind breaker?”

There are innumerable instances of English being a completely random collection of words from other languages, identically spelled words that mean entirely different things or words that can be altered drastically with the addition or elimination of one or more letters. I found the following on a forum I visit on occasion. Since the poster made it clear that he had collected these from various sources, I can’t give credit to the creators, but I enjoyed their work enough to include it here.

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?

There is no egg in eggplant nor is there any ham in hamburger. There is neither pine nor apple in pineapple. English muffins aren’t English and French fries aren’t French. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. Quicksand can work slowly. Boxing rings are square. A guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. 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. One moose, 2 meese?
One index, 2 indices. One Rolex, two Rolices?
Mouse - mice, louse - lice. House - hice? Shouldn’t one kernel of rice be a rouse?
Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick”?

You can make amends but not one amend. You can have odds and ends but not an odd and an end. Teachers taught. Preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? People recite at a play and play at a recital, ship by truck and send cargo by ship. We have noses that run and feet that smell. A slim chance and a fat chance are the same, but a wise man and a wise guy are opposites. When the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. Your house can burn up as it burns down. You fill in a form by filling it out. An alarm goes off by going on.

People, not computers, invented English, so the language reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all.

1 comment:

Paul "FooDaddy" Brand said...

Oh, and don't forget one of my favorites from a George Carlin book!

"A tree; first you chop it down, then you chop it up."