Tuesday, May 4, 2010

For the love of the 'Queen's language'

I sent the following fwd:

The English language is nobody's special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself.


~Derek Walcott

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'?


I recived this reply:

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.


As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English."

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy.

The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w"with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensi bl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer , ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

6 comments:

Vishal Verma said...

Nice one...very logical...

Nirupama Sriram said...

Hey,
Good analysis...keep it up.
Cheers!
Nirupama

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Anonymous said...

i live all the way the canada (being american doesnt excuse u from knowing where that is. btw, sorry if u do know. then ur awesome). anyway, i got an email like that were i live. strange isnt it.

Windpfeil said...

Actually all european languages are strange like that. Every language has ways to tell something, even if doesn't have a name for it.
But the "Euro-English" would really sound by the exactly like the "German" pronouciation of English -not the way I pronounce it, though. By the way, in German noses run to and feet also smell. Guinea Pigs are called "Sea Pigs" even if they don't even swim.
It's not the languages which are crazy, it's the people. But I think, the idea of the EU (The whole EU, not the idea of EU English) is great, only the way they do it, it's a bit crazy.