Franklin Veaux (tacit) wrote,
Franklin Veaux

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Some thoughts on language

From an unknown source, possibly George Carlin:

Four for Fore

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes;
but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet,
and give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
and the plural of cat is cats, and not cose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
but we say mother, we never say methren
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
but imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.

So here are some reasons to be grateful if you learned to speak English by immersion:

>The bandage was wound around the wound.
>The farm was used to produce produce.
>The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
> He could lead if her would get the lead out.
> The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
> Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
> At the Army base, a bass was painted on the head of a bass drum.
> When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
> I did not object to the object.
> The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
> There was a row among the row of oarsmen about how to row.
> The buck does funny things when the does are present.
> After a number of Novocain injections, my jaw got number.

Let's face it - English is tough.

There is no egg in eggplant not ham in hamburger; neither apple or pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French Fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't so sweet, are meat.

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?

Doesn't it seem strange 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, what do you call it? If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

In what other 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, and when the stars are out, they are visible, but when a light is out, it's invisible.
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