View Full Version : On Speaking English (long)

10-10-2004, 01:06 PM
Shish, no wonder I have such a hard time with the English language.

If you've learned to speak fluent English, you must be a genius!
This little treatise on the lovely language we share is only for the brave.

Peruse at your leisure, English lovers.

Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn:

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 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.

Quicksand works 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? 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?
Is it an odd, or an end?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

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.

P.S. - Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick"?

10-11-2004, 07:06 AM
This very true. I speak five languages, all learned as an adult. I really feel for people who have to learn English as it is very difficult when compared to most others. I have moved to several countries before I learned the language of each and I can tell you, it is always very difficult. When I hear most people say, "If they live here, they at least should learn the language!" I know the person saying it has never had to do just that in a strange place. I agree everyone should learn the language of their host country but it is not that easy when you are struggling to make ends meet and everything sounds like jibberish. I had the advantage of hundreds of hours of instruction paid by GM and poolplayers helping me every night.

Thanks for the post. It reminds me of some difficulties I had over the years in trying to explain English to others.


10-11-2004, 11:35 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Deeman2:</font><hr> I speak five languages, all learned as an adult. <hr /></blockquote>Wow! That's very impressive. Last winter I spent about 4 months in Mexico and Central America. I tried to get along without speaking any english, and by the end of my stay I was able to manage fairly well with my pidgin spanglish. My neighborhood in Seattle has a lot of Mexicans, so I shop in a Mexican grocery, and try not to use english in the store. The bar I play pool in is the same way. Lots of Mexicans, so I try to keep my Spanish going.

When I was growing up in Alaska, my town had a lot of Japanese. Each year, from first grade through 8th, I took an english test at the beginning of the year. If you passed your grade level, you could take Japanese instead of english.

My mom taught me to read and write before entering kindergarten. I had no problem passing the first grade test, so I went into the Japanese program. I ended up staying in all the way through 8th. grade. I learned english better, by learning Japanese, than I ever would have by taking english in school.

I helped me out in high school and college also. I tested out of english in HS, and exempted out of college english with my SAT. So I only needed one year of essay in college, which was a 300 level course I took the first quarter of my freshman year. Altogether, in 16 years of school, I took one year of english (mandatory) in HS, and one quarter in College.

10-11-2004, 12:30 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote highsea:</font><hr> Altogether, in 16 years of school, I took one year of english (mandatory) in HS, and one quarter in College.<hr /></blockquote>When I took "english" all during my school years, it wasn't always about how to speak/write the language. A lot of it was reading books I would not have been exposed to if not for school. Did you miss being "forced" read books that most school children read? It's where a lot of folks learn about Shakespeare, Orwell, Salinger, etc., not to mention... poetry!

10-11-2004, 12:42 PM

Japanese is one of the languages I speak. My hats off to you as it is a tough one to learn. I know exactly what you mean about another language helping you with English. I used to tell my German instructor, "you can't say this or that in English." He would say, "Yes, you can." and he was almost always right! Very humbling when a guy who has never been outside Germany knows your language better than you.