Throughout my life I’ve been fortunate to have the chance to learn a few different languages. I’ve taken Spanish lessons, been taught a little bit of sign language (yes I count that!!), and I can even read and write Hebrew…although I can’t translate it. Maybe someday I’ll even take Italian as I’ve always found it to be a very romantic language. Of all the foreign languages out there, I would have to say that I am SO GLAD I learned English first!!!!
I have always been fan of grammar, oftentimes getting out my virtual “red pen” when I’m perusing posts on Facebook or reading an email. I remember having fun taking a test when I applied for my position at USAA. The test was simply a paragraph with every few words separated by lines and an “R” and “W” underneath for right and wrong. You had to look at spelling, punctuation, capitalization, etc. and determine if that segment was written correctly. That may have been the only test in my life I’ve taken with a big grin on my face. Yes, I know I’m a sick person! 😉
Many parts of the English language have baffled me for years. First and foremost is the alphabet!! It seems to me that this list can be condensed by deleting a few of the letters we really don’t need. For example, we really don’t need a “c.” We have an “s” and a “k” that can cover both of the sounds this letter makes when part of a word. Next, there’s the letter “x” which can be replaced by “eks” or “z.” It’s not used all that often anyways, so who will really miss it?!? Additionally, I would like to say sorry to Elizabeth, but we really don’t need a “q” either. Can we not spell her title as “Kween” instead? This brings me to another point about the letter “q.” Why is it that the cursive version of this letter looks like a floppy 2? Maybe that’s how the term “tween” came about.
Let’s move on, shall we?
What kind of stupid language is written so that in order to pronounce a word correctly you have to read the words around it?!? “He wanted to record a record.” Ummmm…wait…let me read (present tense) that again so I don’t sound like an idiot in 5th grade in front of the whole class when I mispronounce not only one, but both of those words.
One of my biggest pet peeves about this language is the use of contractions. I have lost count how many times this part of grammar has been trampled on each and every day. It fascinates me how a little thing like an apostrophe can confuse even the smartest person. The groups of words that drive me nuts include they’re/their/there, your/you’re, its/it’s, were/we’re, and y’all. Just to clear up, that last word is made up of the words you and all, not ya and ll.
I’ve often thought what it would be like to try to learn English at my age. There are so many stupid rules to remember. I still have trouble spelling after all these years and even catch myself reciting “i before e except after c” whenever I can’t remember which one comes first. Then just when you think you’re safe, here comes trying to master “fun with plurals!” Why is the plural of mouse mice, but the plural of house isn’t hice?!? Oxen? Correct. Boxen? NOPE!! Why can’t you just add an “s” to the end of every word and be done with it?!? Also, another issue I have with this crazy language includes why the word building can be both a noun and a verb!! Furthermore, why do you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway?! SHEESH!! Apparently rules are meant to be broken in English.
Finally, let’s discuss some other parts of the English language that tend to rake on my nerves. Why on Earth is the word abbreviation is so long? Why is it that the word daughter and laughter don’t rhyme? Why does the word vacuum need two u’s in it?! That could be remedied by using “yoo” to make the word vakyoom. Looks much better to me! Then there are homophones & homonyms. Homophones are those words that sound the same but are usually spelled differently and have completely different meanings. Examples of these include hare/hair, led/lead, and but/butt. In each of these cases, there is only a difference of one letter to make a world of difference in the meaning. Were there really not enough letters to come up with a whole new word?! Homonyms are those words that are spelled the same but have different meanings. Imagine the different between these two sentences: “He runs.” versus “He has the runs.” BIG difference!!
I know that every language has its quirks, but it seems to me that whoever came up with English didn’t do a good job of thinking things through. Haven’t they heard the notion of keeping it simple? Less is more? I guess what I’ve realized in my quest to understand this crazy language is that the only thing that makes sense is that IT doesn’t.