I love language… I was one of those weird teenagers who used their dictionaries for something other than squashing spiders. I actually read the damn thing from time to time… for fun. I’ve always loved learning new words, playing Scrabble (when I can con someone into playing with me), writing, long or obscure of adopted words and etymology in general. And English is a madhouse when you delve into it. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for people to learn it as adults. The pronunciation alone would drive you round the bend…
- 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.
- We must polish the Polish furniture..
- He could lead if he 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.
- A bass was painted on the head of the 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 oarsmen about how to row.
- They were too close to the door to close it.
- The buck does funny things when the does are present.
- A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
- To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
- The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
- Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear..
- I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
- How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
But’s that is just how it has evolved. English is a fucking crazy language. Then you find this sort of thing:
“There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; likewise no apple nor pine in pineapple! English muffins weren’t invented in England and French fries don’t come from France. Sweetmeats are candies, while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are actually meat. That which we call quicksand usually works slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig!
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, two geese. So one moose, two 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? Why is it when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible?!
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are complete opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as quickly 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.”
All this fun stuff really tells us is that English was invented by people in an osmotic and evolutionary manner, not by design, not by computers or definitely not by a plan. Language perhaps more than art, reflects the creativity of the human race – which, of course, is not actually a race at all!