July 12, 2012
English is a difficult language to learn. There is no egg in the eggplant, no ham in the hamburger,
and neither pine nor apple in the pineapple.
English muffins were not invented in England, and French fries were not invented in France.
We sometimes take English for granted. But if we examine its paradoxes we find that:
•Quicksand takes you down slowly
•Boxing rings are square
•The guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig
And what about the noun roots of verbs?
•If writers write, how come fingers don’t fing?
•If the plural of tooth is teeth, shouldn’t the plural of phone booth be phone beeth?
•If the teacher taught, why didn’t the preacher praught?
•If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat!?
•Why do people recite at a play, yet play at a recital?
•Or park on driveways and drive on parkways?
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language:
•Where a house can burn up ... as it burns down
•In which you fill in a form ... by filling it out
•Where an alarm is only heard once it goes off!
•English was created by people, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn’t a race at all).
That is why when the stars are out they are visible ... but when the lights are out they are invisible.
And I still can’t figure out why it is that when I wind up my watch, it starts ... but when I wind up this article ... it ends.