English is a crazy language (2)
by David A Wright (UK)
concluded from #12, 2006
There is no egg in eggplant1, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins2 weren’t invented in England, nor French fries in France.
- Sweetmeats3 are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.
You have to marvel14 at the unique lunacy15 of a language in which:
- Quicksand4 works slowly; boxing rings are square and a guinea pig5 is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
- And why is it that writers write and singers sing, but fingers don’t fing, grocers6 don’t groce and hammers don’t ham?
- The plural of tooth is teeth, so why isn’t the plural of booth7, beeth? One goose, two geese; so one moose8, but not two meese? One house, two houses; but one mouse and two mice. One index, and two indices but sometimes two indexes? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends9 but not one amend?
- If you have a bunch of odds and ends10 and get rid of11 all but one of them, 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 recital12?
- How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy13 are opposites?
English evolved through the changing circumstance of different 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. And while we’re at it, why doesn’t “Buick” rhyme with “quick”?
Don’t worry about it: just learn it and have fun with the words!
- your house can burn up and down at the same time;
- an alarm goes off by going on.
1 eggplant – баклажан
2 muffin – оладья
3 sweetmeats – засахаренные фрукты
4 quicksand – зыбучий песок
5 guinea pig – морская свинка
6 grocer – бакалейщик
7 booth – киоск
8 moose – американский лось
9 amends – компенсация
10 odds and ends – разный хлам
11 to get rid of – избавляться
12 recital – сольный концерт
13 wise guy – тот, кто воображает, что может обо всем судить, умник
14 to marvel – даваться диву
15 lunacy – невменяемость
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