Monday, January 5, 2009

The Absurdities of the English Language

Words that are spelled similarly should (maybe) sound the same, but:

"I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough?"
Quoted by Vivian Cook and Melvin Bragg 2004,
by Richard Krogh, in D Bolinger & D A Sears, Aspects of Language, 1981,


MacKenzie was telling me about the difficulty people have learning the English language. She has taken a bit of French and German.

She pointed me to a couple fun websites that prove her point. If you want to look at a few poems that point out the oddities found in our spelling, look here.

10 comments:

Kelly said...

That is SO true! Cute poems. I just got Rosetta Stone for Spanish for Christmas, I hope I can tackle that language!

adrienne said...

Other countries don't even need to hold spelling bees because the rules actually make sense! I admire anyone who learns English as a second language.

Mary Witzl said...

My students find things like this all the time! Just today, someone was telling me about 'koombing' her hair. When I corrected her, she asked me how I pronounced 'womb' and 'tomb'...

Then you've got 'catch' and 'watch' and 'greasy' and 'easy' and 'laugh' and 'caught'-- and on and on. All I can do is tell them that English is just like that...

Rena said...

Interesting how complicated the English language can be. My six-year-old is fascinated by the fact that "racecar" is spelled the same forwards and backwards. :)

Nora MacFarlane said...

I wonder if hearing it is any easier. I once had an exchange student from Holland ask me what "wanna" and "gonna" meant. Pronunciation from one region to the next is sometimes drastically different.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

TELL me about it! Teaching my son how to spell has been awful.

Jean said...

Thanks, Kim. You come up with the neatest tidbits to share here.

Jean

p.s. Amy's coming to our Group on the 16th.

Kim Kasch said...

Kelly: I had a couple years of Spanish - it wasn't so hard - at least what I remember.

Adrienne: I "no" ;)

Mary: I love those - you should do a kids' post of all these things - fun.

Rena: I knew about Yreka Bakery but not racecar. Love it.

I have picked up "some" Danish easier because I hear it - all the time.

GG: My oldest sun uses spellchek for evrything ;)

Jean: You will love Amy - she is soooo nice. :)

Ello said...

Honestly, English is easy compared to Asian languages. OH MY GOSh! Chinese? Japanese? Korean? Well actually Korean isn't as hard as the other two.

Kim Kasch said...

Ello: My son said Japanese was really hard.