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Let's face it -- English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant
nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins
weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies
while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.
We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that
quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither
from Guinea nor is it a pig. And 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, 2 geese. So one moose,
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you comb
thru annals of history but not a single annal? 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? If you wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your tongue?
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? Send shipments by car and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and
feet that smell?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and wise
guy are opposites? How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot
and quite a few are alike? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold
as hell another?
Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent?
Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful gown? Met a sung hero or
experienced requited love? Have you ever run into someone who was combobulated,
gruntled, ruly or peccable? And where are all those people who ARE spring
chickens or who would ACTUALLY hurt a fly?
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can
burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in
which an alarm clock goes off by going on.
English was invented by people, not computers, 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 why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up
this essay, I end it.