Tuesday, August 05, 2008

No Ham in This Burger

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English can be, and often is, a crazy language. How people whose mother tongue isn't English ever learn it with all its subtle nuances and bizarre oddities is beyond me. For example, there is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger, neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England. 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.

A box is, of course, a box, and its plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his, and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis, and shim!

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce, and hammers don't ham? 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 folks who grew up speaking English should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? We ship by truck but send cargo by ship. We have noses that run and feet that smell. And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

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 goes off by going on.

So if Father is Pop, how come Mother isn't Mop?

Blasfomys are pretty crazy, too, and TWISTED LINGUISTICS has a bizarre assortment for you today.

grizzly crime - Bears Gone Wild.

invetro - Weird experiments with infertile animals.

devistated - Obliteration of scenery.


I am not a moran - This may be the guy who got the sluty girl pregnate.



puerileuwaite said...

My head hurts.

G-Man said...

How about the 'ough' in words?
...how would you like to teach english to a bunch of immigrants?
Great post Sherry!!
Oh, I thought of a couple more...
In the South it's sayowth
in the north it's sowth
Have a good one Red....G

Anonymous said...

sj, i can
honestly say
that i've never
before considered
these many odd things
as deeply as you do here

& probably i never will again!

have you a wonderful new week!

¤ ¤ ¤


VE said...

That was a fun time.
I love it when you rhyme!

Bilbo said...

Serena, you are singing music to this dried-out Linguistics major's heart! Let's see what I can do with some of today's blasfomy's...

grizzly crime - well, I can't beat you on this one.

devistated - categorically spoke about devi?

blaim - carefully focused attribution of a crime.

seighting - seeing something eight times.

pregnate - Nathan has a very strange story to tell his parents...

sluty - very slu?

I am not a moran - President Bush imitates President Nixon. Badly.

investegative - pertaining to the scrutiny (such as it is) exercised by the Federal Government over crooked financial activities.

Serena Joy said...

Aw, poor Puggy. I can give you a nice Excedrin.:)

I could never teach English, Galen. I'd get so frustrated that I'd end up in jail the first day on the job. Don't be makin' fun of the Sayowth, now, bub. Somebody could drop a cayowtch on you.:-)

It is getting pretty deep, isn't it, /t.? I should go see if I can find my hip waders. And shovel.:-)

Why, thank you, VE.
Just seemed like a rhyming Tuesday.:)

Ah, yes, Bilbo, the music of Twisted Linguistics. Oh, no, wait -- that's the Music of the Night I'm hearing. Hey, you managed to do something with the blasfomys. Good for you!:)

Corn Dog said...

And what about crack? The name for that drug makes no sense. Crank. I don't know how anyone keeps up with street slang.

NYD said...

SJ, you are a true Verbivore!

Skunkfeathers said...

Okay, I knowd how to talk and write until I read that...now I'm ;likadiyranfeihpaih'rnfkaohatlahioehangfn.... ;)

Serena Joy said...

Sometimes I fear I sound like a crackhead, CD.:-)

If there are cheeseburgers involved, it's fine with me, NYD.:-)

LOL, Skunk. Maybe before the night is over, I can decipher that last line of yours.:-)

VE said...

Oh, and be forewarned. You are starring in my movie for tomorrow's (Thu) post. May God have mercy on your soul...

Serena Joy said...

Uh-oh! Should I be afraid, VE? Oh, well, I guess I'll just practice my best movie star smile tonight.:-)