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> ENGLISH AS SHE IS SPOKEN, paradoxes of spoken English
Psyche
post Dec 3 04, 19:13
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Group: Praetorian
Posts: 3,801
Joined: 27-August 04
From: Bariloche, Argentine Patagonia
Member No.: 78
Real Name: Sylvia Evelyn
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Grace Galton & David Ting



ENGLISH AS SHE IS SPOKEN

When English is the tongue we speak
Why is 'break' not rhymed with 'freak'?
Can you tell me why it is
'Namely' is written 'viz'?
Will you tell me why it's true
We say 'sew' but likewise 'few'?
And the maker of a verse
cannot match his 'horse' with 'worse'?
'Beard' sounds not the same as 'heard',
'Cord' is different from 'word'.
'Cow' is 'cow' but 'low' is 'low',
'Shoe' is never rhymed with 'foe'.

Think of 'comb', 'tomb' and 'bomb',
'Doll' and 'roll' and 'home' and 'some'.
And since 'pay' is rhymed with 'say'
Why not 'paid' with 'said', I pray?
We have 'blood' and 'food' and 'good',
'Mould' is not pronounced like 'could'.
Wherefore 'done' but 'gone' and 'lone'
Is there any reason known?

Is there any sensible ground
To say 'wound' for hurt, while string is 'wound'?
Do you call it equity
To say 'mutton' and yet 'mutiny'?
Do you think it really wise
To speak 'advertisement' if you 'advertise'?
So, in short, it seems to me,
Sounds and letters don't agree.

(From "OPEN UP A TEACHER") .... don't know the author.

Contributed by Psyche, a puzzled person from Argentina.
 
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Cleo_Serapis
post Dec 3 04, 19:21
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From: Massachusetts
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Real Name: Lori Kanter
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Imhotep



Hahahahahahah Sylvia! laugh.gif

Why don't we say Mouses instead of mice, gooses instead of geese, moose is still a moose (or two).
Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?

Clever girl! smart.gif
Cleo :p


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Guest_Jox_*
post Dec 19 04, 21:14
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Most amusing Sylvia.

I suppose, as someone from the land that invented this language, I ought to say something to justify the situation. But I cannot.

If we were starting a new language we wouldn't, to use an Irish phrase, start from here. I'm told it makes learning the language for those whose first language is not English, very hard.

Of course, there are also differences in pronunciation of some words between the UK and the USA - the rest of the world speaking in both often. Gershwin's famous "I say potato, you say potato" (and tomatoes) rather explained that.

Your thrust is about the sounds of words. However, Lori brings the subjects to their meanings which is equally important and crazy.

I can explain two points only.

"Viz" is Latin, not English per se.

"Driveway" was the term for large country houses which did have drives. then when the plebs had cars the term was mis-used and has stuck.

"Parkways" - we don't have here, not sure what the are (apart from a type of road).

Many words do this. A current famous example is "paedophile." It literally means child-lover. In every other context (Francophile - lover of everything French; Anglophile - lover of all things English etc) it is a positive message. So many teachers, parents and nurses should be able to be called "paedophiles." But the word has been subverted and will probably never again be used in its correct sense.

One which always annoyed my parents was "gay." And I think I agree. I was an excellent small word which worked well in poetry and prose to mean "happy" or "bright" (which is why the homosexual lobby appropriated it for themselves).

"Girl" is another badly mis-used word. It ought to mean immature female (I'll let others judge the maximum age there!) but, even pensioners now talk of "going out with the girls."

Finally, from me - but one could almost go on for ever - the ideal of 30+ people having "boyfriends" or "girlfriends" is crazy; embarrassing even. My partner and I never married (we used to be against it on principle) but I hate anyone describing me as her "boyfriend" - utterly crazy.

So I'm afraid that similar spellings with widely different pronunciations and words being twisted out of their original use, will all continue and we'll just have to put up with it!

James.
 
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Guest_RonPrice_*
post Feb 5 05, 19:54
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I have been playing with our language, listening to people discuss the ambiguities and paradoxes of expression for 50 years, 30 of these were as an English teacher. I must confess--although I probably should not--that after what must amount to 1000s of hours on the subject I am happy to accept the language in all its complexities and use it at last with some pleasure. I found, even when I was an English teacher, that the pleasure of writing got caught up in so many other concerns. Now that I am retired I can enjoy the words at last and not worry/concern myself with the endless vagaries of spelling, grammar and punctuation which I did ad nauseam as a teacher. This poem reminded me of my days as an English teacher.-Ron Price. knight.gif
 
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Guest__*
post Feb 6 05, 02:57
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Dear Jox,

"I hate anyone describing me as her "boyfriend"" - stay with that, Jox, otherwise you will be her

"SIGNIFICANT OTHER"

- can it get more romantic than that ?

I too object to "gay".

Love
Alan
 
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Guest_Jox_*
post Feb 6 05, 04:44
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Hi Alan,

I'm not a romantic, I'm afraid. (Which is why, even if I had your skill, I couldn't write many of the poems which you do - most impressive).

We either use "partner" or just "my wife / husband" - easier and we don't care. But we're too old to be boys and girls, alas!

All the best, James.
 
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Guest_Jox_*
post Feb 6 05, 04:50
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Ron, Hi.

I, too, have been an English teacher - just, possibly may be again I suppose. I agree with not being hung-up on rules (aren't we hypocrites!).

However, word definitions are important, else we would have no idea what each other was speaking about... Then again, one can argue for some rules with similar justification. Full stops are very important. Then again, many grammar rules are simply a pain in the apostrophe.

Just a thought.

James.
 
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Guest_Perrorist_*
post Feb 12 05, 18:23
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In similar vein to Psyche's original post:
Perry

 
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Guest_Jox_*
post Feb 12 05, 19:20
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Hi Sylvia, Perry et al,

Yes, thanks Perry - that's a good one, too. In fact, I think it has everything covered - the longest poem I've read this year, methinks.

Thanks for the link.

James.
 
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