Friday, September 21, 2007

Nebo v Ustih (The Sky of My Mouth)

Thanks to my fantastic friend, Emma (happy birthday-eve!), for sending me this forward and giving me some perspective.

Though I am scrapping with the Slovenian language like Cassius Clay in a title bout, I am ever so happy that I am a native English speaker. To all those trying to learn English, you are in my prayers!


1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present , he thought it was time to present the present
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

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, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? 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 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? Ship by truck 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 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.

English was invented by 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.

PS. - Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick"


alcessa said...

It's the unique lunacy of the language that makes it sooo very compelling... German's much more organised, on the whole, but even Germans manage to put their share of insanity into it nowadays :-)

OT: Do you know this site?

Camille Remarkable said...

You are absolutely right, the lunacy is its power.

I've used E-slovensčina before but I ran into a lot of bugs on the site.
I will head back over there and see if perhaps they've now been fixed.


Aja said...

the examples you mentioned show the area where language starts dancing, creates a little tune of itself, becomes poetic, uses little trics,

Winnie the poo could add an example or two .. like this one

" ... A fly can't bird, but a bird can fly ..."

DarkoV said...

Oh, and did you know that the Boston Celtics love Celtic music?

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon your blog, so I am browsing through. How about:
Gori na gori gori. ;)

Seralle said...

I would say that each language has it's fair share of things like that. I speak french and german fluently and being a native speaker of english I can say that german and french are equally complex. German has many declensions and the french tenses are often confusing. But truly, most foreigners I know who speak english say that even though english spelling is often tricky it is very easy for most foreigners to be able to speak. This cannot be said for many other languages, especially in the case of an american attempting to speak another language. I personally believe language education should be more widespread in american schools, right now a lot of students don't consider it important at all.