Friday, July 29

English is Dumb. And I Love it Anyway.

I make no secret about my love of words. I love reading them, I love writing them, I love learning new ones and teaching them to my children.
I borrowed a book from the library last week that was very.... odd... but it had so many delicious words, I wanted to run out and buy a copy and fill it with underlines and highlighter marks. I can't remember the last time I read a novel that had me looking up at least one word per page to find its meaning. (I'd add some of them here, but I already took it back to the library. And I'm thisclose to ordering it right. this. minute.)
(Like: gaol. Do you know what a gaol is, and who gaolers are? I bet you do. A gaol is a place where criminals are locked up behind bars. And gaolers are the people who make sure the criminals don't escape. Got it? Did I mention this scrumtiously-worded book is set in Victorian England?)

In any case, the English language is to-the-brim with wonderful words.... and a whole bunch of mind-boggling rules and regulations and glaring oddities. (My mother is an English as a Second Language teacher/facilitator. It also makes her crazy how ridiculous the English language is. I suppose it's hereditary. The crazy, not the English. Although, ok, maybe that is, too. Also.  Anyway.)

This whole post formulated because I was looking at a "warming green tea" face mask on my bathroom counter this morning. Under the English title, it reads, "masque au the' vert," because everything's fancier in French. And I thought (in my early-morning brain fog), "Huh. Vert. Like 'verde' in Spanish. Like 'verdant.' So ver = green in every other language but ours. Weird."
And of course, that line of thinking led to, "It's like how 'luna' means 'moon' to everybody but us. Dumb English."
And then, it circled back to ver: "Verb-something has to do with words. Verbal, verbiage, verbose..."

(I never claimed to have deep thoughts before 8:00am, just long, disjointed ones.)

So, why not just leave things at verde, luna, verb.... It's like the originators of the English language just plucked letters out of our alphabet and lined them up and called it quits. Green. Moon. Words.
I don't know why Latin is a dead language. It seems so much.... easier.

I'm sure there are tons more out there, but this is as far as I got before The Baby started playing in my makeup.


Then I remembered this video:



Because homophones are awesome.

And awful.

At the same time.



There are some really fantastic (Latin-based, I'm sure) words out there, too:
adumbrate 
betwixt 
curple (do YOU know what a curple is?)
diaphanous 
ennui 
facetious 
grandiloquent 
(What? Do you not keep a list of lovely/fascinating/fun words? That's only for serious geeks? Huh.)



Oh wait, I just remembered one more example of English ridiculousness:
Piscis.
Poisson.
Pez.
Pesce.
Fish.
See? Wacked.


Ooh! One more:
Decalogue.
Decimal.
Decimate.
Decade.
Ten.




So... what silly English-born words am I leaving out? Do you have any super favorite words?

found and tumbl'd




(PS- if you need any book recommendations, follow the #FridayReads tag on the twitters. There arealways new books to be found!)

4 comments:

  1. Michelle Shellabarger12:42 PM, July 29, 2011

    Awesome! I have a dictionary of word origins that I love. I am a word geek too. My son is getting Latin this year in 1st grade and LOVING it so far. I think it just makes sense.

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  2. I enjoy everything about this post, but those last two lists? HILARIOUS. Seriously, I actually lol'd. ;)

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  3. have you seen those awful pieces that show all of our ridiculous homophones, etc? The ones that start by admitting how difficult our language is. but, like the people, our words are often hybreds of something altogether else...

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  4. PS. I really can spell and use capital letters appropriately. Just not now.

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