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Our dumb language


In a way, it’s amazing that we can actually use something like language to communicate at all. I mean, somewhere along the way, we all decided that that green leafy thing was a “tree” and that big yellow ball in the sky was the “sun” and that furry barking thing was a “dog” and we all just kind of went with it.

But the more I think about it, the weirder the English language is. Other languages might also be dumb, but I only have a passing familiarity with French and Spanish and I am qualified to judge neither of them.

But I’ve been reading and writing and speaking English for more than 40 years now, so I’ve got a pretty good handle on it. And I’ve got to tell you, it’s pretty dumb.

Just the spelling rules are ridiculous. Comb and tomb and bomb don’t rhyme. But comb and roam do. And tomb and boom do. And bomb and balm are pronounced exactly the same… but minute and minute aren’t!

And that’s just the spelling and pronunciation. Then there are all these rules we’ve manufactured for the “correct” way to use these words. Like no ending a sentence with a preposition? What’s that all about?

My current pet peeve is the lack of clarity in some of the way we form sentences. Here’s one: “There are donuts in the break room if you want one.” It sounds pretty straightforward… until you think about it. The donuts are in the break room regardless of whether or not you want one.

You can’t even clear it up with “If you want a donut, there are some in the break room.” It’s still making it

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sound like the existence of the donuts is completely dependent upon your desire to have one or not have one.

It’s just one of those little nitpicky things about our language that cen be super frustrating, and I imagine it’s doubly so for someone trying to learni English as a second language or someone with a learning disorder trying to decode “i before e, except after c” when that’s simply misleading.

I also hate that there will be times when I’m writing that I am forced to use the phrase “that that” in a sentence. You know, like: “Are we still going to the movies? I thought that that wasn’t happening today.”

See, I hate that that is sometimes necessary (See?

There it is again!).

And don’t even get me started on stupid spellings like “rough” and “dough” and “through” — all of which absolutely do not rhyme and all of which contain entirely too many letters! Tell me, would the world be any worse off if those words were spelled “ruff” and “doe” and “thru” or something? It’s no wonder that so many people can’t get the right form of “there,” “their” and “they’re right…

Here’s another dumb thing… the letter c. Why does it exist? I mean, sure it makes two different sounds but there are already two perfectly good letters that make both of those sounds. You can spell “Pacific” as “Pasifik” and there’s no difference. Same with dance or cat or centric.

Of course, all of this might be pointless. The way texting is taking over the world, be might just be speaking in emojis and memes in a few years.

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