September 21, 2007

English is Phunny language

There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple... English muffins were not invented in England nor 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 there is no explanation as to why there is a 'P' in pneumonia when it has to be silent and 'L' in walk when its not spelt.

During my three months stint in UK - traveling to different places and visiting as well as working with Sky News in London and BBC in Bristol (for work experience under Chevening scholarship) - one particular phrase from not one but all the journalists I came across caught me unaware. The way they greet. The moment I walked into the Sky Sports news office in London - Simon Carpenter - the producer of the special projects -asked - 'Are you alright?' - For a moment he made me think if something had happened to me ...Was I sick? Was I looking pale – Was I Ok?. I said 'OK'......but the whole day – that particular phrase was playing around in my mind. To add to my self pity - whosoever met me on that particular or the weeks that followed - 'Are you alright?' was the way everyone greeted me.

When things settled down and I shifted to BBC in Bristol - Jemma Cooper and others to follow - had a new way of greeting me – “Are you ok?” Nothing wrong in the greeting as it was so friendly - but technically and grammatically speaking - such statements seem to be dipped and darkened in the ink pot of negativity...

But when I actually sat down to write this post It struck me that - the English language actually funny. As 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 should have been 2 meese? Is cheese the plural of choose? If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? When a house burns up, it burns down. You fill in a form by filling it out, and an alarm clock goes off by going on. When the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it? Why? Answers Anyone?


Alter Ego said...

"The answer my friend is blowin in th wind"

charvaka said...

I have an answer to one sentence in this post.You have said that "Is cheese the plural of choose?".But let me ask you a question.Does the word 'choose' which is a verb, have a plural form?