This morning my 10-year-old grandson remarked that he and I were ‘playing with words.’ Then he stated, “I like words!” Well, they are helpful yet I often point out to all of my grandchildren how obtuse the language can become. Now, don’t get me wrong- I like the English language. It is rich and deep, yet it must be awful to learn for those with a different native tongue. ‘Aren’t you glad you were born here?’ I often quip.
The German language has only a quarter of the words as English and when I write my German relatives I need to think whether my word choice has a counterpart in the German language. Often it does not
Take that word ‘does’ above. How can one explain why the sound /duz/ is spelled DOES? By the way, what word refers to a pair of female deer? Further, how does ‘goes’ sound?
Speaking of groups of animals, why are there foxes but not oxes? Why beers but not deers? How do the sounds of the three letters, t-h-e, produce the sound that is so difficult for non-native speakers? Who knows why the near-twin words ‘cow’ and ‘low’ sound oddly different? Wind the reel; real wind! Not a sound along the sound this morning. Mourning clothes. Moths ate a hole. Eight whole kernels. Colonel Knight. Night came fast. The knot held fast. Fast for 40 days. The patient fell into a daze…
Complex, rich and duplicitous. Nonetheless, I love our common language.