Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Oddities of the English Language

This morning I received this poem via email about the complexity of the English language and some of its inconsistencies.  I think it is brilliant! I have no idea who wrote this. I wish I did so I could give credit where credit is due. If you know who authored this poem please leave a comment! It was just too good not to share.

It reads like a Dr. Seuss, at least that is how I read it the first time. Better yet, if you need to give yourself a good chuckle read it out loud, in your best Andy Rooney voice. You will be cracking yourself up in no time!

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and there would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

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. 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?
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 folks who grew up speaking English
should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship...
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And 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.

And in closing, if Father is Pop, how come Mother's not Mop?



Kathe W. said...

oh lordy- the best I can see is there are no stinking rules in English and I am glad it is my first language learned. French and Spanish are so much easier!
Thanks for posting this hilariously true poem.

Lydia said...

Loved this. It fills me with enormous respect for all who have tackled English-as-a-second-language. And for English teachers, too! :)

Short Poems said...

Liked this :)

Vicki Lane said...

Oh, this is terrific!

Karen L R said...

thanks for popping by my blog and leaving a comment! and i enjoyed the read over here.
wishing you a great weekend.