cbr category Question
If you can draw one conclusion from this book, it could be that the English language, possibly more than any other, delights in being silly. There is simply no other excuse for so many British town names, such as Great Snoring and Farleigh Wallop. American English is no slouch in this department although one suspects its choice are more deliberate, such as Peeled Chestnut, Tennessee; What Cheer, Iowa; and Maggie’s Nipples, Wyoming.
But the richness of the many various forms of English have to do more with a stubborn refusal to acknowledge any sort of authoritative standard of correctness. Dictionaries are full of shifting spellings, and grammar books are more of a guide than a rule. We are already starting to see the difference between the possessive its and the contraction it’s starting to fade away. Giving you the side-eye, Los Angeles Times.
And don’t even begin on the matter of pronunciation. English uses 52 distinct sounds (as per the International Phonetic Dictionary) while Italian, for example, has 27. Not to mention the exact same word can be said in different ways depending on its usage, such as the word “have”. We say I”I have some work to do”, and use the “v” sound, but when we say “I have to go”, suddenly you hear an “f” instead – “I haff to go”. And of course when I began to study Spanish in middle school, I realized how beyond ridiculous English was in the matter of matching the letters of the word to the way it’s pronounced. With Spanish, what you see is what you say. With English? Try this list: through, though, thought, tough, plough, thorough, hiccough, and lough (pronounced like loch). So, how you do you say the sound “ough”? God only knows.
It’s a wonder that anyone can speak this language, let alone write it.