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> This Crazy Language, English, is the most widely used
> language in the history of our planet. One in every 7
> humans can speak it. More than half of the world's
> books and 3 quarters of international mail is in
> English. Of all the languages, it has the largest
> vocabulary perhaps as many as 2 MILLION words.
> Nonetheless, 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 or
> 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 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,
> 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?
> Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends
> but not one amend, that you comb thru annals of
> history but not a single annal? 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 preacher praught? If a
> vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian
> eat? If you wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your tongue?
> Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be
> committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.
> In what language do people recite at a play and play
> at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by
> ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?
> How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
> while a wise man and wise guy are opposites?
> How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while
> quite a lot and quite a few are alike? How can the
> weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?
> Have you noticed that we talk about certain things
> only when they are absent? Have you ever seen a
> horseful carriage or a strapful gown? Met a sung
> hero or experienced requited love? Have you ever
> run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled,
> ruly or peccable? And where are all those people
> who ARE spring chickens or who would ACTUALLY
> hurt a fly?
> 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 clock goes off by going on.
> English was invented by people, not computers,
> and it reflects the creativity of the human race
> (which, of course, isn't a race at all). That is why,
> 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.
> Author unknown