English language at its arguably best… (or worst?)

Posted: 21. January 2012 in interesting, random thoughts
Tags: , , , ,

Hello everybody,

from reading some of my blog posts (or the ‘About’-Page) you might have guessed already that I am not a native english speaker. Nonetheless I am living in an english speaking country and I do catch weird phrases from time to time and just think, wtf?

Anyway, english might be one of, if not the most spoken language on this planet. Still, I think it has some weak moments and I think it is time to list but a few… 😉

Now, in no particular order and randomly collected in the internet:

Can anyone explain this pic below?

How strange can a language be?

  • There is no egg in an eggplant. It doesn’t look or taste like an egg.
  • There is no ham in a hamburger.
  • There is no pine nor apple in a pineapple.
  • Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.
  • English muffins were not invented in England and French fries were not invented in France, so where did such names come from?
  • Some names seem to describe the opposite of what the things really are:
  • Quicksand pulls you down slowly.
  • Boxing rings are square.
  • A Guinea pig is not from Guinea and it is not a member of the pig family.
  • Some examples of why you cannot blindly follow English grammar rules:
  • If writers write and painters paint and riders ride, then why don’t fingers fing or hammers ham?
  • If the plural of tooth is teeth and the plural of goose is geese, then shouldn’t the plural of phone booth be phone beeth and the plural of moose be meese? Maybe they should be, but they aren’t.
  • If the teacher taught, why didn’t the preacher praught?
  • If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what do you think a humanitarian eats?
  • How can a house that is burning up finally end in being burned down?
  • At a bank or loan office, how can you fill in the necessary information as you fill out the forms?
  • Why is it that when the stars are out they are visible, but when the lights are out they are invisible?
  • Why do people recite at a play, yet play at a recital?
  • Why do people park on driveways but drive on parkways?
  • 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?
  • How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

Answer: I simply don’t know.

20 weird English words:

1. Erinaceous
Like a hedgehog

2. Lamprophony
Loudness and clarity of voice

3. Depone
To testify under oath

4. Finnimbrun
A trinket or knick-knack

5. floccinaucinihilipilification
Estimation that something is valueless. Proper pronunciation based on Latin roots: flockə-nowsə-nəkələ-pələ-fək-ation.

6. Inaniloquent
Pertaining to idle talk

7. Limerance
An attempt at a scientific study into the nature of romantic love.

8. Mesonoxian
Pertaining to midnight

9. Mungo
A dumpster diver – one who extracts valuable things from trash

10. Nihilarian
A person who deals with things lacking importance (pronounce the ‘h’ like a ‘k’).

11. Nudiustertian
The day before yesterday

12. Phenakism
Deception or trickery

13. Pronk
A weak or foolish person

14. Pulveratricious
Covered with dust

15. Rastaquouere
A social climber

16. Scopperloit
Rude or rough play

17. Selcouth
Unfamiliar, rare, strange, marvelous, wonderful. For example: The List Universe is such a selcouth website!

18. Tyrotoxism
To be poisoned by cheese

19. Widdiful
Someone who deserves to be hanged

20. Zabernism
The abuse of military power or authority. I wonder how long it will take for this one to show up in the comments.

There are also plenty of self-contradicting words in the English language.

I’m sure there is plenty of other stuff but I’ll let you do your own research 😉


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