(A Dialogue with the Reader about the English language)
“When I use a word… it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less”.
Humpty Dumpty, Through The Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll
Dear reader, I hope you like and know English. I’ve been studying it for 11 years and still it remains unknown.
I’d like to present you some thoughts about the language which is considered to be “lingua franca” – the English language. No one will deny the fact that English has become international, the most widespread, the most popular, the most widely learned, the most, most….language.
I am going to present you my personal feeling and understanding of the English language – it is…. FOR EVER UNKNOWN.
So, let’s start…
English is difficult.
It’s difficult to disagree. Dear reader, if you don’t agree, you’ll know the answers to some questions. Why bring-brought – brought doesn’t mean that drink – drought – drought? As far as I know there are about 450 irregular verbs. Who knows all? Is it possible to learn? I guess your answer: everything has its roots in the history. And why then read – read-read, find – found – found (not found-founded – founded)! Questions, questions, questions…
One more “hard nut to crack” – English tenses. Just imagine lakes of learners’ bitter tears and a wet smile of those who has conquered the English tenses. Great job!!!
English is different.
Dear reader, do you know how many Englishes are in the world? Even my computer underlined the word “Englishes”, it’s difficult to understand. I know some: British English, American English, Australian English…Recently I’ve found more – Renglish (Russian English), Franglais, Spanglish, Konglish, Chinglish… Countries using
English as either a first or a second language are located on all five continents, and the total population of these countries amounts to about 49% of the world`s population. Half of the planet speaks Englishes!
I’ve looked through the names of the dictionaries – A Dictionary of South African English, A Dictionary of Caribbean Usage, The Canadian Oxford Dictionary, The Dictionary of New Zealand English…I’ve even come across “World Englishes” – Journal of English as an International and Intranational Language.
I can continue my list: Scottish English, Welsh English, Cockney, Brummy…
More Englishes: Slang, jargon, Business English…
Is it enough?
English is dynamic.
This is a language that`s everywhere now and it has taken and continues to take words from every other language in the world. English adopts these words in its own way. Words and expressions that people around the world are using become part of English. Even the grammar is changing! English gains a new word every 98 minutes (or about 14.7 new words a day).
Only some examples for you, my reader:
Avatarbazaarbungalowbandannadeskfast (desk+breakfast)netiquette (net + etiquette)”lol,” meaning “laugh out loud”pescatarian (vegetarian eating fish)Googleability (ability to search the net)”momager,” the mother of a celebrity who also serves as business manager
Really, English is unstoppable! How do you feel about this word?
I’ve decided to contribute the rapid development of English by inventing my own word: Writing the essay about English took much time and I feel overgoogled today.
English is inventive.
Do you know that the longest word in the English language, according to the Oxford English Dictionary is: – pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.
The sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” uses every letter in the English alphabet.
You can also find a lot of examples proving inventiveness of the language. I’d like to present you a story of an expression known to everybody – the story of OK. We get used to it and don’t know what exactly it means.
The word O. K. was firstly used in 1838 by Boston newspaper. They tried to make the journal more interesting by using abbreviations such asI. D. N (I don`t know). The OK is from the misspelled “oll korrect”. The O. K. again appeared in the campaign for U. S. President of Martin Van Buren. The O. K. Club was established to support Van Buren in the election. This O. K. stands for Old Kinderhook which is his hometown. Even though he lost the election it brought a big popularity to the word O. K. The popularity of O. K. is widespread and continues until present.
English is surprising.
If you are fond of discoveries I recommend you to investigate the origin of some English words. There will be plenty of surprises. Welcome to the unforgettable journey – Origin of English Words!
Mandarin… You feel it to be of Chinese origin, but it came from Swedish.
Penguin…No, it’s not from the North. It consists of two Welsh words, pen and gwyn, which mean “head” and “white”
Sabotage. Great story! Striking workers damaged machinery by throwing shoes into it. Sabot is an old French word for a wooden shoe.
Yogurt, a mispronunciation of a Turkish word.
Do you want to continue? So, try to find the origin of only some: (I have done)
Raining cats and dogs!
Curiosity killed the cat!
A month of Sundays
Bob`s your uncle
Full of beans
Are you impressed, my reader?
English is simple.
Sounds strange? Well, let’s compare English and Russian. There are 26 letters in English and 33 in Russian as you know. There are 6 cases in Russian and only one case (Possessive) for nouns in English. In English there is no gender. Am I persuasive? I know that you can give your counterarguments that in English there is Gerund, the Articles, the system of Tenses… But this is another story.
Recently I’ve found amazing facts. Believe it or not?…
There are fewer than 100,000 words in the French language.
The Oxford English Dictionary contains only about 600,000.
The average American’s vocabulary – 20,000 words.
English passed the 1,000,000 threshold on June 10, 2009 at 10:22 am GMT! It’s – Web 2.0
English is strange.
A human race is not a race
Boxing rings are square
Nose can run
Slim chance and fat chance are the same
The word “set” has over 100 meanings
When the stars are out they are visible but when the lights are out they are invisible
So, my reader, I tried to show you the different sides of the English language. English is beautiful, funny, astonishing, strange, global and simple. English is surprising, inventive, mysterious, unbelievable, difficult, crazy, unbearable, inventive, dynamic, unpredictable and confusing… English is the most, most… UNKNOWN…
You are welcome to continue this list, my reader.