Speak English!

It is spoken by over 840 million people. That’s 840,000,000 people. It’s the second most spoken language right after Mandarin (Chinese). It’s spoken by 67 countries and 27 non-sovereign countries, ie Hong Kong and Puerto Rico.  Some sources say it originated in what is now northwest Germany and the Netherlands. There’s Old English which is the English my parents speak and is preserved in Beowulf from around the year 800. Then there’s middle English of the 1000’s, which my wife and I speak. Lastly, there’s Modern English spoken by this Millennial generation- from the 16 and 1700’s Millennials. The American Revolution included being vocabularically (that’s a word, right?) free from England.

The 20 volume Oxford dictionary includes definitions for 171,476 words. However, it also lists definitions for 47,156 obsolete words and about 9,500 derivatives as subentries. So there could be upwards of 250,000 words.

And what I love about the English language – words can be used in so many different ways to mean so many different things. The same word can be a thing, it can be an action or it could be a description.

Which brings me to the point of this post. Finally. Thanks to Stumbleupon, I found some hilarious idiosyncrasies in the English language. Ones I knew about, but never gave conscious thought to. They certainly make me relieved that English is my first language because as one Tumblr user said, “I’m glad English is my first language because if I had to learn it as a second language I’d jump off a bridge.”

1. I never said you were stupid.

You get a completely different meaning depending on which word you stress. Six words, six meanings.

2. English can be understood through tough thorough thought, though.

There’s that “ough” conundrum. Written the same five times, pronouned five different ways.

3. If womb is pronounced “woom” and tomb is pronounced “toom” shouldn’t bomb be pronounced “boom”?

It should and it will if you’re not careful.

4. Then there are contronyms.

These are words that are their own opposites. Unlike the word up, whose opposite is down, the word peruse is its own opposite. It can mean to read something in a relaxed way or it can mean to read something carefully. Egregious and nonplussed are two more examples.

5. A long time ago someone wrote “God B W Ye”. This is essentially 16th century text speak that gave us the word “goodbye”.

6. Cough, rough, though, and through don’t rhyme. They don’t even sound alike. Yet somehow, pony and bologna do. WTH?

7. A simple mark, the infamous comma (,) can change the whole meaning of sentence and even save lives.

Lets eat, kids.

While some of may have considered baking up our children after a particlarly long snow day, that comma means we’re having chicken, not children.

8. And somehow that that makes sense…115933219113-png__700

9. Then there’s this bit of comedy using idiosyncrasies…

The correct way to spell Potato

P – GH as in hiccough
O- OUGH as in dough
T- PHTH as in phthisis
A – EIGH as in eight and neighbor
T- ETT as in gazett
O- EAU as in plateau


10. For my tenth and final act I give you this gem. When you’re done reading this picture type the last sentence into Google translate and click “pronounce”.  I promise you won’t be disappointed. The boys and I have heard it a hundred times and we laugh every time.funny-english-language-jokes-3-58a1ac7da639a__700

I love the English language. It can be fun to play with. I didn’t get into the whole i before e nonsense and their/there/they’re and homographs like bow and bow. So this list could go on and on and on…



My Test

Yesterday I wrote about keeping my boys from becoming a-holes. These were rules for my boys to follow should they decide they want to date. Since the oldest is only eight, we still have plenty of time to teach, guide, and practice those rules.

And like I wrote yesterday, there book-promotion-writing-romance2were two directions I could have taken with that post. The way I chose to go yesterday were rules for my boys to follow in order to treat a girl properly. Today, I’ll flip the coin. These are rules for all those girls out there who might want to date one of my sons sometime in the distant future.

First, you must be educated. I don’t necessarily mean smart (smart is major bonus, though) but at least in school and trying. Not in school and not trying leads to stupid and stupid hurts.

You must dress appropriately. Shorts can’t be too short, skirts must be tasteful. No bra showing. Essentially, don’t dress like a hooker. You won’t make it through the front door. Consider covering up like an Amish girl.

There will be no touching, fondling, kissing, etc… I expect lady like behavior. Be a lady, not a hooch.

Ears pierced only. There’s no need for things through your tongue. It’s bad for your teeth. Isn’t there only one reason to pierce your tongue? See the previous rule.

He will not be your money machine. Sure, he’ll be the gentleman and pay for supper when you go out to eat. Don’t expect him to buy everything. Be a woman of power and buy your own shit with your own money.

He will be a gentleman, I expect you to be a lady and treat him as such. So, when he holds the door open for you, you tell him thank you. When he opens your car door you reach across and unlock his door before he gets to it. I understand this might be more difficult in the world of remote unlock buttons. But in the event you don’t have a key fob, unlock his door.

When the two of you go swimming, the less skin you show the less distracted he’ll be and the more lady like you’ll be. The less you reveal the more respect you’ll earn. Victoria’s secret isn’t a secret anymore. Your secret will remain as such.

Lastly, to my sons, the girl you choose should make you feel like you are flying. She should love you for who you are, not who she wants you to be. Yet, at the same time, you should feel you want to be the best you can be, be better than you were, just for her. Because she makes you feel like you can conquer the world. If she can’t do this then she’s not “the one”.

Should she break your heart, you’re dad will beat up her dad for raising a heartless wench.


Passing the Test

couple-holding-hands-walking-tumblr-5Ah Dad has a Test for boys to pass if they intend to date his daughters. After reading his list (and his reasoning) I feel obligated to write my own. Except, since I have two boys, I figured there were two ways to take this. This first way will correspond with Ah Dad’s rules. However, the rules will pertain to Crash and Bang. Then perhaps, I will succeed in raising two boys who can pass the test to date his Princess. With some planning, a hell of a lot of instruction, guidance, and discipline, my kids won’t grow up to be a-holes.

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Gaining Rank in Parenting

I’ve finally been promoted. After eight years (12 with their combined age) I’ve gained the rank of “Mean Dad”. Crash promoted me a few days ago when I wouldn’t let him walk to McDonald’s with the neighbors kids (as it turns out, the neighbors kids weren’t allowed to go either). He desperately wants to be independent and on his own and away from us parent types. However, he hasn’t quite grasped the concept of responsibility. Continue reading