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

GHOUGHPHTHEIGHETTEAU = Potato

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…

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Wed Nes Day

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There’s a picture of it on the internet therefore I am not the only who does this. I spell it like it sounds. That’s fonetix for you.

Exept fonetiks dusnt werk all the tim

If you can read that, you must be a teacher.

Have you ever watched a blooming reader? I’ve seen it many many times now. Never did it make such an impact on me as watching my own two boys learn that letters have certain sounds associated with them. Put the right letters together and you can make a word. Put the right words together and you can make a sentence. Put the right sentences together an you can make a paragraph. Put the right paragraphs together and you can make book.

Crash has now written 4 or 5 books. Mind you, they are entry level readers he wrote for his 5 year old brother, but still. He wrote books. He, himself, is reading slightly above grade level. His brother is following suit.

But the English language is anything but easy. Bang catches on really quick to word families. He sounds them out one letter at a time to discover the word. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Look and Loot do not sound alike.
Hair and care do sound alike.

Then there’s enough, though, plough, and cough.

WTH?

Ignoring the exceptions, of which there are many, he sounds out new words perfectly. After reading them a few times they become locked away in the sight word vault. I wish I could memorize things as easily.

Alas, I have a photographic memory. I just don’t have an SD card. I have memory like a sieve. It’s on par with that of a goldfish…

I had it a minute ago, I don’t know where it is now.

Anyway, what was I talking about?

Oh yeah. Reading…

Bang comes home with a new book to read from school every day. He’s already progressed three levels since September. Crash reads every night as well. He’ll either read to himself or to his mom or I. Then we’ll ask him about what he read. Lately, he’s into books that take place within the world of Minecraft. But isn’t that the beauty of books? There’s something out there for all of us.

Watching an emerging reader is much like watching butterfly emerge from its chrysalis. That it takes years instead of minutes makes it that much more exciting.

I wonder what kinds of chapter books he’ll like to read?

What kinds of books do your kids enjoy reading?

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Party Game! Come Join the fun!

This is an easy game…

I’ll give you 2 words. All you have to do is change one. Scroll all the way down to see what the newest word is, change a word and leave your answer in the comments. And be sure to share so we can get as many words as possible!

Here’s an example:

Hot Dog
Hot summer
hot lips
lip stick

Lets see where this takes us!

I’ll start us off with the words

Swimming Pool

An Odd Post

This story that’s not actually a story has 115 words. It’s not a normal story. It’s unusual. I can think of a story by omitting an important symbol. Can you spot what it is uncanny? You may find it amazing if you can spot this abnormality. I didn’t think I could it at first. But as I told my story, I found I could do it without pausing. Words would magically form, as if from thin air. Not all authors can do this so skillfully. It’s an ability, though not difficult if you think about it. I want you to try to do what I did. Can you jot down a paragraph without using an E?

R is for…

RI think we’ll all agree on this one. Or at least we better. Otherwise we just might not be friends any more. Of course, R is for running. I’m at mile 241 of a 1,000 mile challenge. But that’s not what R is for today. I asked Crash was R is for. His first word was rascal. Yes, definitely. They are rascals for sure. Perhaps I should introduce them to the “Little Rascals”? But they really don’t need the extra encouragement. Today, I’m acting the proper teacher parent. Continue reading