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Phuket Humor: Why is English so hard to learn?

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PHUKET: Let’s face it, English is a ridiculous language.

There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in a hamburger; neither apple nor pine in a pineapple. English muffins were not invented in England, nor French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.

You cannot buy boots in Boots, you cannot buy virgins in Virgin, you cannot buy threshers in Threshers and the Superdrug chain is a great disappointment.

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 bakers bake, but grocers don’t groce?

If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth?

One goose, two geese. So one moose, two meese?

One index, two indices?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?

We ship by truck and send cargo by ship and 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 a wise guy are opposites?

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 goes off by going on.

Here are some more examples of how difficult it is to learn English:

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) I did not object to the object.

9) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

10) They were too close to the door to close it.

11) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

12) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

13) I shed my clothes in the shed.

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 finally, how about when you want to shut down your computer you have to hit “START”?

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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