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10.23.2013

I (eye) BEFORE E (eeee) EXCEPT AFTER C


There are just too many things in the English language that are too close in proximity to one another.  I am grateful that I am indignant to the English language by birth.  That allowed me to be absorbed from birth into a language of confusing duplication, homonyms, and synonyms.

We have words that sound the same, that are closely spelled the same as well, but have totally different meanings.  Those homonyms are conduits of confusion for even those natives of the English language.  Homonyms have to be the equivalent of Mount Kilimanjaro to those just learning English as a second language.  How do you explain that exception and interpretational guideline for using homonyms in language?

Our English language is not totally like a math equation - logical and concrete.  There are exceptions and variables.  There are subjective, creative, liberal, and interpretative uses.  I kind of like that wide open palette. It allows for a creative spin. That though no doubt drives the purists, the literature lovers and the English teachers crazy. 

Look at words like; prostate and prostrate.  There is only one letter difference, a very slight pronunciation alteration between them but they mean totally different things.  If used incorrectly the communicator appears maybe not so intelligent.  Or, how about accept and except.  Two words that are spelled different but sound almost exactly the same because we as a culture typically and sloppily mispronounce accept.  They have though different definitions.  Accept means to receive something or come to realize.  The other word, except, means not including or other than.

Then there are the words, plane and plain.  Right now you are reading this and getting cocky.  [Hey lady! Those are simple words that though they sound the same mean totally different things.]  They both have multiple definitions and at least one of them has a crossover meaning to the other word.  If I were a Russian transplant learning English as a second language those two words might make me question English as a logical language.

Those words are both nouns and adjectives. Geez!!  Plain as a noun means a broad unbroken expanse of land or something free of ornate or extraneous matter.  As an adjective it means lacking specialness, being simplistic, being obvious or unobstructed.  My own head is spinning!

Plane you might think is an airplane.  That's probably the most common noun definition that pops in our heads.  It also can be used for a flat and level surface, a level of existence.  This word plane is noun, verb and adjective. I pretty much frustrated my 7th grade English teacher with my endless questions trying to grapple with the solids and the exceptions of the English language.

The English language is akin to jazz music - it is interpretative with some underlining absolutes.  There are definitely creative options in both.

I love the post my middle sister re-posted on Facebook recently.  It said something like, "I was thinking of a word I wanted to use, but when I couldn't think how to spell it, I picked another word."

1 comment:

  1. The Egnislh lagnague si cazry; hwoveer, hmunae mdins hvae the amizang abliltiy to ovorcum msot obsticles :)

    ReplyDelete