By Rodimus Dunn
I asked a very intelligent friend recently why other countries have such a negative view of Americans. His answer centered on our great nation’s general arrogance and self-entitled behavior. I don’t necessarily disagree with his assessment, but I think the real reason is because our primary language sucks. English is the most ridiculous, difficult, and asinine language to learn and teach. This is why they can’t stand us. Arrogance is bad, invading foreign countries for oil is bad; English is far worse. I wonder how I managed to make it through school dealing with all the silly, ill-conceived, and nonsensical grammar and spelling rules that exist. I wonder how kids today can learn English and Twitter/text language at the same time. I also wonder how “won” and “one” are spelled differently but sound exactly the same?!
There are countless examples like the one is just mentioned:
- Write and right
- Son and sun
- Die and dye
- No and know
- Sea and see
I just named the first five that popped into my mind right now, and that’s a problem because by the time I finished typing this sentence I thought of several more. Teachers and linguists are always fussing about people misusing “its” and “it’s.” These words are misused because “it’s” unnecessary confusion. Why are words that mean different things spelled so similarly?
Other gems are “there” vs. “their” vs. “they’re” and “to” vs. “two” vs. “too.” Really English?! Three words that mean different things all sound exactly the same? How do people who learn English as a second language keep this straight? “Affect” and “effect” often get my goat, but not as much as words with silent letters like “often,” “honesty,” and “fight.” Can someone please explain to me the rationale behind having silent letters in words? Why aren’t there silent words in sentences? That concept is just as foolish as having silent letters in my opinion.
My last two issues with English (today) are our ridiculous use of vowels and the use of plurals. The following monosyllabic words have the same initial vowel sound:
All of those words have a different second letter! This doesn’t make any sense. Plurals are also very bizarre. I understand adding an “s” or “es” to the end of a word to make it plural. Here are a few words and their plural form:
- Mouse–> mice
- Child–> children
- Ox–> oxen
- Sheep–> sheep
- News–> _____ that’s right, for some reason the word “news” actually has no plural!
Can you follow the pattern, because I certainly can’t? English is so ridiculous; I’m not surprised more students don’t drop out of school … and earlier. What shocks me even more is that our country apparently struggles with math and science compared to other industrialized countries, not with reading and writing. Furthermore, how do people from foreign countries even conquer English if it’s their second language? Maybe we spend so much brain power as children trying to master this puzzling language monstrosity that we don’t have anything left to tackle the science and math concepts?