Friday, September 24, 2010


Personally, I have toiled for years on end trying to learn Spanish. I have not been very successful and probably won’t get much better at it. But, I will continue to try.

Let’s face it, learning any foreign language is a most difficult task unless you are subjected to the language from a very early age. Learning the English language has got to be one of the most difficult languages a person can attempt.

For example, if you were a teacher, how would you approach the following and convey the meaning(s) to your students??

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) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

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

Without a doubt, English is a crazy language.

There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France .

Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

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 writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?

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

One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not just one amend?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Ship by truck and send cargo by ship?

We 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. English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all.

That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick' ?

And I thought learning Spanish was difficult! Good luck to each and every one of you who are trying to learn English, or expand your knowledge of the language! It ain't easy, is it? (I feel the same way about learning Spanish!)


  1. Excellent post, very clever, now if we could just find a Spanish speaker to do the same for Spanish, but written in English, because like you I am still struggling with the learning.

  2. Nice job. Spanish is easier than English when it comes to homophones -- due to English's multi-root heritage. But I am convinced Spanish grammar is far more difficult-- a characteristic it shares with most other European languages. I will never learn Spanish colloquialisms.

  3. Great post! And so very true! I've taught many an ESL class here in Mexico and my students would always ask why English was such a crazy language to learn. :)

  4. i am a Korean & an American Critical Care RN, working with famous open heart surgeons, i had to learn not only an English but also medical English passed to the board get the licenses. you know most Korean are very eager to learn and get the top score SAT, GRE, GMAT,PHD, ETC. we do great about that but general communications, easy conversations, hearings are bad & totally different experiences. i learned french also always 100% on grammar taking test but when i was in Paris, lived in Germany, i could not speak only little words, and my hearing about french, i could not understand and cannot pick up words, so any languages are the same. your got to learn to speak first before damn grammar, you know baby talks but do not know grammar so i will learn to speak to Spanish not the damn grammar. that is my ultimate solutions. so anyone specially men, i noticed that men are more slow learning languages bc most of them are not talkers. Korean men are the same. they moved to USA, his wife picks up to speak English so fast but he cannot speak not one words and discouraged. learning languages you got to learn to talk, of course you need to study about words, so go out there speak Spanish, do not depend on wife, if you live another country you must learn their languages. it makes life much easy and happy. like me, i can communicate with American surgeons and able to explained, it took a long time but you will get it soon. English is difficult but what about learning Korean, Japanese, and Chinese, etc. ha, ha, we can do it, speak spanich, when you are live in merida.

  5. A note to all: Thank you for the nice comments. And "Suk", you are 100% correct! And a big congratulations to you for learning English and having such a wonderful career helping those in need. Thank you for that, too! And, I will try harder! :-)

  6. Tx, mikey, tx to my parent provided me such great educations & their life time commitment for us & also my husband Walter, without his help I could not do it. So if Korean woman can do it, anyone can do it. Just work hard, one day I will learn speak Spanish, we do medical Spanish very basic in hospital. I can try communicate at least. Poco poco

  7. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger;

    There was definitely something that looked like ham in the "hamburguesa" I got in Merida! LOL....there was also some pineapple and the whole thing was darn good!. Only 3 weeks and I will be there for another visit!