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English: What a language! Let's face it -- English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplantnor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffinsweren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candieswhile sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

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   English: What a language!

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we findthat quicksand can work very slowly, boxing rings are square and a guineapig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writerswrite 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? Onegoose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, thatyou comb through annals of history but not a single annal? If you havea bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do youcall it? If teachers taught, why didn't preacher praught? If a vegetarianeats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? If you wrote a letter, perhapsyou bote your tongue?

Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to anasylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at aplay and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Havenoses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chancebe the same, while a wise man and wise guy are opposites? How can overlookand oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike?How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?

Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they areabsent? Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful gown? Meta sung hero or experienced requited love? Have you ever run into someonewho was combobulated, gruntled, ruly or peccable? And where are all thosepeople who ARE spring chickens or who would ACTUALLY hurt a fly? You haveto marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burnup as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm clock goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativityof 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 why, when I windup my watch, I start it, but whenI wind up this essay, I end it?



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