Yo, Inglish. It’s time too goe back too scool.

I have read that one of the largest Chinese dictionaries contains 56k characters. Wow. Amazing, no? How could a person possibly memorize all those?! Imagine those Chinese kids going to school and learning how to write one character. (I hear that 3,000 under your belt is a good amount.) Oh boy! We learned how to write “Elephant,” today, only 2,999 left to go!

…But we must pause before criticizing another culture for it’s seemingly impractical language.

I want you to run this next scene through your mind in light of that previous one.

“Good morning class! Today we’re learning about silent E. It makes the vowel in the word long! Except for sometimes, like when you say simile, catastrophe or cliché, in which case the vowel before it isn’t long, and the E isn’t silent. But that’s beside the point. And does everyone remember yesterday’s lesson, about C? When it’s before an I, or E, it’s like an S, and if it’s before anything else, it’s pronounced just like a K. Unless you’re saying façade, but that’s French anyway. I mean English, but it’s borrowed French…And Wikipedia-knows-why we have a C in our alphabet in the first place…”

It may be a little unfair to criticize Mandarin, Japanese, or Cuneiform, when our own language has its cumbersome pet inconsistencies.

Be understanding of other scripts. After you’ve got that down, you can either fix, or accept, our improper language.

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15 thoughts on “Yo, Inglish. It’s time too goe back too scool.

  1. English is a really odd language. I didn’t pay attention to it much until I met my husband (English is his 4th language). He constantly questions why a word is pronounced one way when it looks like it should read like something else, or points out that this word makes no sense, or that some proper grammar completely violates another rule. It’s really quite inconsistent and arbitrary compared to some other languages out there.

    • Poor Mr. Bazelli! You should’ve just learned his language and spared him the grief of learning ours, he he he 🙂 But then again, English just goes to show you how inconsistency can be beautiful. Just think how boring it would be if it made sense…

      • Hehe I tried learning, but I’m not gifted with tongues. I think if it were more consistent I’d be tempted to make up new words and rules… wait, I already do that… LOL

  2. I never criticize another language. (I think there’s a beauty in the semi-ideographic script of Chinese – some characters represent whole words, but combine a couple characters together and you have a whole new word that’s wholly unrelated to the concepts of the component characters, and pronounced nothing like either. It’s mesmerizing, even knowing not one whit of it.)

    And yes, there’s a beauty in the impracticality of our own language. The inconsistency is the evolution of the tongue as it borrows from a thousand other sources and assimilates them. It’s a wonderful analogue for the culture of we English speakers: assimilating and combining and stirring into some new and beautiful concoction.

    • “It’s a wonderful analogue for the culture of we English speakers: assimilating and combining and stirring into some new and beautiful concoction.” I didn’t think about it like that, but that’s very true. Can I quote you for my next post?

  3. I don’t know if “dislike” certain languages could also mean criticizing, but there are some languages which I do not like the sound, thus I am not interested in learning.
    As for my native language, Bahasa is considered one of the easiest language on earth, why? because we do not have tenses. We only need to remember vocabulary. It’s simple:-)

    • Interesting. So, how do you express actions that occurred in the past versus actions that will or may occur in the future, actions that started in the past and are still ongoing versus actions that started and are already finished in the past?

      Are there other external vocubulary markers, separate from the verb, that mark these sorts of uses?

      • Are there other external vocabulary markers, separate from the verb, that mark these sorts of uses?

        Yes, only time signals like yesterday- kemarin, tomorrow- besok

        so if you master Indonesian vocabulary, then it’s easy for you to come here and communicate in our Bahasa.
        Each language is unique, even the Chinese.

  4. Awssum awssum awssum!!!! I luvved this vun!!!

    Pheww… So many rules, so many exceptions in the English language… And yet, I LOVE IT!!!! It is poetry, it is magical, and it is not even my first language! But who cares! I still love it! 🙂
    But I am pretty sure that the other languages are equally “good” … what a word to use here! How can a language be good or bad?! It’s a language, for God’s sake!!!
    Language itself it quite an amazing thing to have happened to us… Cuz we have so much trouble communicating even when we have so many wonderful languages.. I cannot even begin to imagine what would’ve happened if we didn’t have any!!! 🙂

    Loved your post! Very very thought-provoking !

    • Ha! You’re right, how do you judge whether a language is good or not?! 🙂 Can a color is good or bad? Just pretty or ugly, as someone said recently. For instance, I wouldn’t want to learn Spanish, whereas German is rather beautiful.

      Thanks for dropping in Kavita! (Have a seat? Would you like some coffee?)

  5. Pingback: Too Busy « House of Happy

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