English: Why So Funny A Language?

Posted on September 22, 2010 in Culture-Vulture

By Shraddha Sankhe:

Just about how many typos does it take for you to blow your top? It takes me just one. And a repeated typo is a ‘killuh!’. Punctuation and spelling errors are errors. Grammatical typos are frustrating. How many times have you overheard people exclaim-“He can’t even draft a single sentence in English without a glitch!”. Well, I hear it. And it takes no Einstein to conclude that if E=MC² was put in quotes; it would have been much correct and easy to understand. But who cares? Apparently there are many Grammar Nazis in the world and every little error is a blow below the belt. Alright, that’s a liberal exaggeration and I assume you are getting my point.

It is often considered very wise of ‘readers’ to condemn leading newspapers for their typos. And most take much pride in it. But what is condemnable, really, is that they recommend reading Wren and Martin to most. You see the connection? It is much like “I- like- nursery-rhymes-and-Michael-Jackson-is-over-the-top.” Yes, exactly like this! Readership-leave alone quality readership in most parts of the world is a questionable rhetoric. Most start reading as college students. I particularly take immense pleasure out of digging out Orkut profiles of most Indians who claim to put in ‘Books? What birds are they?” kind of information in their “Books” section. Trust me, it is annoying-as a nation of youth-we have people who condemn newspapers, take pride in banishing books and worse, they consider they are ‘cool’! Don’t believe me? Click on your neighbor’s Orkut profile! Facebook apparently has saved the little grace, what so ever now left, of the book-banishing typo-ed for life- youth of the nation. Ouch!

Coming back to Grammar Nazis…Now this is an interesting definition of the term. Copy pasted directly from Urban Dictionary-and do not sue me for this-it goes like this-
“Someone who believes it’s their duty to attempt to correct any grammar and/or spelling mistakes they observe. Usually found hanging around chat rooms hounding “n00bs”
Ahem…so you know it. And you know it exactly how embarrassing it could be for the one attacked for this humble typo!

English is a difficult language. With a thousands of words, pathetic sense of punctuations every here and every there and the spoil sports-the archaic words could dampen the whole English learning experience! I can understand the plight of the non-English speaking souls who learn it or say, have to learn it for a better future. The tiny nuances and the apostrophes sure can be depressing. Worse, if you’ve already graduated school and still don’t speak correct English-you do not even earn sympathy!

That was about knowing English. And when it is about speaking English-we have some hilarious incidences everyday! The most famous one that I can always quote is the slip of the tongue.
“The slip of the tongue is not the fault of the mind, and those who remark are very unkind!”
Rote learn this! The next time your sibling pokes fun at your slippery mouth tissue-you got an answer-pat and ready!

Most ask me if there exists a concept called, “The slip of the finger”! Good lord, if you haven’t yet got the joke, I’d rather wait till you get it! On a serious note, the slip of the finger is nothing but an innocent typo. This term was first used in a British talk show. And as you may already know, the British are impeccably humorous. And they never mind poking fun at themselves! Mamata Bannerjee has got a lesson to learn here-in addition to English speaking without gleeking!

“There is many a slip twixt the cup and the lip!”-literally meaning plans don’t always go the way one intends. And all this in English! Who ever called English the funny language!

How come Writers write but Fingers don’t fing?
And Grocers don’t groce and Hammers don’t ham?

“I am” is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that “I do” is the longest sentence?

Think about it!

Image: http://www.smoothplanet.com/i-dont-speak-english/563/

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Shraddha Sankhe

Dear S,
This article is genre-specific. It is wholly a satire. I wrote it with a motive you to make the reader smile and acknowledge the smaller nuances of the language which is foreign to us, Indians. We use English in filling up forms, in conversations, in correspondence and most-to show off. But we never ask questions. We rarely dig the reasons behind somebody’s Grammar Nazi avatar!
Yes, I wanted to actually explain that English is a funny language. And pun was most definitely intended.
Keep reading.
-Shraddha.

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  • Roshini Thunaiventhan

    oh didin’t understand any of them !

    TOEFL Lucknow

    I would love to use a couple of your great ideas. I have read most of them and learned a lot from them. You are doing some great work.

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