Annie On Writing

April 20, 2012

The English Langauge – seen from an ESL view

Filed under: humour,My Journey as a Writer — Annie Evett @ 9:18 pm
I recently attended a workshop on supporting ESL learners. It brought up a number of questions for me as a writer and lover of languages.  The presenter shared this poem with us. I loved it so much I have copied it to post up here.
I have been unable to find who wrote it – so apologies in advance – its not my work and sadly I don’t have the reference for it…
If it’s called a box and the plural is boxes,
Why does the plural of ox become oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
It’s a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
… Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be beeth?

Then one may be that, and there would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
Neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren’t invented in England.

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?

Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them,
What do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English

Should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.
In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?

We ship by truck but send cargo by ship…
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And 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.

And in closing……….

If Father is Pop, how come Mother’s not Mop.???

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