Tuesday, December 15, 2009

English Doesn't Make Sense!

My son yelled from the kitchen table, "English just doesn't make sense! It doesn't even follow it's own rules and lots of words can be confused with others."

"What's confusing you?" I asked.

"Nothing. Just think about it... bow can be a bow on a present or a bow tie or it can be pronounced like ow and then it means to bend over."

"You forgot that it can also mean part of a musical instrument."

He smacked his forehead and groaned as only a teenager can. "Why do I have to learn this stuff?"

"It's good for your character." I laughed.

He didn't think it was funny. It's true that English is one of the most difficult languages to master. I think it's because we're a melting pot of so many other languages. Context is key when deciding which "bow" is the correct one. I think that might be a good lesson to apply to a lot of things. If we take Bible verses out of context their meanings no longer make sense and they can be used in ways that aren't true to the rest of Scripture. If we try and listen to what people say in context to their situation and personality, maybe we'd be able to have less misunderstandings.

Do you have words you regularly mix up when reading? Do you like to play word games or do they frustrate you?


  1. Yes, English is quite the crazy language with our Germanic roots and our majority of Latin words! And with that great vowel shift...that's where are our crazy spelling came from! But Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and those African click languages! Those, I think, would be pretty darn tough to master!

    Kudos to you for homeschooling!

  2. I LOVE word games : ) That is what my mom used to do with me on all our long trips in the car. A lot of "Spell ______" and I'd spell it : ) I think part of it was because I was reading higher reading level books from a very young age. For example: I read The Wind in the Willows, Maniac McGee, Dirty Margaret, and Harriet the Spy in first grade. So, yeah, I like spelling : )

    I agree, very cool that you're homeschooling! I'm headed off to college for elementary education next year!

  3. Heather ~ Those languages you pointed out are why I had to use the phrase "one of the most difficult" and not the most difficult. I took German (we were living there), French, and just picked up little bits of Spanish. None of those were hard. Well, the French do run their words together, but altogether it does obey rules and grammar so much better than English. I wish I remembered all I learned, but age, time and fibro have robbed me of a lot of it.

    My dad went to a language institute and we learned phrases from him and his friends. I think having an altogether different alphabet and/or writing in a different direction... it can be hard to re-wire our brains to think that way. I have such an appreciation for foreign languages though.

    Hannah ~ I also love word games. I enjoy everything from Boggle to Scrabble. I don't play as much anymore because of time, but I have a couple on the computer I'll play when I get a few minutes.

    Reading is a big help, I agree. That's one of the reasons I'm always on the hunt for new and interesting books for my son to read. I figure the more he reads, the better he'll spell and write. Unlike my oldest, he doesn't take to it naturally, but I'm slowly changing him into a reader.

    Thank you both for your comments on homeschooling. It has been quite a journey, and I think I've learned just as much as my boys have.

  4. I like to keep things simple as much as possible. The more I read the more I become famaliar with words and their context.

  5. It sounds like your 2 kids are like me and my sister. I've always read, read, read! Lol! And she likes to read, but it just doesn't come as easy to her as writing, for example.

  6. My favorite "word" game is Text Twist (I think that's right??). I also enjoy crossword puzzles, thanks to my Grandma. :)

    Homeschooling actually sounds like fun!

    ~ Lori

  7. This makes me think of an I Love Lucy episode. Lucy wants Ricky to learn proper English because they are expecting little Ricky. So she has him read a kids book and he pronounced the word cough funny so Lucy corrects him and then he proceeds to pronounce tough to rhyme with cough or something like that but it's pretty funny. :)

  8. Lori, I think I've played Text Twist. The name sounds familiar to me. I'll have to look it up. I do crossword puzzles and word finds when I travel, but not usually any other time. Homeschooling has ups and downs. I don't mind anything much besides the paperwork. If I didn't have to grade and do record-keeping, it would be perfect!

    Angie ~ I think I Love Lucy was terrific! That show is so funny! :o) I remember the chocolate factory episode where she ends up stuffing her face full of all the chocolate. lol