Friday, September 25, 2009

Being British and the English Language

Someone forwarded this to me.  It tells alot about what's being British and the ironies of the English language.
I might only have spent 4 years in the UK but that experience changed my life in more ways than one.  Despite my love for travelling to the most exotic outlying regions of the world, Britain and in particular, London, would always have a special place in my heart.
Being British is about driving in a German car to an Irish pub where we drink a Belgian beer. On the way home we pick up an Indian curry or a Turkish kebab. Then we sit on Swedish furniture and watch American shows on a Japanese TV.

Most of all we're very suspicious of anything foreign.

More than that, only in Britain can you get a pizza quicker than an ambulance; only in Britain do banks leave both doors open, but chain the pens to the counter; only in Britain do supermarkets make sick people walk to the back of the store to get their prescriptions, while healthy people can get their fags at the front.

We might be British, but you can't deny that we're bloody funny.




We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find 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 called men,
Then 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 called beeth?

Then one may be that, and th! ree 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!

Let's face it - English is a crazy language.
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?

I! f teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
If a veget! arian ea ts 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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