Thursday, September 15, 2005

English Idiocies

Being an English teacher in Korea has made me much more aware of my strange, difficult and inconsistent mother tong. I have always known English spelling was ridiculous, to this day I*m unable to make it through a whole typed page without errors (I shift all the blame for my inadequate spelling on manufacturers of spell checkers). Students constantly catch my spelling errors, luckily I have managed to package this weakness as a **Who can spot the error first** type of game. Sometimes kids as young as eight play along.

But just to exemplify exactly what it is I*m talking about: Why do we say, **Do you have an eraser or a pen?** But use some or any when we ask **Do you have any tape or some glue?** Is it because these things are not as easily quantified? Why was an actor in a movie but on TV? How close does something have to be before we refer to it as this instead of that? And if any/some refers to plural as in **Do you have any/some markers?** and we use these forms in special cases for singular objects such as tape, glue and string than why don*t we say, **Can you pass me those glue?** Wouldn*t that be logical? Finally, why do we have so many damn two-letter word, prepositions I believ, that when omitted make sentences incomprehensible and when mixed up change the whole meaning of the sentence?

I*m sure there are rational explanations for these English idiocies however, I think everyone can agree the English language defies all logic. To sum up, here are my two favorite answers from my Let*s Go 6 writing test:

(Test: Students look to pictures for answers to written questions)

Question: What did the girl do before she went to bed?
Answer: She brushed her horse before she went to bed.
Top Answer: She brushed her house before she went to bed.

Question: Which boy is Jack?
Answer: He is the boy who is eating curry.
Top Answer: He is the boy who is eating an Indian.


1 comment:

edina monsoon said...

hahhaah I laughed out loud reading the answers. Keep me posted.