Cogito Patris

Random Thoughts for Random People

I both Love and Hate the English Language

As a kid I truly despised the English Language.  Not so much for the difficulty in understanding euphemisms or slang, but because I couldn’t spell.  I have mentioned before that I have Dyslexia.  This causes my brain to confuse letters when attempting to spell words.  I have a logical brain and wanted a language that made sense.

I want to implement the following rules:

1) Lets get rid of “C” – there is no reason.  “K” and “S” do an adequate job of communicating pretty much all there is that “C” does. 

2) “Q” is also unnecessary.  “KW” works just as well.

3) Silent letters should be eliminated from all words.

4) New letters should be invented for “SH”, “TH” and “CH”. (“C” and “Q” aren’t doing anything)

5) Accents should be used to indicate “long” or “short” vowel sounds.

I am blessed to live in the age of Spell Check.  In High School I got only average grades (ok, slightly above average), but in College I got high marks.  I tell people that the reason for this is that in High School the teachers couldn’t read my handwriting and assumed I was wrong.  In College the Professors couldn’t read my handwriting and assumed I was right.  But the truth is that in College I started handing everything in typed up and spell-checked.  It is amazing the difference that made.

Those people I know who have learned English as a second language tell me that spelling isn’t the hardest part of the language.  Slang is.  Words have meanings that go beyond skin deep.

This was accentuated one day when I was at the local Chick-Fil-A.  The little girl behind the counter said “My Pleasure” after I said “Thank You”.  It reminded me of a rant by Tuesday Morning Quarterback about how the recent common use of the phrase is diluting the meaning.  But I think that is one of the strengths of the language.  When a word or phrase becomes overused it will eventually be replaced.  Sometimes with another existing synonym (e.g. Wonderful) and sometimes with a related, but not obvious, slang term (remember the whole “Bad”/”Good” thing of the 80’s)

In real life, when someone asks my how I am doing I try not to answer “Fine”.  Instead I answer “Wonderful” or “Wonderbar” or “Great”.  If someone says “Hi” I try to use words like “Greetings” or “Howdy” or “Good Morning” (no matter the time of day).  The English language is rich in words and a strong and/or unusual vocabulary can bring a smile to people’s faces.

But language does have a weight associated with it.  I know the Chinese written language has a different symbol for every word in their language.  The result is a  population that can’t write…or at least can’t read.

So, here is what I have been trying to do.  I want to create a logical universal language.  I think I will start by realizing that language is, by definition, not logical and taking a break…forever.

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May 22, 2007 - Posted by | Random Thoughts, Wild Theory

2 Comments »

  1. If you have not read this classic essay, you will probably enjoy it very much – MEIHEM IN CE KLASRUM By Dolton Edwards – http://langs.eserver.org/shaw-and-meihem.txt

    Check your facts. China has a literacy rate of over 90%. Taiwan (who still uses the traditional, non-simplified text) has a literacy rate of 96%.

    Comment by Faye Ku | June 10, 2007 | Reply

  2. I did go over the edge with that statement. I guess I was trying to state that, because of the sheer volume of words, they could encounter a symbol that they had never seen on a semi-regular basis.

    Although in the English language a word may not be known to a reader, the reader may know the root by the spelling and be able to determine the meaning in context.

    So, you are right (obviously), I should change the post to be more accurate. But I will leave this comment as an admission of guilt.

    Thanks for pointing me to that article…it is really cool.

    Comment by m2morgan64 | June 11, 2007 | Reply


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