English is stupid

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,971
The only thing consistent about the English language is how inconsistent it is. This is a topic that I probably spend more time thinking about than most native English speakers because my wife is not a native English speaker and sometimes the way she words things sounds silly until I think about what she said and realize that it was more logical than the "appropriate" phrase I would have used, which would have been actual nonsense.

But that is not what has me thinking today. Today I want to use the word "oversight" to mean what it actually should mean: the sight that an overseer has. But no, in the context I want to use it, it would be too easily construed as [an] oversight, which is near enough the exact opposite of oversight. And there is no word that quite fits the blank like oversight would have, had it not have had it's meaning inverted. Have had have have had had had have had have. Aaaahhhhh!!!! Why!? This tool is broken!

Feel free to dogpile this broken p.o.s. language with your own examples. Or try to defend it, if you think it can be defended.
 

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
8,816
Oops, that was an oversight on somebody's part.

I sympathize with your wife. I find the language spoken where I live to be strange, but with some practice I can remember simple common phrases and though the actual words do not make a lot of sense when translated to English, at least the effect on the listener is predictable. Consequently I don't try very often to form original sentences.Hey! I've only been here for 21 years, give me some time:)

Your wife is doing well, at least compared to this old guy.
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
30,104
I mostly agree.
English is a bastard language derived from several others.
It's difficult to spell, difficult to pronounce (why does "ph" have the sound of "f") and difficult to understand many of the word meanings.
I pity anyone trying to learn it, if it's not their native language (or even if it is). :rolleyes:
 

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,971
I mostly agree.
English is a bastard language derived from several others.
It's difficult to spell, difficult to pronounce (why does "ph" have the sound of "f") and difficult to understand many of the word meanings.
I pity anyone trying to learn it, if it's not their native language (or even if it is). :rolleyes:
Yeah, why does PH make a F sound? And why did the most of the world adopt English as a de facto standard 2nd language before it was even done with puberty? We didn't even have a letter J until sometime after 1820 when this alphabet was penned:
20220516_112806.jpg
How would little Jacob spell his name in 1819? GHacob?
 

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
8,816
Yeah, why does PH make a F sound? And why did the most of the world adopt English as a de facto standard 2nd language before it was even done with puberty? We didn't even have a letter J until sometime after 1820 when this alphabet was penned:

How would little Jacob spell his name in 1819? GHacob?
Simply because the English had colonies all over the world before they figured out that it was too much trouble. Earlier it was the French who were on a similar colonization binge.
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
30,104
why did the most of the world adopt English as a de facto standard 2nd language
I think it's simply because the US and the British countries have English as their primary language, and they hold the most sway in the first world counties.
French used to be the language of diplomacy, but they didn't have enough clout to maintain that.
 

GetDeviceInfo

Joined Jun 7, 2009
2,100
I met my current wife shortly after she arrived from Eastern Europe. I had many whole hearted laughs as she explored phrasing her new found language. I work with legal and contractual language, both written and verbal. It demands that ideas are accurately articulated. They say, and I am currently exploring the concept, that the written word frees ones mind. Could be bs, but it's interesting non the less.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
25,469
I think it's simply because the US and the British countries have English as their primary language, and they hold the most sway in the first world counties.
French used to be the language of diplomacy, but they didn't have enough clout to maintain that.
English is almost a universal language as a result of the British empire.
Britain has been occupied, ruled and populated by many different peoples and languages over the century's, and this is a main reason for the mixture of words that make it up.
From the Gaelic Norse, Roman, French. etc. etc.
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
6,010
While I sympathize with the difficulty for speakers of other languages in learning English, I can’t agree that it is stupid.

In fact, there is a reason why English has been adopted as the lingua franca of Technology, and why it is so widely spoken as a second language: the unmatched ease with which English and English speakers accept neologisms and loan words makes it very, very expressive and precise.

English spelling is a problem only because for some reason “spelling” is very important to us (it is taken as a sign of intelligence and learning) and the various origins of the words determine how they are spelled—mostly. There is a slight tendency to normalize spelling if words seem to have related sounds.

For example the words were originally “connect” and “connexion” because of their Latin origin. Connect comes from ”” but connection is from “conexio”. It is only (relatively) recently that ”connection” was invented because of other similar words ending in “-tion”.

There have been attempts to formally normalize English orthography, for example getting rid of “C” and using “S” and “K” as needed but people are very resistant to such changes, it seems to rub them the wrong way even if it is rationale. Perhaps it is related to the reason why we insist on “good spelling”, when words look misspelled they rankle. It’s like speaking with an accent not your own, it seems wrong at a level pretty far down in the workings of the brain.

As for idioms, every language has them. They don’t make sense much of the time, but it is like knowing a word—in this case it is knowing a phrase—even if you don’t know the origin.
 

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,971
Simply because the English had colonies all over the world before they figured out that it was too much trouble. Earlier it was the French who were on a similar colonization binge.
Let us not forget the Spanish! Their language and DNA is sprayed across the globe as well.

I do not "speak Spanish," but once upon a time, I could almost claim that I did. I took it in high school and it's one of the only subjects that interested me, so one of the only subjects I put any effort into. In the evenings after school I worked at a fast food restaurant and all the cooks spoke Spanish exclusively. Since I was the only one on the shift capable of communicating with them beyond grunts and finger pointing, I ended up being the "translator." I've since forgotten most of what I knew, but still sometimes when I search for a word, the only word that comes to me is the Spanish word, and once it's there in the front of my mind I can't see past it and find the English word.
 

atferrari

Joined Jan 6, 2004
4,632
As for idioms, every language has them. They don’t make sense much of the time, but it is like knowing a word—in this case it is knowing a phrase—even if you don’t know the origin.
Absolutely true.

Myself, native in Spanish, after going for more than 30 years to work in Brazil (they speak Portuguese), I still feel somewhat blocked when I hear what anyone attending your phone call, will say upfront: Pois não... (somebody took the pain to teach Google translator the actual meaning).

Another one, less troubling to me: bem mal...

World is fun sometimes.
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
8,391
My Google must be broken. It's only finding typos of nonetheless.
At the top of the page, Google says it searched for nonetheless. It automatically assumed you entered the term incorrectly. However, it has an option to search for “non the less” instead. The line below will search for “non the less”. You need to use your Google foo!

i have personally heard the other form used in conversation. You’ll often hear it in tech companies with many Indian technicians.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
1,834
At the top of the page, Google says it searched for nonetheless. It automatically assumed you entered the term incorrectly. However, it has an option to search for “non the less” instead. The line below will search for “non the less”. You need to use your Google foo!

i have personally heard the other form used in conversation. You’ll often hear it in tech companies with many Indian technicians.
Thanks captain, but please show all (any) of the foreign language examples that use this term. I used quotes and searched Google of several non-English language countries. Good luck.
 
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