December 27, 2006

Stuff the dictionary

If there’s one thing that Scrabble, Boggle or Countdown are any good for, it’s reminding you how stupid the English language is. My mum asked a good question:

How do you pronounce “Ough”?

Is it like Cough? Bough? Dough? Nought? Thorough? Through?

The Americans can’t spell Colour. But then neither can we. It should be culur or even culler.

Why do we put up with this traditionalist nonsense? Why don’t we march on Oxford and inform the OED they’re wrong?

Millions of kids ‘fail’ at English. But is it surprising when the English language is such a ruddy great big hurdle to speaking, reading and writing?

There’s things I love about English. The lack of all those male/female verbs for one thing. The EU should make everyone speak English. They’d save billions on translation. But we need to sort out our pronunciation first.

Britain’s quite a traditional country but we’ve never been afraid of doing something differently if the first attempt didn’t work. Look at Wembley. The railways. The M6. Corner shops.

So dictionary people, stop inventing utterly useless fad-words like “Crunk” and “Celebutante” and start doing something useful! You can start with weird, believe and leisure. Shall we just ban ‘i before e’ outright?

- 3 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. I’m not sure whether you’re being serious or humourous.

    I’m also not quite sure wheather you’re asking for a further universalisation of English (in terms of phonetics rather than SPAG) or driving against that…

    English is a universal language for a reason but the rules governing the writing system are still essential in maintaining the universaility of the language. There’s no real point in “fixing” phonetic anomolies (such as turning Knight into Nite or Night or some such) or turning colour into what you have suggested purely on the basis of some ancient etymology :P.

    Speaking of which we should really be pronouncing “Tea” “Teh” or if we go further up the etymological ladder “Shay” or “Cha”. “Coffee” should be “Cafe” or “Gahuweh” or “Qahuwah”. “Sugar” should be “Sucre” or “Sukr”. And Orange? Pah! Norange forever!

    27 Dec 2006, 16:49

  2. The lack of all those male/female verbs for one thing

    Unless you mean actions only available to either the male or female populace, I assume you mean nouns.

    27 Dec 2006, 19:41

  3. ...Thorwald beat me to it.

    28 Dec 2006, 01:03

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