For the 527 million people who call English their native language, the initial reaction to the title of this article might be “What are they talking about? English is such an easy language to speak.”
After all, unless you live in the Amazon jungle or in a monastery in the mountain somewhere (in which case, how are you reading this article right now?), you’ve probably come across English in one form or another.
Not only is English one of most commonly spoken languages in the world, it’s also the most widely-studied language in the world and commonly accepted as the international language of business. This has become even truer in the past century as globalization has become an ever greater force in our world. U.S. power and influence have caused its society, and, as a result, the English language, to spread like wildfire across the globe.
But if you actually stop for a minute and think about it, you’ll realize that English is just a hodge-podge of other languages all cobbled together to construct one often counter-intuitive language. From seemingly make-it-up-as-you-go grammar to absolutely wonky spelling rules, it’s a wonder that any of us English-speakers are actually able to communicate with each other! Maybe that’s why communication seems to be increasingly emoji-based lately.
In this post, we’re sharing five examples of some of the most bizarre, amusing, and infuriating quirks of the English language.
Eight Sentences For The Price Of One
Imagine trying to learn a new language and being told that you can create eight different sentences just by adding one word in different spots in the sentence. Would you be excited that you just learned eight new sentences without any extra work, or confused out of your mind? That’s English for you, folks.
Queue, Q, Whatever
Because English is a language that borrows liberally from other languages, it’s pretty common to run into situations like the one depicted in the above image. We stole the word “queue” from the French, and its pronunciation in the context of our language makes as much sense as serving frog legs at an American McDonalds.
Sometimes We Spell It Baloney, But It Doesn’t Rhyme With Money
Another case of a word appropriated from another language (this time from Italy), bologna yet again defies the rules of English pronunciation. Baloney, bologna, whatever.
Be Grateful That Our Forefathers Never Used Emoticons
Although actually kind of fascinating in a “fun fact” kind of way, it also serves as a scary foreshadowing of what the English language is going to look like 100 years from now.
At Least A “Bomb” Makes A “Boom”
As we already learned from the “cough, rough, though, through” example above, it’s probably best for the sake of one’s sanity to not question why words do or do not rhyme.
Still, it makes us realize how irritating it might be to learn English as a second or third language…