Home > Education, Life > The Stupidity of the English Language

The Stupidity of the English Language

September 12, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

English is a stupid language. It’s already bad enough that we have to memorize so many grammatical and spelling rules and so much worse that we have to memorize perhaps just as many exceptions to those rules. For us, it’s easy to pick up on little things because we live in an English-speaking community, but for people from other countries where English isn’t the predominant language, it’s much harder.

A lot of inconsistencies make it hard for people learning English for the first time. Consider the words “eggplant” and “pineapple”. There aren’t any eggs in eggplants and neither pine nor apple in pineapples. I didn’t know this until recently, but flammable and inflammable essentially mean the same thing. Anyone who hasn’t heard of these words would obviously assume they are antonyms but for some reason, they mean the same thing.

English spelling is messed up. It should be more consistent and phonetic with fewer rules and exceptions. For example the rule “i before e except after c or sounded like a” has many exceptions that it’s not really a rule anymore. Words that don’t follow the rule include:

caffeine, either, geisha, protein, seize, weird, species, etc…

Since English is used everywhere in this world, it should be simple and logical so that everyone can easily learn it and effectively communicate with others. A lot of words have silent letters which serve no useful purpose and many words like “desert”, “bow” and “wind” have different pronunciations depending on the context of the sentence. Therefore, it would be much simpler if every word is spelled exactly the way it’s sounded. When we email and text message, we abbreviate words like “u”, “thru” and “nite” so why can’t we shorten words to how it’s sounded when we write for the same reasons? Almost all words would have fewer letters meaning that we save effort, ink, paper, money and most importantly, time.

For fun, here are two somewhat incoherent passages. See if you can read them effortlessly:

When “say,” “they” and “weigh” rhyme, but “bomb,” “comb” and “tomb” don’t, wuudn’t it maek mor sens to spel wurdz the wae thae sound? Eether wae, the consept has yet to capcher th publix imajinaeshun. Thae sae th bee selebraets th ability of a fue stoodents to master a dificult sistem that stumps meny utherz hoo cuud do just as wel if speling were simpler. Americans doen’t aulwaez go for whut’s eezy — witnes th faeluer of th metric sistem to cach on. But propoenents of simpler speling noet that a smatering of aulterd spelingz hav maed th leep into evrydae ues.

Can you raed tihs? Olny srmat poelpe can. I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig, huh? Yaeh, and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

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