Wednesday, August 22, 2018

What’s It All Mean? A study of words part 4 by Toi Thomas

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English is a hard language to understand, and even harder to learn.

Please put down your pitchforks. I love this language.

This is not a political statement, it’s just a reality. Don’t worry, there are other hard to learn languages out there.

Since U.S. English is my first language, (which makes me a native speaker) I'm not going to be complaining about learning to speak English. I will, however, explain why I know for a fact it’s a hard language to learn, as I continue my series on words and their meanings. Today, I’ll be focusing on the inherent confusion embedded within the English language. See parts one, two, and three of this series here. 

The word of the day is confusion.

Okay, say it with me now.
HOMONYMS, HOMOPHONES, HOMOGRAPHS, and HETERONYMS are hard to say…”

Wait, what?

via GIPHY

Yeah, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I hope you’ll take a moment to visit the link. It’s sure to get you tongue-tied, but you’ll better understand what I mean.

I first discovered, or better, came to realize, the complexity of the English language when I started studying another language. Had I tried to learn Japanese or Hindi, I don’t know if I’d come to this conclusion so quickly (it still would have happened) because they are also very complex languages. However, from what I understand, they each have a method of consistency, which is part of the issue I have with English. There are so many silent letters, letters and combinations that make different sounds depending on what you want to say, and there are the homonyms, etc...

Once I realized the English language was filled with so many contradictions and riddles, I began to seek them out. Call me a geek (I’d take it as a compliment anyway), but I love contemplating the idiosyncrasies of this language. If I had not been born a native English speaker, I’d be proud of myself if I ever managed to master the language to the point where I could speak it casually.

Below is a list of short sentences that should, hopefully, paint a clear picture of how complex and confusing this language is. If you can, try to imagine that you are new to this language and are trying to use and pronounce words correctly. You should be able to see why this could be a problem to a non-native English speaker.

Hey, that’s not fair.
I want to go to the fair.
Cater is a happy boy.
He wants to cater a party.
Aaron is a boy.
Erin is a girl.
Phil is a nice man.
Can you fill the whole?
I hope you feel better soon.
Their car is very nice.
They’re nice people, too.
There the car is.
Are you on the council. 
Counsel your children well.
Cancel your service before the end of the month.
Will you sell your car?
Will you sail with me?
Will you have a sale?
Red is my favorite color.
Have you read this book?
I don’t like to read.
I don’t eat meat.
Let’s meet for dinner.
What’s it all mean? <--See how I snuck that in. đŸ˜‰
Why are you so mean?
I don’t know what to do.
I love the morning dew.
I hope I make a profit.
I hope I meat a prophet.
Did you say no?
I don’t know.

So, what did you think? Did any of that seem like it might be confusing if you didn’t know the language? Heck, I wrote it and it makes my head spin a little.

Be sure to come back on September 5th to see the final installment in this series and come by, before that, on September 1st to read another Loki Animal Story.

While I’m currently focusing on my obsession with the English language, I do also love music. Please check out this article “Telling Stories Through Music Part 1 by Grace Augustine” if you too enjoy music.
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Find out more about me, my work, and my inspiration at the following links:

Amazon | Goodreads The ToiBox of Words | YouTube | See a list of my other posts here.

#wordsmatter, #ILoveWords
COMMENTS


MageofErana AlexB via Google+

1 month ago  -  Shared publicly
 
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Chrys Fey

5 months ago  -  Shared publicly
I often hear that English is the most difficult language to learn. We do have so many tricky things in the English language that you have to understand or you'll forever be confused.
 
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Ruth de Jauregui via Google+

5 months ago  -  Shared publicly
Toinette Thomas​ shares another great post about language -- in particular our confusing and complex English language. Stop by and check it out! #OurAuthorGang
 
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Ruth de Jauregui

5 months ago  -  Shared publicly
Another amazing post about language and oh my, you are so right about English being confusing. If native speakers have trouble, imagine learning English as an adult. Thank you so much Toi!!
 
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Nikki McDonagh

5 months ago  -  Shared publicly
English is confusing, especially with all those silent letters too. I use UK English and it is even worse than US. Interesting post.
 
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Tricia Drammeh

5 months ago  -  Shared publicly
Great post, Toi! English can be confusing, that's for sure! #OurAuthorGang  
 
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Joanne Jaytanie via Google+

5 months ago  -  Shared publicly
Toi Thomas​ part 4 on the study of words is about confusion. Check it out, you'll enjoy it. #OurAuthorGang
 
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Joanne Jaytanie

5 months ago  -  Shared publicly
Fun post, Toi! I love the list of word uses.
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Glad you liked it.


Mary Anne Yarde

5 months ago  -  Shared publicly
Great post, Toi. I think English must be one of the most difficult languages to learn. So many words sound the same but are spelt differently!!
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Yes. It's very complex.


Joe Bonadonna via Google+

5 months ago  -  Shared publicly
Today on #OurAuthorGang, author Toinette Thomas​ delves deeper into the meaning of words, the English language, and talks about heteronyms, homographs, homonyms, and homophones.
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Joe Bonadonna

5 months ago  -  Shared publicly
This is a fantastic series you have, Toi. You should collect all these into a book one day. English IS a hard language to learn, and I'm a native speaker. There are many times when I muck up its, it's, there, their, they're, hale, hail, peak, peek, council, counsel . . . I use old age as my excuse, lol! You've given some great examples. Looking forward to your next blog.
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Nah, it's not old age. There's a lot to remember, even for a native speaker. Unless someone makes a living mastering the complexities of the English language on a daily basis, mistakes are bound to be made.

+Toi Thomas -- true. We absorb so much, we're bound to absorb some bad habits and at times make those mental errors.


Chris Weigand

5 months ago  -  Shared publicly
Fun post Toi. I agree the English language can be very confusing for a non-native speaker. Based off of some of the stuff I see on FB it's even confusing for some native speakers.
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Lol. Every language has its communication mishaps when accents and dialect are taken into account, but when someone can confuse words, just on their own, that's how you know the language is tough.


Chris Weigand via Google+

5 months ago  -  Shared publicly
Join Toi as she explores the English language.
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Toi Thomas via Google+

5 months ago  -  Shared publicly
Today, I​ explore more of the complexity and confusion within the English language. #OurAuthorGang
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Grace Au

5 months ago  -  Shared publicly
Wonderful post! I was fortunate to have grown up with phonics classes in the lower elementary grades. Like you, I too have a love for words. Thank you for the shout out. Can't wait to read your next post.
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Phonics are helpful, but sometimes they not. When the letter 'f' and the letters "ph' make the same sounds, that can be a difficult concept to simply remember.


Erika M Szabo via Google+

5 months ago  -  Shared publicly
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Erika M Szabo

5 months ago  -  Shared publicly
Great post Toi! When I was at the beginning of learning English, reading came easy because as I learned new words, I learned the spelling of the words as well. Hearing people talk was a different ballgame with soundalike words. I often stopped people and asked them to spell the words I was confused with. I was amazed about the multiple meanings of certain words either spelled the same but used in different sentences or spelled differently but pronounced the same.
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Yes, it is facsincating. When learning Spanish, I was releived to see that all verbs had different spelling for the different tenses. It cuts down on the confusuion. When "I can read a book" and "I just read a book" use the same spelling, that can be confusing.


Lorraine Carey

5 months ago  -  Shared publicly
You have coined this so perfectly! As a retired elementary teacher I often had to tell students to just know the rules even though they don't make sense some times. Your post makes us all aware of how complex our words really are.
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Yes, I too worked as an educator and understood why some students struggled more than others. For them, the rules were confusing. They had to rely on memorization all the time.

+Toi Thomas exactly. You got this. x