Monday night marks Brian’s, oh I don’t know, 217th time attempting to beat me in a game of Scrabble…(attempting being the key word here).
It was a valiant effort, and strategic at that. Brian figured that he’d have the advantage if:
- Pregnancy brain ruled.
- He turned the television on.
- He waited until the very end of the day when I was dead tired.
Alas, I. Will. Not. Be. Defeated.
But I will say that there’s nothing like a game of Scrabble to get me riled over the ridiculousness of the English language.
Let me put it this way: I’m so thankful and blessed that English is my native language, because if I ever had to pick it up as a second language, I think I’d really struggle with the inconsistencies of pronunciation and spelling.
Play along with me, will you?
Pronounce these words aloud (do it!), and notice the spelling similarities and differences:
Time vs. thyme.
Pie vs. high
High vs. my
Ice vs. Police
Police vs. Polite
Kite vs. Might
Sorry vs. Worry
Crying tears vs. Ripping tears in a page
Tear (a page) vs. There vs. Their
Tear (a page) vs. Bear vs. Bare vs. Fare vs. Fair vs. Air vs. Err
More vs. Floor
Less vs. Guess
Two vs. To vs. Too vs. New vs. Few vs. Glue vs. Blue vs. Blew (Why isn’t there a fourth ‘2’ spelled Tew? Or a fifth ‘2’ spelled Tue – especially considering Tuesday?)
Oh the joys of boys! vs. Oh the noise of boys!
Hammer vs. grammar.
Shower vs. Mower.
Shower, Flower Power vs. Show, Flow, Pow.
(Soft ‘C’) Site vs. Cite.
(Hard ‘C’) Soil vs. Coil.
Soil, coil, boil vs. Loyal.
Maze vs. Phase
Phase vs. Faze
Faze vs. Days
Days vs. Daze
(For a good) Cause vs. Because vs. ‘Cuz
Pen vs. Pin
Gum vs. Dumb
Thumb vs. Some
Some vs. Dome
Dome vs. Roam
Roam vs. Comb
Comb vs. Womb
Womb, Tomb vs. Room, Loom
Loom, Doom vs. Fume
Glow, Flow vs. Plow, Cow
I could go on and on and on…
This doesn’t even begin to touch on words that are spelled the same with different meanings (ex. I mean it vs. You’re mean. Or I saw it vs. Let’s saw wood.)
But the one that always perplexes me:
“Blessed are the peacekeepers… (which is commonly read bless-ed, being pronounced with two syllables).”
Yet, “we’re blessed” is pronounced with one syllable. And dictionaries disagree with each other as to which it should be.
I think you get my point here.
So… I used to have this boss who seemed shamelessly racist when he’d puff out his chest and declare, “Welcome to America… Now speak English.” Naturally, he never had the nerve to say this TO anyone who wasn’t American. No, he preferred to be cowardly and confront the invisible, make-believe Mexicans in his office, with American bystanders nervously chuckling at his ignorance.
Listen. If you think English is sOoOoOoOo easy, it’s probably because you were born with English-speaking parents.
The next time you receive service from someone who is at least trying to hammer it out, be nice to them. Perhaps even compliment or encourage their attempts or ask how long they’ve been studying the language. ‘Cause let’s face it, English doesn’t make much sense (vs. since). We make rules, then break (vs. brake) them.
(Dismounting my soapbox for now.)