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Another One From Flaherty


Fri, Nov 15th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

I was reading one of my Spanish textbooks yesterday in an effort to restore my vocabulary when I realized that my Spanish texts are over fifty years old. If I am going to be able to speak in that language, I had better buy some new books or at least a Spanish-English dictionary. I also realized that while Spanish is a relatively easy language to learn, English is not. At least the English that is spoken in the United States or as they say in Mexico, Los Estados Unidos.

Let’s take a look at just a few of our words and try to understand just how confusing they must be to someone trying to learn English. Take a look at: To, Too, Two, For, Four, Forty, and New, Knew, News. That is enough to drive a Linguist to drink. The word, To, is usually pronounced Tuh and For is pronounce Fer. If that is the case, why shouldn’t Forty be Ferty?

Why shouldn’t ten times four be Fourty instead of Ferty or Forty? What happened to U and why wasn’t it grandfathered in? New by itself is easy to understand: New hat, New car, New wife and so on, but we must not accept News as the plural of New. But Knew? If we pronounced it the way it is spelled it would sound like Canoe. If Knew or Canoe means to Know, then Know should be pronounced Canow.

News is fresh information concerning something that has recently taken place somewhere somehow. Once we have the News, we Know or Canow something and the News or Canoes would no longer be considered as Canoes. We must realize that News or Canoes is neither singular or plural even though we sometimes ask, “What’s New or Canoe?”

I don’t know about you, but I am going to wish that I had stuck with my Spanish lessons and left the study of English to the British who started it all. To make matters worse, my wife has just read what I have written so far, and informed me that if I have nothing better to do with my time, she has a few things in mind. It appears that I won’t get back to my Spanish lessons for a week or two since I am going to be occupied cleaning out the garage, re-arranging the mess in the basement, and sorting out my sock drawer. Hasta la vista.

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