Kurt McKee

lessons learned in production

Hey there! This article was written in 2006.

It might not have aged well for any number of reasons, so keep that in mind when reading (or clicking outgoing links!).

English is tuff

Posted 7 December 2006 in english, esperanto, language, misspelling, ough, and rant

Aaron and I were discussing languages, and I indicated that the only language I've really thought would be interesting to learn would be Esperanto, a constructed language, the brainchild of a guy in the 1880s. I'm a big fan of simple and powerful things being brought together in complex ways. Unfortunately, English is a complex thing, so people usually bring words together in merely simple ways.

To demonstrate the spellingal complexitiness of English - never mind the grammar! - I cited the letters 'ough'.

  • through (oo)

  • though (oh)

  • tough (uff)

  • cough (off)

  • bough (ow)

  • bought (aw)

You can also throw in 'lough' (awk) and 'hiccough' (up), depending on your nationality.

It's too bad that spelling and pronunciation are so crazy, although I absolutely cannot stand the imbecilic suggestions to impose phonetic spellings on written English. Interestingly, I generally agree with the changes that Noah Webster made while creating his dictionary - "jail" seems more reasonable than "gaol". Nonetheless, I am strongly opposed to these asinine petitions for phonetic spellings of English words. I don't think that the written language should be directly tied to - or confined by - the spoken form. Context should not be the only clue to meaning.

Also, why in the world is Will Smith's new movie's title misspelled? "The Pursuit of Happyness "?! On the assumption it's not spelled that way in reference to something in the movie, ~~what kind of pretentious and arrogant - or, worse, straight up ignant - person decided to misspell the word "happiness"?! It's a crying shame.~~ [Edit: The misspelling is indeed in reference to something in the movie. Thanks, Toni.]

Wait, what was I originally writing about? Oh, right.

Yeah, Esperanto looks interesting enough to learn for fun, but starting next quarter I'm going to be learning Spanish. Maybe another year.