Languages are so amazing.
Prior to learning Korean, I didn’t have any interest in language itself. Language was simply thought of as a ‘tool’ to get my point across. ‘Yeah I know English and Chinese – the end.’ It didn’t occur to me how powerful and profound languages are.
Currently, I am reading ‘Understanding Language’ by Elizabeth Grace Winkler. It’s a great introduction to linguistics and I learnt more about English than I did for the past 19 years.
Has it ever crossed your mind why the plural of Knife is spelled Knives instead of Knifes?
In old English, f was pronounced as ‘f’ when it occured in front of at the back of the word, it is pronounced as ‘v’. However, the French spoken by the Normans who invaded England also had exactly the same sound but it was scribed as v instead. Hence, to better reflect its pronounciation in spelling, knifes was scribed as knives from then on.
In Singapore, classes are taught in English (British English) and we learn our respective mother tongue in a separate class. However, we don’t have a language that is distinctly ours. I don’t feel intensely proud that I can speak English or Chinese and perhaps that’s the reason why I have never bothered to learn more about its history. Most of the teenagers from English educated families can’t even conduct a fluent conversation in Chinese!
I feel so ignorant! Up till now, the only difference I know of between British and American English is: colour/color; organisation/organization. Being exposed to both American and British English through books and media content, I hadn’t realised that sofa and couch are simply different varieties of English meaning the same object! I have always thought of them as synonyms that everyone who speaks English knows ><
Perhaps in our Singapore Variety of English, they are both interchangeble and understood by all.
I feel inspired to keep on digging and learning more about languages.
English is a funny language; that explains why we park our car on the driveway and drive our car on the parkway.
Source: Quote Garden