The Moody Boor Stood Bloodily Aloof

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This winter, the news media ran stories about ice dams causing damage to the roof.  How do you pronounce the word “roof?”  Why don’t all -oo- words sound alike?  Try this sentence:
While the goofy cook chewed a root and doodled in a book on the roof, a pooch looked at a boot and woofed as a kook took good food out the door.
No wonder foreigners have such a hard time with English.

True. English is tough enough to plough through, though, without that.

7 thoughts on “The Moody Boor Stood Bloodily Aloof

  1. English can be difficult, but it has a huge advantage over all the languages that have gendered nouns and conjugated verbs. Or 16 different ways of saying “the” (German). And worse, the Scandi languages require one to speak with marbles in the mouth (ask a Dane or Danish speaker to say “rød grød med fløde”). And that’s just the Euro languages.

    People should be happy with English as the worldwide “lingua franca” – hah! I love needling the French. And from what I can tell, they usually are.

  2. … and no one can agree on the “rowt” or “root” to take, but I think it’s always called a “rowter” (corrections encouraged).

  3. The best layman’s book I’ve read on linguistics & the English language is Language Made Plain by Anthony Burgess, now OOP, alas, but available used at Abebooks: https://bit.ly/2TX3h39

  4. I just was talking with a Chinese couple in my church, where the wife wanted to learn Hebrew (I’ve learned a bit), but was concerned about the difficulty. I smiled and said “you’ve learned English–Hebrew will be a piece of cake in comparison”. I’d had an earlier interaction with a Chinese-American who was reading the Bible in Greek, and when I asked about it, he said the same–that after English, Greek was easy.

  5. I’d like understand more, bb. I speak a couple of other languages and familiar with a couple, three more and for all the problems that there are with English (I accept all the comments above), I don’t understand how/why English considered all that difficult.

    Maybe it’s because I’m OCD and being able to understand and then write/speak other languages grammatically correctly is a comparison that I shouldn’t be applying.

  6. jdm, the trouble is that it’s so irregular. French, German, Latin, Greek, and nobody ever thought to harmonize declensions and the like. So it’s a tremendous amount of memorization to learn it.

  7. It’s the irregular forms of verbs and nouns that make learning any language difficult, and there are so many of them in English. Even native speakers make errors, all of the time. I eat, they eat, but he/she eats. Why the “s” at the end of “eat”? It’s not Germanic. It’s not from Latin. It’s there because in the olden days the people in Central England spoke a dialect of Celtic (now dead) where you added an “s” to verbs that described actions by individuals other than one’s self.

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