English is mainly spoken in regions and countries colonized by the British. For example – India, Australia, Africa and America. Yes, you read it right, even America, the super power of today, was colonized by the British. Today, English has become a global language. Even the Chinese and the Japanese, who are known to staunchly resist anything English, have now begun learning the language, with the help of classes or online tutorials. The language has the ability to confound even its most fluent speakers and writers. What is that one factor or in this case, factors that gives the first time and even some veteran English speakers and writers, sleepless nights? And also leaves them fumbling for answers and going red in the face?
Well, it is the ambiguity of the language that even the Professors of English are afraid of. As English is a Germanic Language, it is made up of languages like German, Dutch, Scandinavian languages and Flemish. Some of the words that are regularly used in English borrow heavily from German. Words like ox, grass, pig, knight, tree, knife etc., find their roots in the Deutsch land. It would be mean of one to not pay homage to the other languages that have helped English attain the position of being that one global language that binds us all. English has also been heavily influenced by Greek, Spanish, Latin and French.
Sometimes, English follows the rule of the sound or the spelling. See and sea sound the same, but have different meanings. Vowels and Consonants both change the pronunciation of a word or words. Other examples of similar-sounding-but-spelt-differently-words would be – there-their, deer-dear, sun-son, mail-male, here-hear, write-right, so on and so forth. Then there is a class of words, which have the same spelling but have different meanings in different contexts. Examples – The bandage was wound tightly around the wound. After a number of injections, my jaw got number. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend? They were too close to the door to close it. The wind was too strong to wind the sail. If you read all of that without losing your mind, your command of the language is reasonably sound.
The other nuances of this language that flabbergast its speakers and writers are parts of speech- nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and prepositions. How can we forget tenses? There are so many people who grapple with the thought of which tense to use in the next statement that they make. I will be seeing her tomorrow, I will give it to her then. In such a sentence, there's a tendency to mess up with the tense and also end up saying or writing 'than' instead of 'then'. Prepositions like of, on, in, to, are also wrongly used while writing and speaking. Then, prefixes and suffixes confuse people no end. Nine times out of ten, they end up choosing the wrong one.
English really knows how to challenge its users. So how does one master the nuances? Practice, practice and some more practice. Reading more books, writing, speaking and thinking in English can help its speakers, writers and readers a great deal. After practice and years of usage, words and tenses become a habit.
English really is a funny language; you can't live with or without it!
Source by Rajesh Joshi