I was thinking about diphthongs while driving home from an auction today.
I know, you too, right?
OK, so maybe most people are not spending a lot of time thinking about diphthongs.
But it’s kind of cool how grouping different vowels can change how they sound. Round and boil and fowl and hoist and broom and squirrel and auto.
I look at all those words and I wonder how anyone ever conquered the English language.
Were we drunk when we made this stuff up? How could anyone ever memorize all these words?
This is difficult and challenging and not good (to use a diphthong, as an example).
How can “good” rhyme with “should”? How can “meant” sound like “mint”? How come “cow” and “show” sound nothing alike?
How did I ever learn to spell?
But I did.
English just took up lodging in my brain in a way I can’t explain. Why couldn’t science have rented rooms next door? I had to repeat seventh grade science in the summertime because I failed it. But diphthongs seemed always to be my pals.
How can RNA and DNA be more difficult to understand than the spelling of “neighbor”.
But they were, at least for me.
In my sophomore year in high school, our English teacher was so disgusted with our lack of grammatical knowledge that he declared we were going back to elementary school basics for the year.
Except for me. Because I understood the basics, he allowed me to work independently and write really crappy free verse about how depressed I was.
I felt honored, but all the heartfelt angst didn’t improve my poetry at all.
And, so, diphthongs. What’s up with the spelling of that ridiculous word anyway? And what about homonyms?
Who came up with the brilliant idea of pair and pear, pail and pale, bear and bare, fair and fare, wood and would?
I’m embarrassed for English speakers everywhere and I apologize to all the people of the world who try to learn English as their second language.
Most of us aren’t doing such a hot job with English as our only language.

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