A Language Thought:
(Click for Audio) I’ve heard it before that English must be one of the hardest languages to learn. Is a sentence hard to decipher? Is a paragraph an anomaly? Are the words always spelled the same in every occurrence? Do words even mean the same every time they are used? And if I only “read” how do I ever learn to “pronounce”?
Since I barely know Spanish and know there are uniqueness to that language, I can only surmise there must be major differences in my native tongue that makes it very difficult for a newbie. Much less for any one of us who have been around the block a time or two. Words, structure and communication keeps changing. Frequently!
This morning I was thinking about the word “fret” – you know, where you talk about worrying over something, rather than the ridges used on a guitar neck, or the action of something corroding under the onslaught of another chemical or process. Did you know that “fret” often meant the act of eating by a small animal?
Is it any wonder that English can be a difficult language! For any of us! When I was younger our dictionary was two volumes of thick reading material…Today, it’s digital and found on my portable devices! Easily accessed from anywhere.
When we take a word from singular to plural, from present to past or future tense, there are changes that occur to make the word sound out the way it needs to sound, and it’s resultant meaning not change from the intent of the original. But there are also words that change the order of the letters to change from one phase to another. Fire and Fiery come to mind…
When studying an ancient and mostly unused language then we notice the same kind of changes. Take Greek for just a moment. Biblical Greek is not the same as Modern Greek. The language keeps growing, stretching and changing through the years – much like the Queen’s English and American English are different and take divergent paths. Words are spelled unique to the source of the main language. I suspect this is the norm for any language as the years progress. New words and new ways of saying things are required.
Teaching a lesson last night I shared that the word we often refer to in English as “Teach” and it’s varied tense forms, actually comes from multiple words in Biblical Greek that someone interpreted and then translated from the older language to the newer language. Somewhere in our past some scholar took a somewhat dead language and made sense of all the words to tell us what it means today. And not necessarily into my modern language, because it made stops along the way into Latin, German, French, Spanish and a host of other languages that my mind cannot grab a hold of…
Fascinating thought! We are so connected to so many other languages. English has been the collection of a large portion of words from a multitude of languages, both modern and ancient. Their spellings, definitions, and usage has modified over the generations of users that require the words.
Sometimes the words speak of the action you see others doing even though the language has morphed into a multitude of phrases. But when you “see” love, then it does not matter what language you speak, you identify it as “love”!
But here I am today with a full schedule, preparing to leave and pick up the granddaughter for some “Emma time” over the next several days, and my brain keeps dipping back into the language pool. I will gnaw at it in my subconscious and fret over the inability to sit in front of my books and computer and root around it for a while, and hope the foundation of the thought does not slip into a deep well of a far off future time and place.
Somewhere along the way we make sense of the language, communicate it outwards, get the point across to whoever we are speaking to, and hope they understand it sufficiently to act upon the knowledge.
Here’s a thought:
A learner becomes a teacher
Every time they use
What was taught and exampled
And transfer it to another.
Just saying….Do not quit learning, nor fail to use any moment as an example of living and speaking correctly to those that are learning from your teaching…and example.