8 Reasons Why English Is a Complicated Language

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“Because of language, man has access to the past and the future. He can express the true and the untrue. Language helps him understand both what is and what could be.” ~ Wesley Douglass Camp

Linking people around the globe , English language is the first to be recognized as a Global Lingua Franca. It has turned out to be an elemental block of every existing field ,may it be business, science, information technology, entertainment and so on. English is often used as a medium to analyze an individual’s literacy. Though many countries do have English as their native language, those who have the command over the English Language are considered and respected as highly educated .

Owing to its growing popularity and demand, the need to acquire knowledge about the language is accelerating as well. Though widely spoken, here are some reasons why English  may have you obfuscated-

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1. Ever came across a word with two opposite meanings. Well, Such words are called    CONTRONYMS. If you ‘dust’ something, are you sprinkling salt on salad or clearing dirt off the table? If  you ‘screen’ something, are you protecting your face from UV rays or planning a movie night for friends? Contronyms are also known as “Janus words”after the two faced Roman God.

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2. Lead (to be followed) and Lead(a metal), Well (being alright) and Well (a brick structure to store water), tear(to rip) and tear (as in crying). Words that are spelled same and often pronounced same but mean different things are known as HOMOGRAPHS. English is full of homographs.

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3. Did you know? Meaning of words can shift depending on which syllable is stressed. For example, an OBject is a ‘thing’ and to obJECT is ‘to complain’, CONtent means ‘what is contained’ whereas conTENT means ‘peace’, an ADDress means ‘location of a house’ and to addRESS someone is ‘to talk to them’.

4. Homophones are different words with same pronunciation. ‘Altar’ means a raised platform whereas ‘ Alter’ pronounced the same way, means to cut down or reduce.

5. Job is not done yet! You might spell a word accurately but might be messing up with its pronunciation. Even the widely-used pronunciations turn out to be incorrect. For example, Genre is often pronounced as “Jen-re”, but the correct way is “zhahn-ruh”. Similarly, Coupon is often pronounced as “que-pon’ , but the correct way is “koo-pon”.

6. Words are often spelled implausibly with silent letters. Knight, Pneumonia, Psychology, Reign and the tongue- twister “Czechoslovakia”.

7. Ever wondered why a dog comes to your mind when you say the word “ Bark”, because it is a sound made by a dog . Words that phonetically mimic or resembles the sound of the thing it’s made by or associated with ,refer to ONOMATOPOEIA . Some onomatopoetic words are Snake’s hiss, Cat’s meow, Book’s snap or a Bomb’s boom.

8. Why a common man is called “a man of straws”? Why an easy task is known as “cup of tea” or a “piece of cake”? Why orderly arrangement is an “ apple-pie order”? Why does “it is raining like cat’s and dog’s” mean it’s raining hard? Many of these mind-toggling idioms in english leave you confused.

“Yes, English can be weird . It can be understood through tough thorough thought, though.” ~ David Burge

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Lariba Ashfaq Ahmed
Lariba, a literature student at Kamala Nehru College, is a bibliophile and an outgoing personality. She always strives to back every instance with reason but is a dreamer as well. Quite a rare combo.Her Best - friends are Coffee and Amitav Ghosh books. Dive deeper into Lariba's perspective of things. Check out her work.

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