IG-PAY ATIN-LAY AND OTHER ENGLISH LANGUAGE ODDITIES

Well, here I am after a long, well desreved rest.  Since we last chatted I’ve been to a family reunion, which was fun, built a new PC and revamped an old one.

So to be totally honest with you ( when someone says that to you, don’t you just want to say “No, go ahead, lie to me!”) why I picked this subject matter to write about I’ll never know.  One explanation could be that I was dropped on my head when I was a baby.  But then again, that could be the reason for any of my posts.  When I asked my parents many times in my youth if that was the case, they briskly changed the subject to the weather, my weird aunt Fredricka or some other innocuous subject.  So I was never able to find out the truth.  Anyway, ig-pay atin-lay or Pig Latin, has fascinated me from childhood.

Kids loved to use it when trying to appear superior to another kid who didn’t deserve their attention, usually a new kid in town or in school.  I’m not sure though that is the case nowadays.  What with texting and all “like that’s so 1990’s and all, like you know, like what I’m saying.”  And to boot, it probably doesn’t lend itself to the language of texting . . . IYKWIM.

Many parents still find it a convenient way to communicate with their spouses to divert attention away from an unwanted topic when the kids are present.  For example, when dad says to mom, “Ix-nay on the each-bay!” when trying to put the “ibosh-kay” (kibosh) on the touchy subject of going to the beach.  It is kind of an interesting way of communicating with one another.  Strange, but interesting.

All one has to do to learn the language is to drop the first letter from a word and add it to the end of that word followed by “ay”.  Iss-thay is-ay ot-nay always-ay e-thay ace-kay as-ay ou-yay an-kay e-say.

ENTER THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

But when you think about it, English is kind of a strange language too.  I’ve always heard that it was the toughest one to learn because of some of the oddities.  Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

Say the following three words out loud using a moderately quick pace

TOUGH, ROUGH, COUGH

Did you pronounce them TUFF, RUFF, CUFF?  If you screwed up on the word COUGH, you are not alone.  Most people do the exact same thing.

HETERONYMS

How about these.

It was he who SAW the SAW.

And

The boy was READING on the READING railroad while the archer drew back his BOW to shoot an arrow across the BOW of the boat that was tied with a BOW to the dock.

Finally

You’ve HEARD of a HEARD of cows, haven’t you?  Wait . . . no that’s not right,  You’ve HERD of a HEARD of cows . . . no, You’ve HEARD of a FLOCK of cows . . . oh well.

You get my point on this one.  Heard and Herd are Homonyms, or words that sound alike, but are spelled differently.  I’m glad I’m not coming from another country trying to learn English today.  I’d be in trouble.

We’ve all used these types of words on a regular basis, but probably never gave a second thought to them.  I guess it takes a warped mind like mine to come up with this stuff and write it down.  I really do have too much time on my hands.  Just so you’ll know, I’ve been describing HETERONYMS with a smattering of HOMONYMS thrown in.

PALINDROMES

Another favorite of mine is the Palindrome.  As most people know, a palindrome is a sentence that can be read the same if read from left to right or right to left.  Some of the most famous ones are:

Able was I ere I saw Elba.  The emperor Napoleon was supposed to have said this while living on the Isle of Elba during his exile.

Another one is “No evil shahs live on.”  This was purportedly a popular saying after the Shah of Iran was deposed in 1979.

Not every palindrome makes sense,  Take for instance Name tarts? No, medieval slave, I demonstrate man!  That one will make you scratch your head!

Words can also be palindromic.  Take the name Otto or the word Racecar.

HUH???

And I know that you all at one time or another have gotten this type of an e-mail:

Eevn touhg tshee ltetrs are srcbameld, you can pobrably raed tish wtiohut too mcuh torblue.  Rgiht?

I’m not sure how to classify the above, but if in each of the words the first and last letters remain as they are meant to be and even though you scramble all of the other letters, the mind still sees the words as they are supposed to be seen.  Incredible, huh?

CLASS IS OVER

All right class.  Time’s up.  Don’t forget to read chapters one through sixty for our next class day after tomorrow.  Just remember “No evil dogs follow heards of cows while the shah is herd in town.”

LINKS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE AS MUCH TIME ON THEIR HANDS

Further information on HETERONYMS.  I’m not sure what you call the TOUGH ROUGH COUGH thing above, but you might be interested in the link a poem about “STRANGE ENGLISH WORDS.”

PALINDROMES

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