THERE IS NO HAM IN HAMBURGER - The Reykjavik Grapevine

THERE IS NO HAM IN HAMBURGER

THERE IS NO HAM IN HAMBURGER

Published August 20, 2004

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth? One goose, two geese. So one moose, two meese? One index, two indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

In what other language do people: recite at a play and play a recital; ship by truck and send cargo by ship; have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off by going on. English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

Further examples of the strange English language:
1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

Next:
Previous:


Go travel with Grapevine tried and recommended tours by Grapevine. Fund Grapevine journalism by booking with us.


Magazine-articles
Opinion
1997: The Last Days of Rock

1997: The Last Days of Rock

by

Magazine-articles
Opinion
Don’t Ask Nanna: About The Elections

Don’t Ask Nanna: About The Elections

by

Magazine-articles
Opinion
Don’t Ask Nanna: About Veganism

Don’t Ask Nanna: About Veganism

by

Magazine-articles
Opinion
Last Words: May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favour

Last Words: May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favour

by

Magazine-articles
Opinion
Don’t Ask Nanna: About Feminist Buses

Don’t Ask Nanna: About Feminist Buses

by

Show Me More!