Friday, May 15, 2009

Well, Well, Well

I find it a wonder that anyone can ever learn English. We seem to have too many words with the same meaning. Take the title of this post, “Well, Well, Well.” I once asked if a “Well Wisher” was someone that uses a wishing well or someone that was wishing you well. “Well”, it depends. “Well” can refer to a source of water, oil or money. One can “well” up with tears. “Well” can refer to a physical, mental or emotional state. “Well” is something you can do with proficiency. “Well” can also mean in addition to or a supposition. “Well” can also be a turning point in a conversation. There are also stair “wells”.

So when you see someone struggling with our language please show a little sympathy. This is only one example of the many linguistic challenges our language presents to its learners. English is a mine field.

This reminds me of one of Syd’s stories. Her partner, a native Spanish speaker once went to the hardware store and asked for caulk. Imagine an attractive woman in the midst of burley hardware guys; slightly mispronouncing that word.


Blogger Beth said...

In high school, a guy I knew gave his class speech on the subject of "The Grand Prix."
He mispronounced it. ;)

4:43 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Beth, that was probably Moose and I'm sure he did that on purpose.

5:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deep subject. Glad somebody looked into it.
When I worked in the paint department a lady came in looking for a caulk that would harden.

6:51 AM  
Blogger Uncle Walt said...

Ya also gotta throw in the confusion caused by regional dialects.

Then there's the little matter of the generational word-meaning changes.

With all the confusion, you almost have to admire the French for having a commission to regulate their language. Almost.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

Ah, yes. The "cock" story. LOL

I frequently get to hear a rant about how screwy the English language is. I can't disagree.

7:47 AM  
Blogger Tango said...

LOL...that reminds me of when my husband and I first started seeing each other. I didn't speak Spanish and he hardly spoke any English. One weekend he announced that he and his cousin were going to Maryland for the weekend to visit a bitch.
That one took a couple of days to sort out.

8:48 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

You stated that very....... good. You have a deep command of the language and your arguments hold water. Just be careful you don't find yourself at the end of your rope, so to speak.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Hahn at Home said...

Okay, I needed that laugh.

11:20 AM  
Blogger richpix said...

How many wells does it take to make a river?

One, if you dig it deep enough.

12:04 PM  
Blogger g said...

try learning japanese.

6:38 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Anon, deep subject in deed. Well?

Walt, oh yeah, but I can't waste all those subjects in one day.

Syd, you have the best stories especially when K is involved.

Tango, that that could actually come in handy. "I told you I was going to visit a bitch, so what's your problem? You should have said something before I left..."

Darev, the well at my parent's house had a chain on a pulley. Don't know why they didn't have a rope.

Lori, Well, I'm always happy to help.

Rich, I always heard of underground rivers so all wells may be connected.

g, no, I mangle this language more than enough without inflicting my translation on yet another culture.

6:06 AM

6:13 AM  
Blogger dalia said...

italians and greeks say "bitch" as well.

in french, the word(s): vert/vers/verre cause much confusion when speaking. are they talking about a colour? an approximation? a glass? what? $#%$@!!!

8:51 AM  

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