Three Quirks of the English Language

Who said English is an easy language? While around 375 million people from around the world can speak it and more than 50 countries actually use it for daily communication, English has its own quirks that will leave even the most verbose scratching their head. Think about it: in baseball, the pitcher pitches the ball, but an opera singer sings in high pitch, causing the glasses to pitch down the table (not the best example, but you get the point, right?)

Here are a couple of things about the English language that you might find interesting.

It’s not phonetic

Theoretically, if you learn the sounds of the alphabet of a certain language, you should be able to pronounce the words even if you don’t understand what they mean. That’s not the case with English though! Xerox is pronounced as zir-äks, giving the letter x two different sounds in just a single word. There’s the case of missing sounds such as the b in debt; then there are those multiple pronunciations such as with the ough sound—doughnut, rough, or through, for example.

There’s no word that rhymes with orange

Well, it’s not true as there is one term that does rhyme with orange: sporange. But, come on! How many of us have even heard of this term before? By the way, sporange is an alternative term for sporangium and refers to a structure where spores are produced.

Then, there are words that don’t mean anything

Called crutch words, terms like “actually,” “really,” and “like” do not add any value or meaning to a sentence. In most cases, they act as fillers in both written and spoken language to give us time to think or emphasize what we want to say. That’s why when you edit and reread your work, it’s best to remove these words and just go straight to the point.


English Language: The Things You Never Knew