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Hello, my name is Tim and I'm and English speaker.

by

Tim Goyette



He was drug off to eternity.

This is a sentence I wrote in a story.  In our writers group it was pointed out that drug is not the past tense of drag, dragged is.  Iím 51 years old, had used drug all my life and no one ever pointed this out to me before.  

Dragged sounded just as wrong as drived in place of drove.  So, naturally the first reaction was that English is a really messed up language, and I expressed this in no uncertain terms, with a myriad of examples.    

After  they calmed me down, the team pointed out that studying other languages really helped them understand English, Spanish and German respectively.  Doing a little internet research yielded greater understanding.

The Saxons came to England with a Germanic language and we have many similar words today, welcome - willkommen, good Ė gut, hose - schlauch, etc.  In 1066 when the Normans conquered England, (reunified the kingdom for those who care) they made French the official language of England.  That didnít last too long but there was an influence on the language.

So the spoken language, as always, evolves over time with many different influences.  Which works fine if you only need to talk with someone from your local vicinity and same time period.  The problem comes in when the language is codified, written down.

Germanic languages, and others often, make the past tense of verbs by changing the vowel sound.  This is called an irregular, or strong verb depending on whom you talk to.  The regular or weak verbs are tensed by adding ďedĒ to the end.

So, English was in a state of flux, people using different words and pronunciations, different rules for speaking when the language was codified.  I donít know which dictionary and/or grammar professor who did it, but we are working from a snapshot of English and grammar rules from hundreds of years ago.  Thatís probably why the word front is pronounced frunt.  

In conclusion, yes English is a messed up language, but it is my language, and even though I donít fully understand it, there are reasons for why it is the way it is.  I will learn to live with it, because Iím the adult in the relationship.  

From time to time we will all run head-long into the brick wall of grammatical quirks.  After we finish ranting and cursing Strunk and White, take a deep breath, learn, and treasure the knowledge for the next confrontation.  It will give us yet another thing to rant about.


2009-06-01 10:47:01
Maybe you have trouble with English since you've been using "drugs" for 50 years.

2009-05-12 17:08:09
Iíll explain before anyone calls me on it. The grammatical errors are intentional and intended to add to the humor of the editorial.





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