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Evolution of English

English is the most Difficult Language to teach and Learn.

Etymology In 1608, one year after the establishment of Jamestown, Captain John Smith attempted to transcribe the Algonquian word meaning “he scratches with his hands” by writing down rahougcum. This led to the word raccoon, and one of the earliest seeds for American English was sown.

It is more difficult for everyone to learn to read in English than any other language.

Anguish Languish [English Language] by Howard L. Chace. Read it aloud. [Actually he was making a point about rhythm and intonation in relation to meaning.]

Ladle Rat Rotten Hut in the Anguish Languish, as originated by Professor Howard L. Chace

Ladle Rat Rotten Hut (Little Red Riding Hood)

Wants pawn term dare worsted ladle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner ladle cordage honor itch offer lodge, dock florist. Disk ladle gull orphan worry putty ladle rat cluck wetter ladle rat hut, an fur disk raisin pimple colder Ladle Rat Rotten Hut.

Wan moaning Ladle Rat Rotten Hut's murder colder inset.

"Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, heresy ladle basking winsome burden barter an shirker cockles. Tick disk ladle basking tutor cordage offer groin-murder hoe lifts honor udder site offer florist. Shaker lake! Dun stopper laundry wrote! Dun stopper peck floors! Dun daily-doily inner florist, an yonder nor sorghum-stenches, dun stopper torque wet strainers!"

"Hoe-cake, murder," resplendent Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, an tickle ladle basking an stuttered oft.

Honor wrote tutor cordage offer groin-murder, Ladle Rat Rotten Hut mitten anomalous woof.

"Wail, wail, wail!" set disk wicket woof, "Evanescent Ladle Rat Rotten Hut! Wares are putty ladle gull goring wizard ladle basking?"

"Armor goring tumor groin-murder's," reprisal ladle gull. "Grammar's seeking bet. Armor ticking arson burden barter an shirker cockles."

"O hoe! Heifer gnats woke," setter wicket woof, butter tau ght tomb shelf, "Oil tickle shirt court tutor cordage offer groin-murder. Oil ketchup wetter letter, an den-- O bore!"

Soda wicket woof tucker shirt court, an whinny retched a cordage offer groin-murder, picked inner widow, an sore debtor pore oil worming worse lion inner bet. Inner flesh, disk abdominal woof lipped honor bet, paunched honor pore oil worming, an garbled erupt. Den disk ratchet woof pot honor groin-murder's nut cup an gnat-gun, any curdled hope inner bet.

Inner ladle wile, Ladle Rat Rotten Hut a raft attar cordage, an ranker dough ball. "Ping-pong." "Comb ink, sweat hard," setter wicket woof, disgracing is verse.

Ladle Rat Rotten Hut entity bet rum, an stud buyer groin-murder's bet.

"O Grammar!" crater ladle gull historically, "Water bag icer gut! A nervous sausage bag ice!"

"Battered lucky chew whiff, sweat hard," setter bloat-Thursday woof, wetter wicket small honors phase.

"O, Grammar, water bag noise! A nervous sore suture anomalous prognosis!"

"Battered small your whiff, doling," whiskered dole woof, ants mouse worse waddling.

"O Grammar, water bag mouser gut! A nervous sore suture bag mouse!"

Daze worry on forger nut ladle gull's lest warts. Oil offer sodden, trolling offer carvers an sprinkling otter bet, disk curl end bloat-Thursday woof lipped own pore Ladle Rat Rotten Hut an garbled erupt.

MURAL: Yonder nor sorghum stenches shut ladle gulls stopper torque wet strainers.

How non-English speakers are taught this crazy English grammar rule you know but have never heard of


REASONS WHY - The English language is so hard to learn.

1) The alphabet was created for languages with five vowels, while English has sixteen.

2) The history of English is complicated, is because it incorporates spelling patterns from several different languages.
Look to Irish American Vernacular English and also see examples from First Nation languages.

As a result you can appreciate the confusion below.
This is passed on by a linguist, original author unknown.

  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.
  12. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
  13. They were too close to the door to close it.
  14. The buck does funny things when the does are present.
  15. A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
  16. To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
  17. The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
  18. After a number of injections my jaw got number.
  19. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
  20. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
  21. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

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Let's face it - English is a crazy language.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. 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, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 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?
Sometimes, I think all the folks who grew up speaking English should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. 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.

Four All Who Reed and Right ~ Author Unknown

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes;
but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.

One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice;
yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet,
and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?

If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
yet hat in the plural would never be hose, and the plural of cat is cats, not cose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
but though we say mother, we never say methren.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
but imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.

English exam makes its mark in China

Shanghai General Foreign Language Level Testing Center. MORE children are sitting an English exam this summer, amid fierce competition to secure places at top schools. The latest "Shanghai Children's Star English Exam," to be held in the middle of this month, will see about 61,000 test takers - the same number as for the national college entrance exam in the city. Shanghai Education Commission scrapped its official English Test in 2007 to reduce the academic burden on students. The test currently has four levels and next year the Shanghai General Foreign Language Level Testing Center is launching a fifth - the fifth-star test - aimed at students from Grade 1 to 9. Kindergarten pupils are also sitting exams as parents attempt to prepare them for admissions competition. The test organizer has also set up two test centers in bilingual kindergartens. Without an official exam to gauge students' English skills, parents see the Star English Exam as a means of giving their children an advantage when they attend admissions interviews for key schools, especially private ones. Yao Fumin, an official with the test organizer.


First Nation Languages
Find the interesting facts that explore the First Nation People's Words from Linguists.
(1607). Two modern accounts -- one by Captain John Smith and the other by the Jamestown colony secretary, William Strachey -- preserved some Virginia Algonquian words. Of the more than 15 original Algonquian languages in eastern North America, the two still spoken are Passamaquoddy-Malecite in Maine and Mikmaq in New Brunswick.


Jack Lynch: Guide to Grammar and Style
The English Language: A User's Guide

A much-revised and expanded version of this on-line guide, with hundreds of added examples.Get KIDS ready for writing


"Well, I can't take on all of our hurried society at once, but in the handwriting realm, at least, I'm going to have my say. Because most research and the specialists I've talked to agree that children are generally ready to be introduced to writing -- and have the necessary motor and visual skills -- sometime during kindergarten. In fact, not even every kindergartner is prepared to write, say the experts, all of whom advocate waiting until a student is ready and receptive. "It's easier to learn something when everything is in place," says Newman, who is a perceptual motor therapist, runs movement classes for children and thinks kids need to exercise and move to develop good pre-writing skills. Yet many preschools persist in teaching children to write, and even evaluating that writing, before the students have the skills they need. [...Remember the progression when we were in elementary school? Printing in kindergarten and/or first grade. Cursive in third. Penmanship grades. Most assignments in elementary school were handwritten. Typing didn't come until sometime in middle or high school. Compare that with today's curriculum. Handwriting in preschool, probably in reaction to the tougher kindergarten curriculum. Then, in second grade, sometimes before they have the basics of handwriting down, children are often introduced to typing. Cursive still comes around third grade, but nowadays it's often a rushed program, with some people arguing that one script should suffice, especially since most kids are going to wind up on computers. And forget penmanship; kids are lucky if they are taught to sit properly and form their letters efficiently. In fact, according to the experts, not only do most teachers have no training in handwriting instruction, they don't have the time to teach it thoroughly."

Write in the Middle a workshop for middle school teachers who teach writing, complete with audio files and Best Practices in Teaching Writing.

Writing Tips:
I was once taught that the first sentence of every paragraph should contain the main idea of the paragraph. Then the following sentences should give info about that topic and the last sentence should be the summary of the main idea.
Write about issues you really, really care about like things that frustrate or make you mad. Try to use the simplest-possible language, write like you talk and use personal experience to the maximum. Listen to yourself read it aloud for how it sounds - is it your voice? Is this what you mean to say? Reread and rewrite until it just "sounds right," which seems to have something to do with rhythm and other stuff. Start reading two or three paragraphs before to get a "running start to that will help you shape the next sentence.
Find a way to hook a big idea to something real and immediate and write about whatever is personal to you about that subject. Your life experience - the more the better. My favorite book is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. (If you haven't read the book and he seems to be talking about himself as someone else, that "someone else" is him before he had some sort of mental breakdown.) There's a really good description by Pirsig the main character about how he helped a student get around writer's block.The discussion of "quality writing" starts around page 190 depending on which book you have.

Star Teaching / Writing lays out the writing process and also includes K-12 Rubrics and paragraph organizer.

The easiest way to improve writing scores is to use the Fry Formula. The
students must write at grade level. It only takes a few minutes to show the students how to use this formula. Next, you spend an extraordinary amount of time on making sure that the opening sentences don't start with the, a, and, I or any other simple word. They must start with the most important part of the topic sentence by using a phrase. Fry Graph for estimating reading ages (grade level) avg. number of sentences per 100 words. If this is of interest just email me for additional details. ~ Al Haskvitz

Directions for Use of the Fry Readability Graph

Essay Writing sites

English Rules of Thum (sic)

  1. Don't use no double negatives.
  2. Make each pronoun agree with their antecedents.
  3. Join clauses good, like a conjunction should.
  4. About them sentence fragments.
  5. When dangling, watch your participles.
  6. Verbs has got to agree with their subjects.
  7. Just between you and i, case is important.
  8. Don't write run-on sentences when they are hard to read.
  9. Don't use commas, which aren't necessary.
  10. Try to not ever split infinitives.
  11. It is important to use your apostrophe's correctly.
  12. Proofread your writing to see if you any words out.
  13. Correct speling is essential.
  14. A preposition is something you never end a sentence up with.
  15. While a transcendant vocabulary is laudable, one must be eternally careful so that the calculated objective of communication does not become ensconsed in obscurity.
  16. Eschew obfuscation.

Plain Language Humor: How to Write Good
We don't know where this came from, but some is derived from William Safire's Rules for Writers.

1. Always avoid alliteration.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. Avoid cliches like the plague--they're old hat.
4. Employ the vernacular.
5. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
7. Parenthetical words however must be enclosed in commas.
8. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
9. Contractions aren't necessary.
10. Do not use a foreign word when there is an adequate English quid pro quo.
11. One should never generalize.
12. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
13. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
14. Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
15. It behooves you to avoid archaic expressions.
16. Avoid archaeic spellings too.
17. Understatement is always best.
18. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
19. One-word sentences? Eliminate. Always!
20. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
21. The passive voice should not be used.
22. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
23. Don't repeat yourself, or say again what you have said before.
24. Who needs rhetorical questions?
25. Don't use commas, that, are not, necessary.
26. Do not use hyperbole; not one in a million can do it effectively.
27. Never use a big word when a diminutive alternative would suffice.
28. Subject and verb always has to agree.
29. Be more or less specific.
30. Placing a comma between subject and predicate, is not correct.
31. Use youre spell chekker to avoid mispeling and to catch typograhpical errers.
32. Don't repeat yourself, or say again what you have said before.
33. Don't be redundant.
34. Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not needed.
35. Don't never use no double negatives.
36. Poofread carefully to see if you any words out.
37. Hopefully, you will use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
38. Eschew obfuscation.
39. No sentence fragments.
40. Don't indulge in sesquipedalian lexicological constructions.
41. A writer must not shift your point of view.
42. Don't overuse exclamation marks!!
43. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
44. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
45. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
46. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
47. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
48. Always pick on the correct idiom.
49. The adverb always follows the verb.
50. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
51. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal
of repetition can be by rereading and editing.
52. And always be sure to finish what

Pronunciation in the English language
The author, Prof. H. L. Chace was a professor of French and wrote these in 1940 to to demonstrate that intonation of spoken English is almost as important to the meaning as the words themselves. He is the originator of ANGUISH LANGUISH, for you, your friends, and your family to half pun wit. Example: Fairy Tales Little Red Riding Hood becomes this title Furry Tells Ladle Rat Rotten Hut.

Welcome to the The Little, Brown Compact Handbook and The Little, Brown Compact Handbook with Exercises by Jane E. Aaron. Students can find material to enrich their learning experience, including video tutorials, exercises, downloads from the textbook, and links to additional resources on the Web. Instructors can make use of all of the resources for students as well as find other teaching-oriented materials.
About the Book - The Writing Process - Writing In and Out of College - Sentences - Punctuation, Spelling, and Mechanics - Research Writing - Documenting in the Disciplines - Usage Flashcards - Instructor Resources