The History of the English Language: off topic

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a wordmonger.   I love collecting and using words, stringing them together into sentences and paragraphs to tell a story, share a feeling, or convey a thought.  And although I am not entirely proficient, I do try very hard to convey my thoughts, feelings and ideas online via the written word.

When attending university in California, I was required to take a course entitled, The History of English, and I loved it!  I found knowing the roots of our language  interesting.   I thought perhaps you would too, or at the very least you will find this particular history of it amusing as it is presented here, and so I share with you a “tongue in cheek” view of…



Q:  What do you find are the most difficult rule(s) to remember when speaking or writing in English?  (This is for you native speakers of English too, so speak up!)  😉

29 thoughts on “The History of the English Language: off topic

  1. victoriaaphotography says:

    I’m not a very concise speaker or writer. Used to drive my last Employer crazy, But being an artist and great storyteller to young children, I can’t help giving lengthy, descriptive explanations to what I want to say.

    I started a PhotoBlog with the intention of only posting photos, but it quickly developed into little stories of what, where and why I took the photograph.
    I notice since my cognitive function has deteriorated due to chronic health issues, I occasionally put the commas in the wrong places in a sentence or construct my sentences back to front (which makes them sound a bit odd).

    I have to proofread my emails several times as I often now use the wrong spelling of a word or miss words out of a sentence.

    • pixilated2 says:

      Victoria, I think we all do this now (review and revise our writing). We have to. In the days of pen and paper we could write, and go back, and then revise. Now, with the punch of a key we are hopelessly committed to our mistakes. I make them all the time. It isn’t so bad on our blog, because we can go back and revise even after releasing the post. Doesn’t make it any less frustrating, but we at least have the option of “taking it back.” But social media and email are a one shot deal! As for wrong spellings, this medium is rife with them. I can’t tell you how many times I have used the wrong form of they’re, their, and there. I think it is because we see it wrong so much of the time now that we don’t make the distinction anymore. It is a problem, but you are not alone with it. 😉

      • victoriaaphotography says:

        Yes, I agree about editing our blogs, but I seem to have to edit my blog several times (even after proofreading several times before posting).
        I am (or was, I should say) a speed reader and used to do a lot of proofreading documents in my old office life.
        Not now though – I’m hopeless.

  2. duck duck goose says:

    It wasnt until I was in highschool that I understood the I before E rule!

    And that is because I thought the classroom (who all seemed to understand this mysterious chant) was droning on about “”See” not “C” and “Whey” not “Weigh”.

    Oh my….. all very confusing to a little kid and then to find it isnt much of a rule anywhey!


    • pixilated2 says:

      Look at it this way Connie, you could have been trying to teach that silly rule, year after year to all those young ones who never quite got it.
      So, I suppose that is my way of saying that you are, and will never be, the only one. 😉
      ~ Lynda
      PS: Dare I confess it??? I shall. Some of the rules of grammar and punctuation I did not get till I went back to school to become an educator. (GASP!) Better late than never, and some days I can forget what I learned in one, giant, cosmic brainfart. POOF! It’s gone…

  3. duck duck goose says:

    I hated the I before E rule!!!

    I just cringed when the rest of the class would start droning that chant, like THEY understood the mystery of it all and I didn’t.

    What I heard was “eye” not “I”. And “whey” not Weigh”.

    Which made everything confusing!

  4. shoreacres says:

    I can’t believe I watched the whole thing! It’s really well done – and very enjoyable. Love “snufbumble”! And I got a little nostalgic for my old OED. Sigh. I love a book that comes with its own magnifying glass!

    You know, I never think of the rules of English when I’m writing. Every now and then the syntax monster will raise its head, or a word doesn’t look right and I check its spelling, but that’s about it.

    My favorite rule actually was on a bumper sticker when I was in Berkeley: “Don’t send an adverb to do an adjective’s job”. That’s funny, right there. 😉

    • pixilated2 says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, Linda! You have me wondering now. I have a very old GIANT SIZED dictionary that used to sit at my mother-in-laws house, on the bookshelf and by the fireplace. It had a magnifier on its own little stand so you could read that terribly tiny print. I think it must weigh about 30 pounds! When we moved I kept it, because there are times when my Webster’s doesn’t know what I am searching for. LOL! I will have to go check tomorrow and see if it is an antique Oxfords. 🙂
      ~ L
      PS: Never heard that saying before. Good one!

  5. jmgoyder says:

    I used to teach this stuff – loved it. My favourite irritation is the ‘I’ versus ‘me’ conundrum – ie. “Son and I went to see Husband.” “Husband was happy to see Son and me.” Both correct and yet most people would now say “Husband was happy to see Son and I.”

    • pixilated2 says:

      Julie, LOL! That one is the worst of them, and lately I have been hearing more and more “experts” in the field say that it is no longer an issue! The only way I could ever figure it out was to take the other person out of the sentence, and If “I” made sense, then it stayed. However, there are some sentences I have come up against in which neither “I” nor “me” could be made sensible with the stand alone trick…
      It could give you a headache. ~ L

    • pixilated2 says:

      Hello again “…Anne with an ‘E.'” (from Anne of Green Gables) I must agree that it is a pleasure to meet a like minded soul. I barely got a peak tonight, but think I will need to spend some time with you on your site as well! However, it is past my bedtime, and I will have to save this lovely visit for tomorrow. Thanks so much for visiting with me today! ~ Lynda

  6. littlesundog says:

    What an entertaining video!! Bawdy??? I’m half Danish (Viking) and half German… bawdy might describe ME!! Who and whom snaggle me every time. I know one is the subject (who) and one is the object (whom), but when I’m writing I can’t ever seem to remember which one is which! Thank goodness for Google!!

    I’m particular about words and proper punctuation. That’s why FD is my editor. He is great at proofreading… as is his sister (I call her Sissy). They both have a keen eye.

    Great post… we’re always learning aren’t we? I have a good friend who is a retired science teacher. She has a science lesson for me every time we get together. I have learned more from her than I did all my years in school!

    • pixilated2 says:

      My favorite saying is: “When you stop learning you’re dead.”
      Don’t know where it came from but it has much truth, though possibly by default. 😉

      You just helped me to realize the difference between who and whom. (Yes, me to) Who is doing the action, and whom is having it done to him. EX: Who stole the cookie, and to whom did they give it?

      I think, but maybe someone will correct me if I am wrong. 😀
      ~ L

  7. Steve Schwartzman says:

    My father used to say that any lawyer who represents himself in a case has a fool for a client. I mention that because as bloggers we almost always have only ourselves as editors. I proofread each post several times, but I still occasionally miss a mistake and off it goes into the world. As you say, we can change it after the fact, at least online, but not in the e-mails that went out to subscribers, nor in the comments that we’ve left on other people’s blogs.

    • pixilated2 says:

      I makes my hair curl when I find mistakes after the fact in an emailed post. But there is nothing for it, except to try to be more diligent next time. However, when making comments I do appreciate fellow bloggers who correct my mistakes for me. Though there are only a select few who willingly do this. 😉
      ~ L
      PS: There is a setting I have seen, though I have not figured out where it is or how to implement it, that allows us to send out only an opening line or two. I need to start using it as I think it would allow more time to find and correct those errors.

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