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    Rabble Rousing Random Ramblings by S Jagadish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

    January 22, 2007

    English is a very phunny language

    If a 40 year old Amitabh Bachchan (or whoever the dialogue writer was) could voice his frustration at English in the immortal dialogue in Namak Halal, you can well imagine how perplexed a two-and-a-half year old would be when we try explaining to her the difference between 'pair' and 'pear' although both have the same bloody pronunciation but are spelt differently!

    We could see Jaagruthi's eyebrows go up yesterday when we were reading out some book to her which said something about 'a pair of socks'. When we tried asking her to guess what 'pair' meant, she said 'Fruit saaptome' ("that fruit we ate"). She didn't say it with too much conviction, because she seemed to wonder about why we'd ask about a fruit when the topic was socks. So we had to explain that the spellings were different. She seemed to understand.

    But I'm fairly sure we'll go down that path again, given the preponderance of homophones in English. Sample this list: their & there, birth & berth, to & two (to some extent), due & dew, know & no, board & bored, right & write, pear & pair, etc.

    What's the solution? Just live with it? Make her question the language?

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