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Mighty strange language

  1. #1
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    Mighty strange language

    The English language sure is a very strange language. Take the followings as examples.

    You DRIVE on a parkway, but you PARK on a driveway. Who came up with that one? Hmm ?

    You have a PAIR of pants, meaning 1. But you have a shirt. Why do we call pants a pair, but not a shirt ?
    I have a pair of boxer shorts, and my wife had a pair of panties (both meaning 1). But if she wanted to buy a bra (1), she would not ask for a PAIR of bras.

    I can understand saying a pair of shoes, or a pair of socks because there are two. And I might understand saying a PAIR of pants because there are, obviously, two legs. So why does the same not apply to a shirt?
    After all there are two sleeves.

    Sometimes a pair of something applies to thing with two: a PAIR of pants, a PAIR of boxers, a PAIR of panties. Why not a PAIR of bras ? After all there are two, uh, two uh..... well you get the idea.


  2. #2
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    Pair of pajamas when it is really a set.
    “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.” - George Orwell

  3. #3
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    The calvary showed up just in time to prevent the realator from selling the nucular bunker to the tribe.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anomaly 73 View Post
    The calvary showed up just in time to prevent the realator from selling the nucular bunker to the tribe.
    I actually knew a realtor who called herself a realator.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    The English language sure is a very strange language. Take the followings as examples.

    You DRIVE on a parkway, but you PARK on a driveway. Who came up with that one? Hmm ? ...... Why do we call pants a pair, but not a shirt ?I have a pair of boxer shorts, and my wife had a pair of panties (both meaning 1). .. well you get the idea.
    Pants originally came in two parts. Shirts came from a single piece of cloth. We carry the anachronism. Saying a pair of shorts or panties is just incorrect usage of a word that gets passed on. English is full of distortions and largely made up of words from other languages that are distorted in pronunciation and spelling from the past when illiteracy was so high. We have huge numbers of French, German, Dutch words (and old English) that have been distorted. There are 10's of thousands of examples. Think of all the place names that were named from Native Americans, interpreted by the French, and interpreted again by other immigrant languages so that the original word, and meaning, were changed. One common example everyone knows: "Pennsylvania Dutch". They aren't Dutch, they're German. Why? Because they were "Deutsch" (German).

    Park (as in parking a car) originated from military usage to line up heavy equipment. Parkway originally meant a road through a park. The word park came from French, parc. There is no connection of the different uses of the word. English language has a number of Homographs. It's not uncommon for words to come into usage that are spelled the same, but have totally different meanings due to totally different origins.
    One of my favorite names is for the (once) largest landfill in America, in New York. The name is Fresh Kills. Fresh is a Dutch word meaning exactly the same as is used now. But 'kills' is a stream in Dutch.

  6. #6
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    Personally I have a problem with the word RIGHT!

    We have right and wrong and right and left. The inventors of English should have picked a different set of letters for RIGHT = CORRECT.

    I understand the history due to LEFT = Sinister = Wrong

  7. #7
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    Excellent, Retiredtraveler. Once, pants actually came in two parts? As in, the left-side and the right-side ? Do you happen to know how the two sides were held together when being worn ?

    Ok, I now understand how parkway came about. What about "driveway"?

  8. #8
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    Aahh, the strange contradictions of the English language.

    The following utube video floated through my facebook feed just this morning.

    Seems topical.

    https://youtu.be/RAGcDi0DRtU
    The only people I fear are those who never have doubts ... Billy Joel (Shades of Grey)

  9. #9
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    My forbears came over in 1634, I seriously doubt that I would understand one word of their speech, and vice-versor.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manatee View Post

    My forbears came over in 1634, I seriously doubt that I would understand one word of their speech, and vice-versor.

    My ancestor from whom I inherited my last name also came over in the early 1600s.
    He was Dutch and lived in New Amsterdam... but I don't speak Dutch ;-)

  11. #11
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    Minimizing language is taking over...like Lol

    Snowflakes are kisses from Heaven

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