Daily Archives: September 4, 2011

It’s all English – isn’t it?

You think that I don’t even mean
A single word I say
It’s only words, and words are all
I have to take your heart away.”
So sung the Bee Gees way back in 1997.

I started to write my blog today feeling absolutely ghastly.  The cold that I have been nursing for 8 days has now morphed into an awful cough and all I wanted to do today was lie down with my book.  Waking up several times during the night didn’t make me bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning.  Fortunately, I only had to attend one of the open homes being run by my Real Estate friend.

But I made a commitment to myself some six months ago to post a blog every day so here goes.

Some time ago I read a blog from Robin entitled Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve that started me off on a different tack altogether.  Robin’s blog made me think of the different words in the English language that can have two definite and different meanings.  They often sound the same but may have different spellings.

  • Preserve – for me as I have said means a preserve or jam of fruits or vegetables. For Robin it meant a wildflower park.
  • Conserve – to prevent injury or waste or to make a conserve such as jams, pickles or chutney.
  • Bow – to bow down in homage or the bough of a tree.
  • Left as in direction and left as in ‘he left the store’
  • Address – where one lives and address as in making an address to the assembled people.
  • Close as near and close to shut
  • Permit – allow and permit as license
  • Incline – a small hill and incline towards something
  • Anchor – used to secure a boat or alternatively the shops that anchor a shopping mall ie a large variety or department store at each end of the mall or the newscaster.
  • Rebel – as in resisting authority and rebel the person resisting

And then of course we could open the can of worms of how the same words have different meanings to American and British people.

  • Purse – American handbag, British change purse
  • Vest – American sleeveless garment worn over clothes, British undergarment
  • Jelly – American jam and British equivalent of Jello

And different names for certain things.  For example, in a car

  • Gas in America = Petrol in Britain, New Zealand and Australia
  • Hood in America = Bonnet in Britain, New Zealand and Australia
  • Trunk in America = Boot in Britain, New Zealand and Australia

This didn’t set out to be a lesson in English grammar a subject in which I have always been interested.  But can you tell the difference between  homonyms – words that share the same spelling and the same pronunciation but have different meanings, eg bore and boar; homophones – words that sound the same however they are spelled eg whole and hole; and homographs – words that share the same spelling however they are pronounced eg content – happy or satisfied/all that is contained inside something.

As I don’t know where this is going I think I shall end there.  Hopefully my head will be in a better place tomorrow and the blog will make more sense.

But for now, please share my rainbow

Rainbow

My rainbow