mudcat.org: Lyr Req: English is ca-raaaazy? / ...Cuh-Ray-Zee
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr Req: English is ca-raaaazy? / ...Cuh-Ray-Zee

GUEST,Lynn Koch 14 Feb 02 - 12:32 PM
masato sakurai 14 Feb 02 - 12:40 PM
MMario 14 Feb 02 - 12:52 PM
GUEST,karen 14 Feb 02 - 01:52 PM
MMario 14 Feb 02 - 01:59 PM
Bill D 14 Feb 02 - 04:26 PM
MMario 14 Feb 02 - 04:32 PM
swirlygirl 14 Feb 02 - 04:43 PM
mack/misophist 14 Feb 02 - 05:49 PM
Anahootz 14 Feb 02 - 06:13 PM
artbrooks 14 Feb 02 - 06:22 PM
Mr Red 14 Feb 02 - 07:51 PM
JudeL 14 Feb 02 - 08:18 PM
Hrothgar 15 Feb 02 - 03:24 AM
GUEST,anglophile 15 Feb 02 - 05:31 AM
Naemanson 15 Feb 02 - 08:56 AM
53 15 Feb 02 - 11:35 AM
GUEST,jeankbcs 15 Feb 02 - 12:43 PM
Mrrzy 15 Feb 02 - 12:58 PM
Mr Red 15 Feb 02 - 04:46 PM
swirlygirl 15 Feb 02 - 04:51 PM
Ferret 15 Feb 02 - 05:26 PM
alanabit 15 Feb 02 - 05:42 PM
MudGuard 15 Feb 02 - 05:48 PM
swirlygirl 15 Feb 02 - 06:18 PM
swirlygirl 15 Feb 02 - 06:25 PM
mack/misophist 15 Feb 02 - 08:33 PM
MarkS 15 Feb 02 - 10:12 PM
artbrooks 16 Feb 02 - 08:26 AM
Hrothgar 16 Feb 02 - 09:13 AM
Jerry Dingleman: The Boy Wonder(inactve) 16 Feb 02 - 09:21 AM
Hrothgar 17 Feb 02 - 07:37 AM
Herga Kitty 17 Feb 02 - 01:53 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:




Subject: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: GUEST,Lynn Koch
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 12:32 PM

I had the good fortune of hearing Pete Seeger in Cooperstown (NY) last fall. He did a sort of 'folk rap' called "English is Crazy" detailing many of the hilarious inconsistencies of this language we speak (Why do we drive on a parkway and park in a driveway?) I'd love to add it to my repertoire (I know it wasn't one of Pete's songs). Can anyone point me to the lyrics or, better still, a recording of the song?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: masato sakurai
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 12:40 PM

Previous thread (CLICK HERE).

~Masato


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: MMario
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 12:52 PM

ENGLISH LANGUAGE IS CRAZY


Let's face it -- English is a crazy language. 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, that you comb through annals of history but not a single annal? 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 preacher praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? If you wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your tongue?

Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? Park on driveways and drive on parkways?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and wise guy are opposites? How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another.

Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent? Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful gown? Met a sung hero or experienced requited love? Have you ever run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled, ruly or peccable? And where are all those people who ARE spring chickens or who would ACTUALLY hurt a fly?

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 clock goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn't a race at all). That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: GUEST,karen
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 01:52 PM

MMario Thank you so much for that wonderful essay!!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: MMario
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 01:59 PM

it's possibly the source of the lyrics or vice verso - I believe I saw this in print back in the 60's


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 04:26 PM

if English had not 'borrowed' so much from all the other languages, it would not be so crazy....nor so useful and flexible. Trade-offs in everything


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: MMario
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 04:32 PM

trivia - english has more sexual double meanings then any other language. I once heard someone (I think it was Asimov) attribute it to being a language derived from Norman men at arms trying to pick up saxon bar girls.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: swirlygirl
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 04:43 PM

Yet English is possibly the most developed language in the world today as it's moved on from its syntactic roots to a much more analytic form, whereas most if not all of the other languages it's "borrowed" from have not developed as far and still have all the things that make us hate learning other languages so much like cases and declensions and shit like that...

So you can pride yourself in saying that if you speak English then you're kind of a linguistic pioneer of a sort! You're helping to forge the path to show the others the way to analytic language!

:)

xxx


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: mack/misophist
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 05:49 PM

It doesn't hurt that English is also the most plastic, ie. changable, language in the world. A reasonably well educated Spaniard, Russian, or Italian can read their national epic in the origional, with a little effort. I defy the average English speaker to make it through Canterbury Tales without a little help. Beowulf is out of the question.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: Anahootz
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 06:13 PM

Y'all need to pick up copies of Richard Lederer's books, "Crazy English", and "Anguished English".

Not much explanation as to why things are the way they are, but some great essays, such as the one about 'Foxen in the henhice' (foxes in the henhouses...Ox, oxen, so Fox, foxen. Mouse, mice, so House, hice...right?)

'hootz


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: artbrooks
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 06:22 PM

And American, which has a vague relationship to English, is even stranger.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: Mr Red
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 07:51 PM

Strictly speaking Lyn Koch the English don't "drive on a parkway" that is "American as she is spoke". But yes any Bastard language with its many meanings for one word and many words for one meaning is rich pickings for wordplay. I nearly said paronamasia but I couldn't spell it
I revel in it, not sure if my friends share my enjoyment but - HEY - that's their loss.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: JudeL
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 08:18 PM

Cleave - to split apart, or to hold together!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: Hrothgar
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 03:24 AM

The really frightening thing about the English language is that of all the people in the world who speak versions of it as a first language, half are American.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: GUEST,anglophile
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 05:31 AM

anybody heard the legendary Lancashire bard Hovis Presley? One of his classic lines is "fishmonger, fishmonger, mong me a fish"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: Naemanson
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 08:56 AM

You ought to try "English As She Is Spoke" a book on how to speak English by a portuguese wirter who couldn't speak English but had a Portuguese-Italian-English Dictionary. Never let it be said that book learning can make up for the real experience.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: 53
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 11:35 AM

Ever heard people from Georgia.?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: GUEST,jeankbcs
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 12:43 PM

Back to the original question...This song is also found on Pete's album "Headlines & Footnotes" on Smithsonian Folkways.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: Mrrzy
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 12:58 PM

MMario, that is actually almost right! English is a creole of Saxon (the downtrodden at the time) and Norman (the Upper Crust); a pidgin will have formed with Saxon grammar substituting in Norman words, the way any pidgin forms when a people is conquering, or attempting to conquer, another who speak a different language. The children of the next generation, hearing the pidgin, will turn it into a creole - a full-fledged language with basic grammatical roots in the socially-inferior language and basic vocabulary from the socially-superior language. This is how we get words like s**t or f**k, which used to be the POLITE terms in Saxon (like defecate or have intercourse), but which became the rude words (as coming from Saxon) in the creole, while the original bad words from Saxon were lost. I wonder what they SAID when f**k was the polite term!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: Mr Red
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 04:46 PM

Mrrzy I think they said NORWICH. (answers on a postcard please)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: swirlygirl
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 04:51 PM

Well if people can't read the national epics like the canterbury tales and beowulf then we should be teaching them how to at an earlier age...

:0)

xxx


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: Ferret
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 05:26 PM

If you give a horse a drink of water then it is said you are "watering the horse" But if you give a cat a drink of milk why is it not "milking the cat".

All the best ferret


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: alanabit
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 05:42 PM

For our cousins who didn't get Mr.Red's NORWICH joke, it comes from an Alan Bennett sketch and stands for "(K)Nickers Off Ready When I Come Home!" I was British born and speak some German, but I suspect that many of my students who studied "Mittelhochdeutsch" would be be better equipped to cope with "Beowulf" or the "Canterbury Tales" than I am. I wonder what Wolfgang or Susanne think about that? I like Mrrzy's description of the way English was formed, but it is also worth mentioning that at that time, in common with most European countries, Latin was the language of the church (which exercised enormous temporal power at the time) and of law. As loot and pillage of Western Britain was the sport of several neighbouring nations at the time, Saxon, French and Latin were by no means the only influences on the syntax and grammar of our language. You could spend all your days studying the effects on the grammar alone. I only started to realise the contradictions when I began to try to explain to Germans why we don't say, "He is ever an interesting man"...etc.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: MudGuard
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 05:48 PM

Mrrzy, there are not only the Saxon and Norman roots in the English language, but a very strong Latin one as well.

53, what have the people of Georgia to do with this, I thought this discussion was about English language. As far as I know people in Georgia speak either Georgian or Russian...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: swirlygirl
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 06:18 PM

And then you have to take into account that the Saxon invasions (and it wasn't only Saxons) affected different parts of England (And yes, Scotland too) in different ways so there were loads of different dialects of English, with differences in grammar and vocab...

I remember once on my medieval English travels that Middle English had 100 or over 100 ways of spelling, speaking the word "through"...

:)

xxx


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: swirlygirl
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 06:25 PM

And then there's sweat and sweated...sweated is not a good word...now swat (like cAt not dOt) I think is the way to go...

Like jumped which in lots of Scots dialects is jamp e.g. I jamp aff the wa' an' hurt ma leg...

:)

xxx


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: mack/misophist
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 08:33 PM

If you want to go into English spelling and usage, blame Mr J Caxton, printer and publisher of the first book in common (more or less) English. In his day only a handful of English words had an official spelling. When he set the type for 'The Idyls of the King', he got to make up his own spellings, selecting from the five dialects spoken within a day's ride of London. Yes Virginia, cough was once pronounced like that. J Caxton is personally to blame for our spelling and some of our odd usage.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: MarkS
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 10:12 PM

Also, in Caxtons time the powers that be made up Engish GRAMMER rules by using many of the rules of Latin - the language of the educated back then. That's why split infinitives and dangling participles are no-nos, even though they are used by us common folk all the time.
So we are actually speaking a Germanic derived creole, and trying to conform to rules of a classical language which has not been spoken for centuries.

Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: artbrooks
Date: 16 Feb 02 - 08:26 AM

And the Celts...and the Picts...and the Angles...and the Jutes...and the Danes...

An interesting thing about the Canterbury Tales is that many (most?) Americans can understand it much better read in Middle English than they can reading it.

Speakers of current dialects of English are often unintentionally insulted by others because of words that have local/cultural connotations. For example, there is another thread running right now where one contributor (according to her, an American) is using a word "eejit" in what is supposedly an humorous Irish sense, and another contributor (also an American) is feeling insulted because he understands that to mean "idiot" and isn't amused.

Personally, I can deal with most British English dialects, at least as much as I've encountered them on BBC television shows imported into the States, but I have a hard time with the South Asian (India/Pakistan) version. Americans LOVE Australian, BTW.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: Hrothgar
Date: 16 Feb 02 - 09:13 AM

When Wordsworth said

"We must be free or die, who speak the toungue / That Shakespeare spake"

- did he really know what he was talking about? He might have known what freedom was about, but the rest of it is a problem.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: Jerry Dingleman: The Boy Wonder(inactve)
Date: 16 Feb 02 - 09:21 AM

In the past few years I've heard a lot of performers say, "here's a song that's off my new CD."

Then you look at the CD and see that it's not "off" the the CD at all, it's ON the CD.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: Hrothgar
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 07:37 AM

That's something that happens off and on.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: 'English is ca-raaaazy'
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 01:53 PM

Swirlygirl

In more genteel times, we were instructed that horses sweat, men perspire, but ladies just glow!

Kitty


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 10 August 7:17 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.