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Born in the UK but now living in Australia, Paul Fox has travelled to many places throughout China. He has seen the lighter side, the darker side, both the gentle and the seedy sides. He documents his experiences and is willing to share them with anyone who wants to listen. He is not afraid to say things exactly how he sees them, and is quite happy to "name and shame" when necessary.
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So You Think You Wanna Learn English?    

By Paul Fox
1220 Views | 23 Comments | 4/4/2019 1:34:09 PM

Grammar Police!

We've all heard the phrase "Words, are swords."
Move the 's' from the end of 'words' and place it at the beginning, and you get 'sword'.
This is why we say words can 'cut you', or 'words are cutting.'

If I were to say to you 'You are a useless piece of sh1t', then not only could those words hurt you,but they could stay with you forever. Yet if I said something like, "You are useless piece of 47", it has no meaning, and therefore no intention.

We go to school and we learn how to spell. Yet a spell is a curse, and 'to curse' means 'to swear', and we 'swear' an oath. We learn to write, which is spoken as 'rite', and a 'rite' is a ritual.

Why do the words 'proceed' and 'precede' sound almost the same, yet have opposite meanings?

Confucius said, - "Signs and symbols rule the world, not words or laws"

Yet the Greek for 'word' is 'logos', and from that we get 'logo', and a logo is a symbol or sign.

So words themselves are signs and symbols, yet no-one sees it.
A capital 'M' looks like a mountain; 'V' looks like a valley; 'C' is a crescent, and 'D', on its side, looks like a dome. A 'B' looks like women's breasts, and even a 'T' has a top on it.

Are these not symbols?

If I asked you what's the most important word in English, what would you say? Look at what's hidden inside the word 'know'.

So is it 'No', or 'Know' that's the most important word?
Light, in Greek, is 'Gamma', and from that we get 'grammar'.

The English language can be traced right back to the Phoenician people, but it was originally mostly spoken, and not written.

Is that why we have a 'phone'? Young kids are taught 'phonics' and the 'phonetic alphabet'.
Someone who didn't understand something all those years ago would have been called 'deaf'.
A 'deaf Phoenician' = 'definition'. (Phoney?)

If 'diction' means to speak, and definition means 'meaning', then why do we use a dictionary and not a 'definitionary'?

The word 'person' = 'per son', (as in one per person)

If you go to court you have a jury. One jury; one court. If you lie, you commit perjury = 'per jury'.
We go to court and stand in front of a judge. Information is passed backwards and forwards between two sides, and the judge makes a decision.

Tennis, anyone?

What's the difference? Tennis is played on a court; the ball goes backwards and forwards between the players, and the umpire, (judge), makes the final decision.

We are 'summoned' to court, and we 'summon' the dead. This is because we are 'dead'. We are all 'corpse' orations (Corporations)

Why do we put government leaders into 'power'? We go to the polls (poles) in order to vote (volt), and then put them in 'charge'. (You charge your phone with 'power')
If you buy something using your credit-card, you 'charge' it to your card.

If you're a little stupid, you're 'dim'. We are kept 'in the dark', or we 'shed light' on something.

The word 'language' comes from the Old-French word 'languir', which means 'languish'.
In Latin, 'languire' means to 'be listless / weak, or faint'.

Can you C; sea; see what I'm talking about yet?

We are languishing in our language.

We are 'whirled' in our 'world'. Soldiers are 'sold to die'.

We are 'weak' after working for a 'week', so we look forward to the weekend because we are 'weakened'.
We earn money, but after we die our ashes are put into an 'urn'.

'Evil' is simply 'live' spelled backwards. The reverse spelling of 'love' would be 'evol' and would be pronounced the same way that 'evil' is spoken. It's where we get the word 'evolution'.

The word 'spirit' can be seen in 'inspiration' - where does INspiration come from?
It comes from 'withIN', and what's within? Our spirit !

It's interesting that the word 'level' is spelled the same backwards,
especially when you consider its meaning.

Words are 'spells'. This is why we spell words correctly, (or, right) when we write (rite).

When a ship comes into port, it 'berths'. It is then provides a 'manifest', which is a full list of its cargo. When we are born, we are 'birthed' from our mother's 'canal', after her 'water' breaks.
The verb to 'manifest' means to 'appear' - just like a ship 'appears' in its berth.
It's not there one minute, it's there the next. We are given a birth 'certificate' when we 'manifest' into the world. Mother is the 'ship'; we are the 'cargo'. (Mothership)

After that, we're on a 'ship' our whole lives. We have citizenship; friendship; fellowship; partnership; relationship; membership.....the list goes on.....

A ship berths in a dock. You go to court and the 'bailiff' puts you in the 'dock'.
If you are born in a hospital then the 'docked-ore' (doctor) 'de-livers' the baby. ('Liver' means 'life')

We have cash 'flow'; liquid, or frozen, assets, and we put our money in a 'bank'.
If we go abroad on holiday, we go 'overseas'.

The cash we use depends on where we currently are - that's why it's known as 'current-sea',(currency), and 'current' also relates to electricity, as well as water.

There's the electricity / power connection again. A doctor (docked-ore) performs 'surge' ry on you, and if you die in hospital, the doctor will use 'paddles' in order to resuscitate you.
These paddles use electric 'currents', and 'currents' are found in rivers and seas.

When you are released from hospital, you are 'dis-charged'.

A property is 'leased', and you are the 'property' of the government, that is why you are 're-leased' back into the community so you can pay more tax.

Æ is a Latin grapheme named 'æsc' or ash, formed from the letters A and E.
('Grapheme' just means a unit of a writing system). This grapheme used to be seen in the word 'ENCYCLOPÆDIA'

If we reverse Æ we get 'EA', which is essentially pronounced 'eeya', or, 'ia' or 'Yah', and means 'God'. The original Hebrew word for 'God' is 'EL' (L)

So if Æ, in reverse, means 'God', and 'EL', also means 'god', then what can we find in all this?

What's a 'vow'? A vow is a promise, right?
The letters A and E are vowels, or 'Vow ELs'. - which means a promise to god.

The next 3 vowels are I, O, and U. What's an 'IOU'?
The letter 'Y' can also be considered a vowel.

So the vowels in English are essentially- A. E. I. O. U. Y.
Therefore we can easily see how these 6 vowels can become -

'God, I Owe You, Why?

Talking of 'god', the Bible is full of lies, and we call 'lies', in English, 'bull-shit'.
In order to be polite, if we say someone is talking 'bull', it means they are lying.

Since we have to buy a Bible, and it's full of lies, it should be spelled 'BuyBull'.
'Bi' means 2, and when 2 people get married, they buy (bi) a house together.

When you wake up in the morning, you are 'awake', and 'a wake' is a funeral.
When someone dies, we go into 'mourning'. Is this why we 'awake' in the 'morning' (mourning)?

If you are 'aware', then you know what's happening around you, but a 'ware' is something that's for sale.
We call ourselves 'human beings', because we're all human 'being' something.

I'm a human 'being' a teacher, - what are you a human 'being'?

Why is the word 'fun' in 'funeral'.?
When you die, you are deceased, but to 'cease' means to stop, and 'de' means to 'stop' or to 'take away'.
So if 'deceased' means 'dead', 'de-cease' must mean to stop being 'dead' and to 'start living'.

A child is a 'kid', but this is the name given to a baby goat. In 'Middle-English', the word 'gote' meant 'drain', or 'gutter' which is where waste goes.

From 'gutter', we get 'gut', and our gut is at our waist, where our own 'waste' is stored.
Most people have no idea as to the power of the words we use every day.

Go check out an old move, or radio broadcast from the 1940s or 1950s, and listen to the words used, plus the intonation. You'll probably think it's hilarious when compared to modern usage.

If you would like to read more on this subject, as well as many others, please feel free to click the link below and get my latest book. (If you think you can handle it)

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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#2019-04-04 13:33:56 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Paul, you have laid out here a huge number of idiosyncrasies of the English language that no doubt confuse your students to no end. To us for whom English is our native tongue they are interesting examples of how a good language can go wrong.

However, I can't understand the point of the article itself.  What exactly is the point you're trying to make?

Thanks, John  

#2019-04-04 14:31:06 by paulfox1 @paulfox1


Since you are a retired lawyer, I'm a little surprised you needed to ask that question. Do you not under-stand what I am talking about here?

Do you know anything about 'legalese'? Let's see if any of our other contributors can understand the point of this blog. If not, then I'll happily answer your question.

#2019-04-04 17:05:01 by oldghost @oldghost

Reading this, as soon as I saw '47', a Chengyu phrase popped into mind: 乱七八糟. Then another 二百五 and then an English phrase 'at sixes and sevens'.  I too wondered about purpose..Wondered where this wandering discourse would wind up.  As in where would a walk to work on a winding road with a wound wound wind up - winded perhaps but don't get too wound up about it! - no doubt English is frequently mystifying, often defying explanation, and seemingly irrational.

But! What was your point?


#2019-04-05 09:33:41 by Barry1 @Barry1





Paul, everything you say here is interesting, the same as someone dropping a brick on your head in one way can be called "interesting". 


Go mate, go!  (giggle)




#2019-04-05 13:12:13 by paulfox1 @paulfox1


47 was just a random number that fell mout of my head - it could have been anything, so there really wasn't any significance to my using it.

Another phrase we use instead of 'at sixes and sevens', is 'all-at-sea'.

This one DOES have significance, and if you discovered what the significance is, then you'd understand the reason for this blog.

Why do I have to 'spoon-feed' everyone? Can no-one thing for themselves these days? Or are they just too lazy and apathetic to even try?

#2019-04-05 13:12:50 by paulfox1 @paulfox1


I'm surprised at you, Pitbull.

#2019-04-06 13:23:13 by Barry1 @Barry1


Being surprised is good, Paul.... I'd hate to be considered predictable or boring 🤔

#2019-04-06 14:09:16 by oldghost @oldghost

The adage 'if a student hasn't learnt the teacher hasn't taught' applies; if the reader hasn't got the point, the writer hasn't made it.  Claims of laziness and apathy do not add to your case.Just ad hominem argument, such as a Trump mght use.

#2019-04-06 22:39:11 by oldghost @oldghost

@paulfox As to the origin of 'language' as a word, I am very sceptical about your attribution!  Just think of the phrase 'lingua franca' and then review ... from my Latin of 50 years ago lingua is tongue.



#2019-04-07 15:19:17 by paulfox1 @paulfox1


"For he that would be deceived, let him be deceived'

I wasn't trying to 'teach' anything - not yet, anyway.

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