The Chaos in English Language- Part II: Economy of Effort

Chaos in English Language

Economy of Effort is just a sophisticated way of saying lazy tongues because something as trivial as laziness cannot seem to affect a language. However, it does!

The last time we discussed how Invasion and theft made a chaos in the English Language, we already knew the other factors affecting and resulting in this chaos, however, we chose to unveil them step and by step, blog by blog!

The foreign language influence hadn’t yet clawed deeper into the language when lazy tongues came into picture. Linguists prefer to call it “Economy of Efforts.” In an attempt to “use efforts economically” while speaking, English speakers developed sounds that were not what it were meant to be. The way this functioned for these lazy tongues was by dropping some sounds out of the pronunciation to save efforts. It was claimed that this dropping of sounds made the pronunciation more distinct for the listener.

The complicated bits of pronunciation in the Old English that came from French and Scandinavian influence were the sounds that were dropped. Hopian seemed too long, so it became “hope” and the “e” in the end was just preferred to be kept silent. Some sound combinations that were tricky got simplified, such as, “kn” was reduced to “n” and “wr” was just “r.” When these sounds were deleted in speech, some also disappeared from writing while some still remained. The sound of “kh” was spelled as “gh” but the pronunciation was just “f” as in laughter and at times, this new “gh” was altogether dropped in speech like in “daughter.”

Lazy tongue was not the only reason for this chaos caused due to pronunciations. The Great Vowel shift made a lot of difference. It was all unclear and unpredictable. In the duration between the 1400s to sometime in 1700, the pronunciations kept dissolving into something else leading to the present day pronunciations. There was a time when “boot” sounded like “boat” and “out” was pronounced as “oot.” The sounds changed, and the spellings remained.

The present day English is a complicated mess. However, our translation experts have mastered this mess in order to offer you the best language translation services. From legal document translation services to passports and others, we provide it all. Give us a buzz at 888-670-3369 and we shall address all your translation and interpretation related queries.

The Chaos in English Language- Part I: Invasion and Theft

Chaos in English Language

The beauty of a language lies in its simplicity, and if we talk about the English language, no doubt, it is a language of “talk less and express more.” So, for a language lover, efforts should be to express complex thoughts in a simple way so that everyone could understand it.

However, with the passage of time, the English language has become a language of chaos and a capricious mess for entirely human reasons.

For instance, take a glance at first four lines of the poem by Gerard Nolst Trinité called The Chaos.

Dearest creature in creation

Studying English pronunciation,

I will teach you in my verse

Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.

The poem contains around 800 spelling inconsistencies in the English.

Such meaningless and fiddling attempts take readers to the state of extreme confusions. Though alterations are the act of creativity, it should be done within bounds so that the thing you are experimenting on should not lose its originality.

However, the problem of great confusion starts when letters came from Latin while building a spelling system in English. Let’s delve deeper to know what happened to English, what made it a complete chaos, and what kind of mocktail, we have been serving in the name of English.

The story is full of invasions and thefts. It all started when Romans invaded Britain in the 1st century AD and brought their alphabet. Then turn came for the Angles and Saxons in the 7th century; they came with their language. Further, in the 9th century, Vikings captured few part of England and introduced few words including ‘they’ by displacing old English ‘hie’. In 1066, Norman French added words from French vocabulary that with the passage of time became beef, pork, tongue, invade, and so on.

Though, a few centuries later, English separated out the French (but not their words), they started to capture territories in Australia, India, Africa, and America. Consequently, the English language became a language of conquests. However, the irony is these mock tails in English have become a topic of debate as some people consider it right while several find it wrong. So, one can say the borrowed words that came from other Latin alphabet spelling systems, are neither entirely rejected or adapted. For instance, Norwegian set the word chauffeur into sjåfør and Finnish people turned strand into ranta. But, in English, we adopted the pronunciation but modified the spelling of several words, for example, galosh (from French galoche), boat (from French bateau) and strange (from French estrange).

So, we do not like to spell things as they sound, and in this way, we created chaos in the English language. Needless to say, we enjoy such discomforts and confusions because this is how we boast how big we are the knower of the English language.

True that the English language is an inevitable part of our lives because it allows us to express our thoughts.The good thing is still we have several agencies that do not believe in arbitrary practices and offer professional language translation services as per your requirement. Get your doc translated in or from English while you wait for the next part of this story. Give us a buzz at 888-670-3369 and we shall address all your translation and interpretation related queries.

—to be continued.