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  1. #1
    havythoai is offline Newbie
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    Default English is so complicated

    I am a student of an Unversity in Vietnam, and my major is aeronautical engineering. As you know, my English is not good. I knew a beautiful American girl, a true-bone American girl with fair hair and a pair of blue eyes, quite by chance when her delegation from Harvard University, which consisted of 5 professors and 10 students, visited my department last month. She has made a nice impression on my mind at the fist teaching period, not only her beauty but also her humorousness. Marry is her name, she is just 19 years old and being a student majoring in law at Harvard University

    After the conference, we went to a restaurant in front of my school to have lunch together. As a host, I had to show my hospitality to foreign guests, in particular, to this beautiful guest by giving a reception. I ordered a plate of goose and sweetbread, two glasses of milking cow. Meanwhile, we talked to each other, and I complained to her about learning English that:

    - The language of your country is so complicated ! I have learned it for 4 years, but sometimes I’ve still spoken and written wrongly seriously. For example, English has many extremely unintelligible words such as how a slim chance and a fat chance can be the same meaning, flammable and inflammable mean the same thing, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites ? A wise man means an erudite person, but if the word “man” is replaced by “woman”, then the phrase “wise woman” will have a different meaning, which implies enchantress, sorceress. !!! Why park on driveways, but drive on parkways ? Why recite at a play, but play at a recital? …Also, the word WITH in “England fought with France against Germany” means alongside, but WITH in “England fought with France” means against?… It’s funny when restroom is not the room for rest but just for hygiene, similiarly men’s room is not the room for men to stay but it means washroom…. What an odd thing !

    She smiled at me and said that “English is like that, sometimes there’re some words that we can not explain clearly. For instance, why “crazy man” is insult, while to insert a comma and say, “Crazy, man!” is a compliment (as when you’re applauding a rock performance)” . I nodded my head in agreement, right then the waiter brought the meal out. When he put the plate of goose down on the table, I suddently said to her that :

    - Why is the plural of goose geese but not gooses ? If so, the plural of moose must also be meese, not mooses? Similiarly if the plural of tooth is teeth, why the plural of booth isn't beeth? If I speak of a foot and you show me two feet, but I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet? The plural of box is boxes, but the plural of ox is oxen, not oxes !? And a weird thing is that the singular of sheep is sheep, but the plural of sheep is still sheep???…. How paradoxial it is!

    After hearing what I just said, immediately Marry held her sides with laughter, then she didn’t say anything. I thought that she probably didn’t know either how to explain it or why that is? We started have lunch. While eating, I complained to her again that:

    - Two-word verbs of your language are so complex, they drive me carzy. If the words such as “on, back, off, over, in, out, up, down, into,…” follow the words “get, put, carry, take, come, bring…”, then they will become two-word verbs which have many different meanings, and it’s extremely complicated…For example, to come across, come away, come back, come between, come down, come forward, come off, come out, come round, come through, come up, …so on..It’s so complicated.!!! Also, why does UP has so many meanings if it follows verbs? Once I’ve read a paragraph on the Net like this: “It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we waken in the morning, why do we wake UP? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report? We call UP our friends, we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car. At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special, and this is confusing. A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.” ….And why, when I wind UP my watch, I start it, but when I wind UP this topic, I end it ?… How weird it is when my house can burn UP as it burns DOWN !!!…

    Marry looked at me and laughed aloud while the food was still inside her mouth. She kept laughing for 5 minutes, even there were some pieces of goose dropping out of her mouth. Then she tried to suppress her laugh to tell me that “Please! Don’t say anymore, I’ll die laughing!”. After that I kept silence until she and I finished the meal. When she held the glass of milking cow up to drink for the last, accidently I told her that:

    - The pronounciation of English is also intricate! Why is "break" not rhymed with "freak"? "Beard" sounds not the same as "heard", "Cord" is different from "word","Cow" is cow, but "low” is low? "Shoe" is never rhymed with "foe", and if "pay" is rhymed with "say", then why "paid" and "said" are not the same? … How strange it is! Sometimes I think that all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.
    Immediately after I just finished speaking, she busted in laughter even the milking cow from her mouth was splashed over my face, everybody around looked attentively at me, then she apologized to me and got a handkerchief out her handbag to wipe my face… From that point, I didn’t say anything. I was afraid that if I have continued to talk about English, she would probably have done some certain things like this again

    After we finished the lunch, she and her delegation returned the hotel to have a rest, then all of them would take the plane back to America tomorrow. But at that evening, she and I went out together. I lead her some places around the hotel to enjoy the beauty of Ho Chi Minh City by night, she seemed to be very interested in walking with me and so did I. Then we went for saunter in the park. All of a sudden I held her hand, then she simled at me and she didn’t has any reaction. I didn’t mean to take the advantage of her naivety to hold her hand. If you were in my situation, you would also probably do that when you stood side by side such a beautiful girl. Nearly 11 P.M, I walked her to the hotel, and she gave me a hug and a lightly kiss on the lip right in front of the hotel. We said good-bye to each other from that place…We had a nice evening and surely it is a very special memory for both of us. When I returned home and went to bed, the phrase “English is so complicated” was still around in my mind
    --------

    the post above is filled some unreal details and some of them is extracted from some articles . Please, correct my post above if there's mistake... Thank you very much
    Last edited by havythoai; 30-Sep-2006 at 09:02.

  2. #2
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: English is so complicated

    true-bone- not a natural expression to me
    impression on my mind- on me
    Marry is her name- Mary (??)
    name, she is just 19- name;
    of milking cow- milk
    I’ve still spoken and written wrongly seriously- I still speak and write it very badly
    paradoxial - paradoxical
    simled- smiled
    lightly kiss- light

  3. #3
    havythoai is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: English is so complicated

    Thank you so much, Tdol
    Can I replace "true-bone" with "geniune" ?
    And I don't know what milk from the cow is called ? Can you tell me?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: English is so complicated

    Quote Originally Posted by havythoai View Post
    Thank you so much, Tdol
    Can I replace "true-bone" with "geniune" ?
    And I don't know what milk from the cow is called ? Can you tell me?
    The word would be 'true-borne'.

    Milk from a cow is simply 'milk'. Milk from any other animal is qualified: 'goats-milk' or 'lambs-milk', for example.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: English is so complicated

    I am a student at a University in Vietnam, majoring in aeronautical engineering. As you might know, my English is not too good. However, I once got to know a beautiful American girl; a real true-borne American girl, with fair hair and blue eyes. This was quite by chance, and happened when her delegation from Harvard University, which consisted of 5 professors and 10 students, visited my department last month. She made an immediate impression on me at the first teaching period; and I don't mean just her beauty, but her innate humour. Mary was her name; she was just 19 years old, and a student majoring in law at Harvard University

    After the conference, we went to a restaurant in front of my school to have lunch together. As the host, I had to show my hospitality to these foreign guests, and this beautiful guest in particular, by giving a reception. I ordered a plate of goose and sweetbread, with two glasses of milk. Meanwhile, we talked to each other, and I regaled her with the problems of learning English:
    - The language of your country is so complicated! I have been learning it for 4 years, but sometimes I still get it seriously wrong. For example, English has many extremely unintelligible words: how can a slim chance and a fat chance, and flammable and inflammable, mean the same thing, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? A wise man means an erudite person, but if the word “man” is replaced by “woman”, then the phrase “wise woman” will have a different meaning, and implies an enchantress or sorceress!!! Why park on driveways, but drive on parkways? Why recite at a play, but play at a recital? Why does the word WITH in “England fought with France against Germany” mean 'alongside', but mean 'against' in “England fought with France”? It’s strange when a restroom is not a room for rest, but just for hygiene, is it not? And why is the men’s room not the room for men to stay in, but the washroom? What an odd thing!

    She smiled at me and said that “English is like that. Sometimes there’re some words that we cannot explain clearly. For instance, “a crazy man” is an insult, but merely by inserting a comma, “Crazy, man!” becomes a compliment (as when you’re applauding a rock performance)” . I nodded my head in agreement. Right then, the waiter brought the meal out. When he put the plate of goose down on the table, I suddenly said to her:
    - Why is the plural of goose, geese, but not gooses? If so, the plural of moose must also be meese, not mooses? Similiarly, if the plural of tooth is teeth, why is not the plural of booth, beeth? If I speak of a foot and you show me two feet, but I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet? The plural of box is boxes, but the plural of ox is oxen, not oxes! And another weird thing is that the singular of sheep is sheep, but the plural of sheep is still sheep! How paradoxical it is!

    After hearing what I said, Mary immediately held her sides with laughter, and then said nothing. I thought that probably she either didn’t know how to explain it or could not imagine why it was? We started to have lunch. While eating, I complained to her again that:
    - The two-word verbs of your language are so complex; they drive me crazy. If the words such as “on, back, off, over, in, out, up, down, into,…” follow the words “get, put, carry, take, come, bring…”, then they will become two-word verbs which have many different meanings, and it’s extremely complicated…For example, to come across, come away, come back, come between, come down, come forward, come off, come out, come round, come through, come up, …so on..It’s so complicated.!!! Also, why does UP have so many meanings when it follows verbs? Once I read a paragraph on the Net like this: “It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we waken in the morning, why do we wake UP? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report? We call UP our friends, we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car. At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special, and this is confusing. A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.” ….And why, when I wind UP my watch, I start it, but when I wind UP this topic, I end it ?… How weird it is when my house can burn UP as it burns DOWN !!!…

    Mary looked at me and laughed aloud while the food was still inside her mouth. She kept laughing for 5 minutes; there were even pieces of goose dropping out of her mouth. Then she tried to suppress her laughter, and told me “Please! Don’t say anymore, I’ll die laughing!”. After that I kept quiet until we had both finished the meal. As she held her glass of milk up to drink for the last time, I could not help telling her that:

    - The pronounciation of English is also intricate! Why is "break" not rhymed with "freak"? "Beard" does not sound the same as "heard", "Cord" is different from "word"; "Cow" is cow, but "low” is low? "Shoe" is never rhymed with "foe", and if "pay" is rhymed with "say", then why are "paid" and "said" not the same? … How strange it is! Sometimes I think that all English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

    Immediately after I had finished speaking, she burst out laughing. Even the milk from her mouth was splashed over my face. Everybody around looked concerned. Then she apologized to me and got a handkerchief out of her handbag to wipe my face. From that point on, I didn’t say anything. I was afraid that if I had continued to talk about English, she would probably have continued in this vein.

    After we finished the lunch, she and her delegation returned to the hotel to have a rest. They were all taking the plane back to America tomorrow. But that evening, she and I went out together. I showed her some places around the hotel in order to enjoy the beauty of Ho Chi Minh City by night; she seemed very interested in walking with me, and I have to say the feeling was mutual. Then we went for a stroll in the park. All of a sudden I held her hand, she smiled at me and she didn’t react. I didn’t intend to take advantage of her naivety by holding her hand. If you were in my situation, you would probably do the same, standing side by side with such a beautiful girl.

    It was nearly 11 P.M. I walked her to the hotel, and she gave me a hug and a light kiss on the lips, right in front of the hotel. We said good-bye to each other in that place. We had a lovely evening and I am sure it will remain a very special memory for both of us. When I returned home and went to bed, the phrase “English is so complicated” swam around my mind.

    --------

    the post above is filled some unreal details and some of them is extracted from some articles . Please, correct my post above if there's mistake... Thank you very much [/QUOTE]

    I hope I get an invite to the wedding after that... .

  6. #6
    havythoai is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: English is so complicated

    Thank for correcting my post, it seems to be much better than I did.
    yeah! If that comes true, you will give you an invitation to my wedding .

    anyway, I really hope that it will come true one day

  7. #7
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    Ouisch is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: English is so complicated

    This is not a grammar critique, but more of a stylistic one.... In the beginning of the story you describe this girl as being Harvard-educated, but later in the tale she's laughing so hard she's spewing food and milk all over the place. I'm hoping that that is part of your story that is exaggerated or "unreal," because, to be honest, most women aged 19 and older simply wouldn't behave this way in public, particularly with someone they've just met, and most particularly if they're from Harvard, which tends to cater to the more genteel set.

  8. #8
    havythoai is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: English is so complicated

    That's truly a part of exaggerated details, Ouish ...! It's because I wanted my story more interesting and attractively... Those who are educated in Harvard University are very polite and genteel .
    I wish I could be a student of Harvard one day. But this sounds impossible
    Just for curiousness, have you ever visited Harvard University? Mr. Ouish

    P.S: Mary has taken my heart with her back to America. What do I have to do now ? I can't forget that kiss
    Last edited by havythoai; 03-Oct-2006 at 13:02.

  9. #9
    risby is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: English is so complicated

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffa View Post
    The word would be 'true-borne'.

    Milk from a cow is simply 'milk'. Milk from any other animal is qualified: 'goats-milk' or 'lambs-milk', for example.
    Surely it's "true-born" meaning born and bred there rather than "true-borne"
    which might be a poetic (i.e. incorrect) way of saying "carried well".

  10. #10
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    Blue Fire is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: English is so complicated

    Havythoai, your post is a real gem of creative writing, in my humble opinion. I really enjoyed your story! I love to collect writings like yours. May I quote your post to other people in other forums or websites? I would love to share your story with other folks I know!

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