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Off topic: Words you can never spell
Thread poster: Fiona Grace Peterson

Frances Leggett  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:35
Italian to English
+ ...
perils of the English language... Apr 22, 2010

Just a bit of fun I found:

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes;
but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice;
yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and s
... See more
Just a bit of fun I found:

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes;
but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice;
yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet,
and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
and the plural of cat is cats, not cose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
but though we say mother we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
but imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.

And from a wonderful book I read:
The Adventure of English - Melvyn Bragg
This excerpt taken from a website summarising his highlights:

"It was during this confusion that the Chancery in Westminster decided to write a standard spelling of the language, which largely shaped the language. There were also language “Tamperers” at this time that wanted to add style to English, like the style of Latin. They added silent b’s (debt, doubt), h’s (rhythm, rhyme), and l’s (could, should). Between the 14th and 16th centuries, English also underwent the “Great Vowel Shift,” in which the pronunciations of long vowels shifted into different sounds. Unfortunately, the documented spellings of the Chancery and other sources of printed language were written before this shift and do not reflect our current pronunciations resulting from this shift."
http://dawn23.blogspot.com/
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NMR (X)
France
Local time: 11:35
French to Dutch
+ ...
Aluminium Apr 23, 2010

I know how to spell it, but I cannot get it out of the keyboard right hand keeps twisting.

 

Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 07:35
English to Spanish
Not a fancy word like some I've seen... Apr 23, 2010

... but "career" makes me doubt myself. I usually use a double "r" at first (because the word in Spanish is "carrera", I assume).

"Crocodile" gets me every time, both in English and in Spanish ("cocodrilo"). I tend to place the "r" in the wrong place, in both languages.

In Spanish, "decisión" is one of my nemeses. I always hesitate on where to place the "c" and where to place the "s".

Fun thread; please keep them coming!...
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... but "career" makes me doubt myself. I usually use a double "r" at first (because the word in Spanish is "carrera", I assume).

"Crocodile" gets me every time, both in English and in Spanish ("cocodrilo"). I tend to place the "r" in the wrong place, in both languages.

In Spanish, "decisión" is one of my nemeses. I always hesitate on where to place the "c" and where to place the "s".

Fun thread; please keep them coming!

Andrea

[Edited at 2010-04-23 01:04 GMT]
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David Russi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
More... Apr 23, 2010

Massachusetts (I just had to check it...)
occur (would one C not be enough?)
judgment (I still think it needs another E)
privilege (what, no D?)
sergeant (but sarge is OK...)


 

Tsogt Gombosuren  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:35
Member (2004)
English to Mongolian
+ ...
Native English speakers often spell my name... Apr 23, 2010

as Tsgot. May be, it is more convenient for them to write "got" than to write "ogt".

 

Gail Bond  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:35
Member (2009)
French to English
Waistband Apr 23, 2010

It's waistband that gives me trouble. My brain knows exactly how to spell it, but my fingers insist on typing wasitband... I don't know why, but that always sounds a bit rude

 

Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:35
Italian to English
+ ...
bizarre and manoeuvre Apr 23, 2010

I make lots of standard typos, of course, which are now autocorrected by Word, but these are the two I don't actually know how to spell. In fact I had to Google manoeuvre to check the spelling - I can never remember where that first e should go. I seem to be making progress with bizarre, though, although it still looks wrong however I type it.
<
... See more
I make lots of standard typos, of course, which are now autocorrected by Word, but these are the two I don't actually know how to spell. In fact I had to Google manoeuvre to check the spelling - I can never remember where that first e should go. I seem to be making progress with bizarre, though, although it still looks wrong however I type it.



[Edited at 2010-04-23 07:21 GMT]
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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:35
Russian to English
+ ...
In memoriam
Then there are US-UK differences Apr 23, 2010

Of the words mentioned in this topic, Amy's experiences with diarrhea would be even worse here, where it is spelt diarrhoea. NMR's aluminium is aluminum in the USA.
And David's instinctive preference for judgement over judgment would be correct here, except in archaic English such as that of the King James Bible.


 

Fiona Gilbert Riley  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
NMR Apr 23, 2010

NMR wrote:

I know how to spell it, but I cannot get it out of the keyboard right hand keeps twisting.


Oh yes - you see, a lot of the reapirs I tranlsate about are done on vehcile aluminim bodywrok prats.


 

XXXphxxx (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:35
Portuguese to English
+ ...
diarrhoea Apr 23, 2010

sorry to lower the tone!

 

Ildiko Santana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:35
Member (2002)
Hungarian to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
liason and mischievious Apr 23, 2010

They get me every time. If they happen to be in the same text, I can just move that naughty "i"...

 

Bryan Crumpler  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:35
Dutch to English
+ ...
principals vs principles Apr 23, 2010

I'm also a musician and always seem to be thinking of one over the other... this one gets me all the time.

 

Cilian O'Tuama  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:35
German to English
+ ...
privile(d)ge Apr 24, 2010

is the most everyday word I'm never sure about and have to look up most often, not because my fingers are too fast or uncoordinated, but because I'm too stoopid to remember the correct spelling. Caribbean and reminiscent are a close second. There's another that escapes me at the mo. I know there is. Damn it.

 

Jennifer Gordon Taylor  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:35
Member (2008)
Czech to English
+ ...
Words I can never type... Apr 25, 2010

I have a problem with the word 'tariff'. I had to re-type it just now!

I also have problems typing 'comparison' and 'activities'. When I am typing fast, I always write comparision and activites. It's like my fingers are typing patterns they're more used to!

I've spelt 'privilege' right since getting it wrong in my TEFL spelling test 10 years ago. And my dad recently told me that he remembered 'principal' is a person because it has the word 'pal' at the end!


 

Jennifer Gordon Taylor  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:35
Member (2008)
Czech to English
+ ...
They're, their and there Apr 25, 2010

Brian Young wrote:

I think that many adults have problems with "they're, their and there" for the same reason that they have problems adding or dividing fractions. Education has gone way down in quality, and it is a huge problem over here in the USA. I don't blame teachers, it is a complicated thing, way beyond this forum. So it is not just an isolated language problem.


I forgot to say, in response to this, that although I know full well when they're, their and there are used, and it annoys me when other people get it wrong, I have to double check that I've typed the right one. So for me at least, it's not about educational quality.


 
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