English Is A Funny Language

“English is a very funny language. Baron becomes Bhairo and Bhairo becomes Baron in English”… Amitabh Bachchan was so right about this… or at least the script writers were. English IS a funny language. The amount of exceptions that are there can easily bewilder any normal person.

Here is some weirdness below. I was almost hysterical at my wondrous thoughts while I was sitting in the bus all alone and smirking.

  • I can be overwhelmed or underwhelmed but never just whelmed.
  • Similarly an actor can be overrated or underrated but never only rated
  • I could be nonchalant AF in most situations but you’d never catch me chalant…
  • An unfortunate accident can dismember you but can a fortunate accident member you?
  • 80’s kids, at least in India, used “freak out” to indicate that their party hat is on. So when I say I am going to ‘freak out’ with my gang, it could mean a) I’m gonna hang with my friends and have a kickass party or b) we are going to have a group nervous breakdown for some reason. Go figure!!!

I was never great with the language in question. One fine day Grandpa decided to control the reigns of my lessons and bought me 3 books of “Words Are Important”; I was in 4th standard meaning almost 10 years old. The first word I learnt was ‘Brook’, which meant both – to tolerate (verb) and a stream of water (noun). I cried that night to my mommy saying I’d never use English because it is a scary language and I wouldn’t know which meaning one is referring to when a word like ‘brook’ is used in a sentence.

However, here I am, almost 27 years later, still holding on to the first thesaurus Grandpa gifted me when I passed my 10th Board Exams, and still learning the meaning of new words and phrases.