English is as good as a second language to us Indians. Some of us are taught the language from the cradle up just as our native tongues are. When you’re learning two languages at the same time, there are bound to be comparisons, confusions and mix-ups. We try to relate the grammatical rules of one language with that of the other to make sense of how the other language works. I think the biggest pet peeve that Indians have with the English language is that words are not pronounced the way their written in English. So if tomb is pronounced ‘toom’, and womb is ‘woom’, bomb should be pronounced ‘boom’ but it’s not. But this is not where the confusion in the language ends.
Not to toot my own horn, but I believe I have a fair grasp of the language, but every now and then I stumble across a word or phrase that stumps me and makes me wonder about the sanity of the language makers.
So here I have compiled a list of words that, in my opinion, have weird meanings and should mean something else.
Bucolic – Reminds me of colic, coughing and crying, instead of a serene, rural place.
Diaphanous – Makes me think it refers to something huge, like dinosaurs, not petite or flimsy, next to nothing things.
Palimpsest – Sounds like a kind of pest; not a manuscript with overwritten writing.
Pastiche – Paste+Quiche or Pasta+Quiche = Pastiche, means an imitation however.
Wherewithal – Till very recently I used to think it means the same as ‘whereabouts’, when it actually means money or means needed for something.
Viscount – Sounds like a discount so good that you exclaim ‘why-count’ (yeah, its pronounced that way, when discount is pronounced dis-count *rolls eyes*), but it’s an English title for the nobility.
Catastrophe – Why a disaster? Why not an apostrophe for cat language?
Oxymoron – This should mean an ox who’s a moron or a moron like an ox; not a figure of speech.
Discombobulated – This is a definite tongue twister. Why? Because it causes a fair bit of ‘confusion’ for the tongue, which is what it means – confusion. No shit!
Bibliophile – This means someone who likes books a lot, but why the heck does this not mean someone who likes the Bible a lot?
Stupendous – Why does this mean ‘awesome’ while stupid means ‘stupid’ even though their origin in Latin is the same?
Annal – Do I even need to tell you why? It means a record of the events of one year, BTW. You decide which sounds better!
Aaaaaand just for fun, I’ll throw in an English quiz that I found last night on my-favorite-source-of-random-useless-and-timepass-information, Pinterest. See if you can go till the end of this one without getting your face all crinkly.
Go on… swear! I know you want to 😛
Have a happy, happy weekend!
Copyright ©2017 Pradita Kapahi.
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Image Credits: www.pinterest.com