Light-Hearted Language Eccentricities

Posted by M ws On Friday, June 22, 2012 0 comments
In his book, "Crazy English", Richard Lederer wrote a pithy if not pleasurable poem about the insanity associated with the past tense of verbs in the English Language. Here it is:


The verbs in English are a fright.

How can we learn to read and write?
Today we speak, but first we spoke;
Some faucets leak, but never loke.
Today we write, but first we wrote;
We bite our tongues, but never bote.

Each day I teach, for years I taught,
And preachers preach, but never praught.
This tale I tell; this tale I told;
I smell the flowers, but never smold.

If knights still slay, as once they slew
Then do we play, as once we plew?
If I still do as once I did,
The do cows moo, as they once mid?

I love to win, and games I've won;
I seldom sin;, and never son.
I had to lose, and games I lost;
I didn't choose, and never chost.

I love to sing, and sons I sang;
I fling a ball, but nevre flang.
I strike that ball, that ball I struck;
This poem I like, but never luck.

I take a break, a break I took;
I bake a cake, but never book.
I eat that cake, that cake I ate,
I beat an egg, but never bate.

I often swim, as I once swam;
I skim some milk, but never skam.
I fly a kite that I once flew;
I tie a knot, but never tew.

I see the truth, the truth I saw.
I feel from falsehood, never flaw.
I stand for truth, as I once stood;
I land a fish, but never lood.

About these verbs I sit and think.
These verbs don't fit. They seem to wink
At me, who sat for years and thought
Of verbs that never fat or wought.

According to Publius Hadweenzic, Ph.D., Professor of Piffle & Piggery at the University of Udderly Ridiculous Studies, (and a graduate of the highly-regarded University of Brown-Nosing & Kowtowing), and the Oxford English Dictionary online, Oxford University Press, quote listed in "Second Edition 1989" definition, there is but one 45-letter word that fits the bill.

The "Draft revision Sept. 2006" OED indicates that the longest word in the English language purported to be pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis " is a word invented (prob. by Everett M. Smith (born 1894), president of the National Puzzlers' League in 1935) in imitation of polysyllabic medical terms, alleged to mean 'a lung disease caused by the inhalation of very fine sand and ash dust' but occurring only as an instance of a very long word."

Of course as fictious words go, there are also plenty to choose from including:

-- Antidisestablishmentarianism

-- Floccinaucinihilipilification

-- Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

-- Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

-- Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu

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