I’m endlessly fascinated by words. Of course I am, words are my bread and butter. I love the fact that in the English language there are three ways to spell two and two ways to spell one, and that there’s a really long word (sesquipedalian) which means “long word.”
But what I’ll never understand is how things ended up being called what they’re called. I mean, try to envision the world back when nothing had names. And someone just started pointing at random things and said, “Okay, that’s a frog. And that thing over there is a raspberry, and that’s a ball-and-socket joint, and this thing that you can’t see or touch we’ll call jurisprudence.”
And then, of course, it wasn’t enough to just name something. Then you had to give it more names. “Yesterday I named those flying things ‘birds.’ But today I think that one will be an eagle, and that one will be a falcon, and that one over there will be a dodo.”
An even better example: “You saw one of those creatures that I named ‘snake’? Okay, but was it a diamondback, a rattler, a cobra, a python, a boa constrictor, a black mamba, an anaconda, an asp, a viper, a sidewinder, a copperhead, a cottonmouth, or a death adder?”
Someone named it clothing and then someone else named it apparel. It’s supper unless it’s dinner. And then one person gets paid twice a week and someone else gets paid every two weeks? Meh, biweekly covers them both.
Is it any wonder English is so hard to learn?