Thursday, December 08, 2011

The English language is so strange

As Cliff and I were walking this morning, I told him about looking up "capital" and "capitol", and wondered why we just couldn't use one word for both meanings, since the meanings are so similar.  That led to a discussion of how difficult our language really is:  One word might have a dozen meanings, various groups of letters have different sounds in certain words.  I told him there was an old I Love Lucy where Ricky had a problem with pronunciations of English words, and I wondered aloud if I could find it on Youtube.  
God bless the Internet!  I found it on my first try, and here it is.  What a classic.

9 comments:

Hyperblogal said...

I like that to two too.

TARYTERRE said...

Liked seeing the vintage clip. I must confess to my own gaff. When I was reading a book many years ago I saw the word phlegm. I pronounced it FLAYGUM. I asked my husband what it meant. He cracked up. FLEM he said, FLEM. I was so-oo embarrassed.

kcmeesha said...

Gallagher used to do this bit when he was mildly funny, goose-geese, moose- meese

Anonymous said...

I loved Lucy! My maternal grandmother (Lauretta) reminded me so much of Lucille Ball and so did an instructor (Mary Burba) at the cosmetology school I attended...Grama Rett, Lucy and Burba, I miss you all and at the same time have wonderful memories from you all! Thanks Donna for the post!
Vikki

Vicki said...

I love the new header, my first thought was that it looked like Donna heading to Bethleham with her animals. I loved Lucy too, especially when Rickey had to "splain" Vicki

Cliff said...

Loved the clip. I watched her a lot but don't recall that one.
It reminds me of the time my brother was reading from the pulpit. He was about 10 years old and scripture had the word 'heirs' in it about 5 times. He pronounded it 'hires', just mortified my mom and dad.

darev2005 said...

That was good. I remember seeing Desi on Saturday Night Live reading Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky". He had that cuban accent turned on hard and it was seriously funny.

English is a tough language to master. Most of us never do.

Michaele said...

This was funny! Great actors those two!

Lori said...

That's a good episode!

Just for your own information, since you were wondering....

The reason we have both capital and Capitol is because the origins are different. Capital, with an A, comes from the Latin word "caput" which means "head". (I remember covering this in first year Latin.) And "capital" literally means "of the head." But spelled with an O it actually meant, originally, literally the temple of Jupiter in Rome on Capitoline Hill. Later the word spelled with an O came into the English language to refer to the actual building (just as Jupiter's temple was an actual building) where a legislative body meets.

I love questions like this!!