SNOHOMISH WASHINGTON NEWSPAPER Saturday, September 21, 2019   
Snohomish Times News
Home | Business News | County News | Entertainment | Local News | Photo Gallery | Prep Sports | Roads Traffic News | Snohomish News Archive | STSPN.COM

Same name, different meaning

Freds Rivertown Alehouse
Published:2019-06-26 Column
Same name, different meaning    Print Snohomish Times    
Same name, different meaning

By: Jill Pertler

The English language is fraught with conundrums. It’s probably why I love it so much. It’s never boring and continually keeps me learning (or guessing – or both).

One of these complexities has to do with words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings – our good friend, the homonym.

When it comes to homonyms you get two for the price of one – two types of homonyms, that is. Sometimes they are spelled the same, pronounced the same, but have different meanings: The river bank is next to the bank where I have my savings account.

These similarly spelled homonyms are called homographs. I don’t have any problem with homographs. You learn to spell one word and get to use it in two ways. I’ve always been an advocate of multi-tasking.

If all homonyms could be homographs the world would be a simpler place. English would make more sense. Spelling would be orderly and logical. If only.

English is not simple, orderly or logical and one of the key culprits to this lack of simplicity is the group of homonyms known as homophones. These are words that sound alike, but have different spellings. They force us to memorize correct spellings and meanings and attempt to keep them straight. (Or is it strait?) They’re misguided if their goal is to help us find any meaning there.

Many of these homophones seem so very random. Consistency does not run rampant in the world of homophones.

For instance: dear and deer sound the same, as do hear and here. If the language gods were going to set up two different spellings why not make them differently the same? If you’re going to go with dear and deer, wouldn’t it make sense to also have hear and heer? Or alternatively dear and dere?

To further complicate matters, not all words with the same word pattern rhyme. There’s dear, hear and wear. To take the lack of logic one-step further, the homophone of wear could, for consistency’s sake, be weer or were, but it’s not. It’s where. Another spelling altogether. Who wouldn’t be confused by such arbitrary letter assembly?

It’s befuddling and I haven’t even openly addressed the trifecta of there, they’re and their, which hardly anyone can keep straight. Except those of us who can are driven completely mad by those of you who can’t. Truth – so there/their/they’re. (Take your pick, but choose carefully.)

The worst offenders are both homographs and homophones, which I guess technically makes them true homonyms. Sole can be a fish, but it also multi-tasks as the bottom of your foot. Why then do we need an extra spelling – soul – to mean soul as in the essence of our being? Why isn’t sole solely sole?

Further along the spectrum of absurdity: Ever think about the fact that you could eat charred chard or chilly chili? Or that it takes lots of letters to write a letter?

It doesn’t end, this English language labyrinth we (attempt to) communicate with every day. For the most part I dive head first into the intricacies. Although I groan, it’s because of linguistic entities like homonyms that I’ve grown in my love-hate relationship with the English language; I know there’s no other language I’d rather speak and write, and there’s just something that feels right about that.

Homonyms, homographs and homophones – I’ll take them all.




Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Guardsmen to deploy to Middle East Guardsmen to deploy to Middle East
More than 400 Washington National Guard Soldiers from the 1st Squadron, 303rd Cavalry Regiment will deploy later this month in support of Operation Spartan Shield, an on-going operation in Southwest Asia.


Published: Sunday, September 15, 2019
DSHS falls short on Lakeland Village DSHS falls short on Lakeland Village
DSHS falls short on Lakeland Village survey in Medical Lake


Published: Thursday, September 12, 2019
SnoPUD Prepares for Storm Season SnoPUD Prepares for Storm Season
As the calendar turns to fall and turbulent weather looms on the horizon, Snohomish County PUD is ready.


Published: Wednesday, September 11, 2019
National Cup Northwest Regional to Stocker Fields National Cup Northwest Regional to Stocker Fields
US Club Soccer has announced a four-year partnership with Snohomish Youth Soccer Club and Snohomish County to bring its National Cup Northwest Regional to Stocker Fields, beginning next summer.


Published: Friday, September 06, 2019
2nd Annual Gang Awareness event 2nd Annual Gang Awareness event
Everett Police hosting 2nd Annual Gang Awareness event Sept. 16



Traffic Conditions Published: 2019-09-06
More Effective and Efficient Processing
Published: 2019-09-05
Grand Opening celebration
Published: 2019-08-25
High-efficiency street sweepers
Published: 2019-08-25
Commercial Structure Fire in Woodinville
Published: 2019-08-21
Bridge work to close lanes on I-5
Published: 2019-08-20
Free Car Wash
Published: 2019-08-18
Financial Advisor Sterling Gurney gets CFP

Rairdons Monroe Dodge

Snohomish Sports Network

Advertisement

Live Police Scanner

Snohomish County Sheriff, City of Snohomish,
Lynnwood, Mill Creek, Everett - Police & EMS/Fire


Advertisement

mondotimes
The Worldwide Media Guide

 


SNOHOMISH contact