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Just Love Words

Just ♥ Words—slough

Saturday, 04 October 2008 11:51

sloughSlough—a great word, and one that’s kept me running to the dictionary over the years. The problem is, it has 4 different pronunciations . . . along with 6 different meanings, and I can never keep them straight.  Slough is the perfect example of a heteronym.

Don’t You Just ♥ Words?

Slough — when it sounds . . .

—like slow,
is a morass or swamp or . . .
despair (as in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress)

—like slew,
is a sluice or drainage ditch

—like Sl-how . . . (or slouch, minus ch)
is a town near Liverpool, England

—like sluff,
is a skin (as in snake)
and a verb: to discard, throw off

—Okay, see how quickly
you can get through this—

He decided, that poor snake, in a slough of despond
to slough off his slough in the slough
near the slough outside Slough.

Here’s what it sounds like…

He decided, that poor snake, in a slow of despond to sluff off his sluff in the slew near the slow outside Sl-how


Well...it's how I spend my days. How do you spend yours? Got any cool words? Please join in the fun by leaving us a comment.

 

Just ♥ Words—wonton

Monday, 15 September 2008 11:57

wontonEnglish—what a great language to have fun with! Below are homophones, words that sound alike but have different meanings. (And, yes, I’ve taken a few liberties.)

Don’t You Just ♥ Words? 

want  |   wantin’   |  wanton  |  wont  |  wonton

My wont isn’t wantin’ to be wanton
I just want a wontonWant one?

Translation:
I’m not usually fresh; I’m just reaching over you for a fried wonton.


These are mine.  See if you can find others . . . or come up with your own. This is good exercise for the brain—so feel free to play along!

 

Just ♥ Words—peak

Saturday, 16 August 2008 12:02

peek-peakEnglish—what a great language to have fun with! Below is a set of homophones, words that sound alike but have different meanings and often different spellings.

Don’t You Just ♥ Words?

peak  |  peek  |  peke  |  pique

He kicked her peke out of pique when she took a
quick peek before it could peak.

Translation:
He kicked her dog in anger when she checked the oven
to see if his, uh...souffle had risen.


Okay. I came up with these. Let us know if you can you find others . . . or come up with some of your own. Leave a comment.

 

Just ♥ Words—cough

Thursday, 07 August 2008 12:27

coughHow anyone ever learns to speak and spell English is a mystery.  Below are common words that surely confound anyone—child or adult—trying to learn this quirky language.

Don’t You Just ♥ Words? 

If cow rhymes with bough
shouldn’t cow rhyme with cough?

If rafter rhymes with laughter
shouldn’t rafter rhyme with daughter?

If hoe rhymes with toe
shouldn’t hoe rhyme with shoe?

If threw sounds like through
shouldn’t threw rhyme with rough?

If lime rhymes with climb
shouldn’t limb sound like lime?


These erratic spellings have to do with the development of the English language—which wasn’t really “English” and wasn’t really a language.  From the end of the Roman occupation, the ancient Brits spoke a mishmash of Germanic and Norse tongues, with a soupcon of French and Latin throw in by the upper classes.

The language underwent constant change until the 15th century, leading to such confusion that people from one part of England could barely understand those from another. 

It was William Claxton, a mid-15th century printer, who first began to consolidate and standardize English. But he started a bit too early—printing technology cemented the language before all the kinks could be worked out.  Thus, the cow-bough-cough imbroglio.

 

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