October 24, 2008

Pity the Language That...

In the degree program that I am currently enrolled in at seminary, there is no language requirement. I mean you have to know English to understand the lectures, but you are not required to study languages, specifically Greek and Hebrew. That fact alone should be sufficient impetus to write a post about the grace of God. That is a very good thing, and except for the occasional sly reference to Greek grammar one of my professors might work into a lecture, I see little downside to me. I know that studying Scripture in the original language would open it up to me in ways it will not open in the English. But opening up implies the concept of a key opening a lock, and my mind is keyed to studying Greek grammar the way a rubber mallet is keyed to opening a steel door. Bang away all you want and you have some noise for a bit and a couple of marks that easily rub off with your thumb. I am not going there.

But I digress. The students I feel sorry for aren't the ones studying Greek and Hebrew but the ones who have to learn English to sit in Dallas and study at seminary. English is the language that lacks a certain logic that would drive me crazy if I was learning it at this stage of life.

  • Why can't you write a poem and get cog and dog to rhyme?
  • Why is mouse in plural form mice, but house in the plural form of houses?
  • If the past tense of dig (as in a hole) is dug. Why isn't a dead pig a pug?
  • Did God leave no alone at Babel? It seems to be the same in so many languages. I know this doesn't fit with the others, but I was hoping someone could shed some light on it.
  • Why is a carload a load that fills a car, but a carpet is not a dog that does the same?
  • If a letter is silent (knack, numb), why did they bother to even out it there in the first place?

I could go on but you are already bored. My point is I am not feeling sorry for my inability to master languages since I think I do OK with one of the hardest of all.


David A. Porter said...


You crack me up!

Hey, you got the new identity gizmo working on your blog!


Laurie M. said...

Cog and dog don't rhyme?

Andy C said...

I guess my NY is showing! We pronounce it dawg where I come from!

Laurie M. said...

That's hysterical!!!

By the way. I've been trying to bone up on my Greek from college. At the age of 44, I'm finding my mind far less supple than it was when I was in college and got an easy A in first year Greek. It might, however, also have something to do with the fact that I can only find about 20 minutes every week or two to work on it - and no professor I'll owe an explanation to.

Andy C said...

If I were you, I would stick with the story about not having time. Dwelling on the suppleness of our minds compared with days gone by is a less than sunny happenstance.

Laurie M. said...

I agree. One of the things I remember most about myself all those years ago was how stupid I was. I wasn't unintelligent, but I was an idiot. Anyway, when I became a Christian, I began to feel like I was able to think clearly for the first time in my life. I feel a hundred times sharper in so many ways, but definitely duller in my ability to multi-task.

Andy C said...