Sunday 4 December 2016

Kevin Myers: Pearse was right, this English lingo-thing is a slum -- henceforth, I shall write in Hebrew

Kevin Myers

Published 13/08/2010 | 05:00

THIS is the silly season and frankly some silliness is overdue. Consider: if Shakespeare had been able to rhyme "Danish" with an exit verb like "banish" or "vanish", Hamlet would have been booted off the stage in Act One, Scene One and the English language would have lost one of its most infuriating plays. But Danish doesn't rhyme with any other -anish words, not even "Spanish", so the bard had to scribble on. Moreover, the lawless nature of English is encapsulated by "To be or not to be."

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All four words used sound exactly like other words. Thus, a musical-archaeologist studying the amber found in lodestones might find a couple of worker-bees frozen in a perpetual clove-hitch. After listening carefully to the ancient monotone, he might well cry sadly: "Two-bee ore-knot too B."

Now translate that into Mandarin.

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