The Weirdness of English, Explained
Please join the Linguistics Department for a colloquium by Arika Okrent.
What is that "gh" doing in so many words? Why do some words (inSULT, INsult) have two different stress patterns? Why do we order a "large" drink and not a "big" one? What is going on with the word "colonel"? "Sorry," we tell the foreigner struggling to learn it or the child asking why. "That's just the way it is. English is weird." But it is not the case that English is just weird. It's weird in specific ways for specific reasons. We can't make it more logical, but we can explain why it is the way it is.