Originally created 04/27/01

English is a tricky language

A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner.

- English proverb

I have long maintained that English is a tough language to write, to spell and apparently to read.

A recent study in the respected journal Science found that English is particularly difficult on those suffering from dyslexia - a stumbling block for 5 to 15 percent of Americans.

Researchers think it is because English-speaking children face the formidable task of learning more than 1,100 ways that letters in the written language are used to symbolize the 40 sounds in the spoken language.

Italian, which seems to foster far fewer dyslexics, offers 33 sounds with only 25 letter combinations.

French is easier, too, the researchers say.

* * *

SCRUB, BUB? Baths, an ancient habit, are now a new trend.

A survey commissioned for Drugstore.com found that nearly 60 percent of the women questioned said they would be happier if they could take a bath every day. A persuasive 100 percent said they find baths relaxing.

Dermatologists say baths are healthy. They help prevent infection, stimulate circulation, relax muscles and promote the body's oxygen intake.

Last year, a Gallup survey found that 65 percent of us take a daily bath or shower.

And 10 percent of us take two.

* * *

TOWN AND COUNTRY: Country folks are known for Saturday night baths. They're apparently known for other things, too. One reader has passed along a checklist to determine whether you've lived out in the country too long:

You can entertain yourself for more than an hour with a fly-swatter.

You keep a can of Raid on the kitchen table.

Your wife can climb a tree faster than your cat.

Your grandmother has "ammo" on her Christmas list.

Your property has been mistaken for a recycling center.

Your boat has not left the driveway in 15 years.

You think a quarter horse is that ride in front of Kmart.

You have the local taxidermist on speed dial.

A subdivision is part of a math problem.

Your idea of "fast food" is hitting a deer at 65 mph.

Your kids take a siphon hose to show and tell.

* * *

TODAY'S JOKE: Little Johnny was sitting on a park bench munching on one candy bar after another.

After the sixth candy bar, an old man on the bench across from him said, "Son, you know eating all that candy isn't good for you. It will give you acne, rot your teeth and make you fat."

Little Johnny looked up and said, "You know my grandfather lived to be 107 years old."

Surprised, the man asked, "Did your grandfather eat six candy bars at a time?"

"No," Johnny said, "he minded his own business."

Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 107.


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