Fun With the English Language
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It encompasses every aspect of language with many branches and subfields. Put simply it’s about understanding the basic nature of language. The English language is one of the world’s most predominant forms of communication. Besides in the good old USA, it’s the primary language spoken in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Speaking English for those who grew up with the language is easy-peasy, but understanding the nuances, rules of grammar, and spelling is more challenging.
Okay, enough of the textbook-talk, let’s have some fun! Let’s learn about some of the things we take for granted in this wonderful language we speak. Some may not know they are using homonyms, or homographs as they carry on a conversation. Some may have no idea that when they capitalize certain words, they are changing the meaning of the word, like turkey and Turkey or changing the pronunciation as well, as with Polish and polish. Did you know there’s a name for words that are spelled the same forward and backward, or that many words come from blending parts of multiple words? It’s fascinating when you realize there are words that contain their own synonyms. Once you see this, it’s easy to spot.
So, you may be wondering how all of this relates to writing a book. Well, when you know and understand the whole system of structure, the basic elements, the categories, the definitions, and the rules, you become a better writer.
When you recognize some of the categories listed below, you can use them on purpose as you write, just like using metaphors and similes. Remember to mix it up though. Including too many portmanteau words, for example, is overkill, but placed in the right spot, in the right genre, can be fun.
Imagine a foreign character who is learning to speak English and constantly uses the wrong word or mispronounces the correct word. That could be amusing.
Think about the setting of your story. As a writer, the story you create must have a ring of authenticity. If your novel takes place in the south, you would need to understand the second type of heteronyms, or those words that refer to the same thing but are completely different and associated with a specific region, like soda and pop.
Marvel at the English language and its labyrinth of words, meanings, nuances, categories, & rules!