Montreal's language debate is in the news pretty much every week.

And no matter what the issue is, the same comments get repeated over and over:

"You should learn French, you live in Quebec after all."

or

"You should learn English, it's the universal language of business"

Well it turns out that one side has it much easier than other.

Learning French might be difficult, but according to those who have studied English as a second language, learning in English is fuckin' impossible.

This was pointed out by an Australian Journalist named Gavin Fernando.

Most languages have the same basic structure, but English is borderline sadistic when it comes to rules and exceptions.

Like the way the words "cough", "rough" and "though" don’t rhyme.

That's just evil.

To prove his point, Gavin Fernando mentions a few sentences to show just how confusing English can be:

  • “The bandage was wound around the wound.”
  • “Seeing the tear in the painting made me shed a tear.”
  • “When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.”

And those are just the rules we know about.

There are many obscure, nearly forgotten rules that apply to English you won't believe exist.

A BBC reporter tweeted a picture of a book called The Elements of Eloquence where there is mention of a rule called adjective order.

When you describe something, there is actually a very specific order to follow. It goes:

"opinion-size-age-shape-color-origin-material-purpose noun."

I'm pretty sure not a single person has followed this rule on purpose in the last 50 years.

We just follow it without realizing because it sounds right.

It works with pretty much any sentence:

"A charming little old round black wooden dinner table."

If you switch a single word, the sentence just sounds wrong:

"A little old round black charming wooden table."

To a native speaker it makes sense, but try explaining this to someone who is learning English as a second language without ripping your hair out.

So basically we should feel bad for anyone trying to learn English as an adult, it really isn't as easy as we think.


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