Is English a muddled language?

We discussed a tonne of confusions due to wording in the previous TOK lesson. English is full of these terms of same wording and contrasting meaning. ie, a metal fan and a fan of metal, again a metal fan, are different, though I see no problem. I know (and now many more) people for whom English is a second language, but I don’t see anyone stumbling over homophones and homographs. I know an egyptian and a german who claim to struggle (they’re ok actually) with pronunciation but then that is probably because of our many sounds, notoriously the ough situation. I’m sure we’d understand if someone said “rough” like “roff” instead of “ruff”.

I think the way our words pick up their meanings rather than having them prescribed is a good thing. Germany complains about their language laws (though they probably need the laws because of their history). Though our words pick up meanings rapidly so in the internet age, we have no issue explaining these words or having them explained (though I must say many words on Urban Dictionary are obscure and we probably don’t need that many dirty words).

I don’t think that the difference in word meanings between English-speaking countries is too great. “Rubber” may be funny if you ask for in one country but will let you erase pencil marks in another. Jumpers in Britain are sweaters in America (and if I’m not mistaken) in America, a jumper is a suicidal.

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