Ah, linguistics!

I’m not sure why I find linguistics and language so fascinating, but I do. I started reading Steven Pinker’s Words and Rules this morning and quickly discovered what the book was about. Quote from the preface:

This book tries to illuminate the nature of language and mind by choosing a single phenomenon and examining it from every angle imaginable. That phenomenon is regular and irregular verbs, the bane of every language student.

Yes, I am reading a 287 page book about verbs and how they are formed.

I’m sure some people have seen this before, but I hadn’t and so I simply have to quote it here as well. It’s from bit of comic verse by Richard Lederer called “Tense Times with Verbs”:

The verbs in English are a fright.
How can we learn to read and write?
Today we speak, but first we spoke;
Some faucets leak, but never loke.
Today we write, but first we wrote;
We bite our tongues, but never bote.
Each day I teach, for years I taught,
And preachers preach but never praught.
This tale I tell, this tale I told;
I smell the flowers, but never smold.
If knights still slay as once they slew,
Then do we play as once we plew?
If I still do as I once did,
Then do cows moo as they once mid?

For some reason, I get a kick out of that. Okay, lunchtime. Back to my book.

About Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.