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Re: English: no rule for making "ing" verbs?

On 08/12/17 08:13, Ron Hunter wrote:

Probably the best rule for most things 'English' is to read A LOT, and
then look at the word, and see if it looks 'right'.  Works as well as
trying to remember the rules, and exceptions.  Note that accepted
spellings DO change over time, and this can be very annoying!


It is important to remember that "English" is the result of importing, and often modifying, many words from other languages. Many of these languages do not even use the English alphabet, so what you see written is someone's interpretation of how a particular foreign word would sound if it was spoken from written English. Would it be understood by a native speaker of the original language? A Russian might understand if someone reading the word "glasnost" in English said it, but would that Russian understand the (unspoken) written word itself? This is even more important with languages such as Chinese where inflexion and emphasis is important.

We are so used to seeing (and hearing) new words in English that we native English speakers really don't worry too much if someone writes or pronounces them in a slightly wrong way. We try to guess what they mean. If someone meant to use "knowing", but used "knowwing" or even "nowing" or "nowwing", we'd probably guess what they meant to use. Before the middle of the 20th century, many who thought themselves superior would make fun of anyone foreign mispronouncing or spelling English words, even though the English were, and still are, famous for being hopeless at other languages. I hope that we are more enlightened now!


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