What’s All the Confusion?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” The great playwright, George Bernard Shaw. Now that was an understatement.

English-speaking attorneys repeat their legalese to be sure there is no one in doubt as to what they have written. Of course, they are dealing with the English language, a language of great complexity, with an enormous variety of sources from every inhabited acre of the planet. Thank heaven I learned it by osmosis when my mind was a sponge, not to be confused with what I have left.

The sun never set on the Brit’s empire. Right? And the Norman invasion did a great job of dousing the language with French.

For complex reasons in the Middle Ages, the sounds of English vowels transitioned from the sounds in Romance languages to a different melody. It was called the Great Vowel Shift. Pretty shifty. Right? Note the “i” in amigo (ee) versus the “i” in mine (eye), etc., etc.

And so, we move on with our illusions, hopefully un-catastrophically. That’s the short “i” in “phic” for the flustered, fazed and befuddled.

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