“But perhaps the single most notable characteristic of English - for better and worse - is its deceptive complexity. Take the simple word ‘what’. We use it every day - indeed, every few sentences. But imagine trying to explain to a foreigner what ‘what’ means. It takes the Oxford English Dictionary five pages and almost 15,000 words to manage the task.
“As native speakers, we seldom stop to think just how complicated and illogical English is. Every day we use countless words ad expressions without thinking about them - often without having the faintest idea what they really describe or signify. What, for instance, is the ‘hem’ in hem and haw, the ‘shrift’ in short shrift, the ‘fell’ in one fell swoop? When you are overwhelmed, where is the whelm that you are over, and what exactly does it look like? And why, come to that, can be be overwhelmed or underwhelmed, but not semiwhelmed or - if our feelings are less pronounced - just whelmed?”
“Mother Tongue: The English Language” by Bill Bryson
1) This book makes some very interesting points and
Dick calls practically everyone by some sort of nickname. Miss M, KF, SB, Zee…