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English is a weird language

Marisca breaks down a few odd sayings, words and names

My daughter came home the other day from school and was telling me a story about how one kid ‘budged’ in front of her in a lineup. I was about to correct her to say it is ‘butt’ in line but then I stopped and questioned myself. Is it budged or butt? To Google we went.

Apparently, it can be both.

It is more common in western Canada to budge in line and eastern Canadians say butt. I grew up in Ontario and my daughter is currently growing up in B.C. so I guess that makes sense. It still sounds weird to my ears.

English is a funny language.

I can’t imagine trying to learn it as a second language.

There are odd grammar rules, double meanings for a lot of words and sometimes there is no rhyme or rhythm to some things.

And then there are sayings and idioms. Pardon my French; burning the candle at both ends; don’t count your chickens. It is hard to learn all of these things.

My sister still makes fun of my mom and me when we made a mistake about what a certain spider is called.

We were sitting around the campfire and I saw a spider, and said don’t kill a dandy long leg spider, it’ll rain. (Which is an odd belief in itself.)

And my sister said, “pardon me? What did you just call that spider?”

My mom repeated me, she said, “It’s a dandy long leg spider.”

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My sister spit out her drink and couldn’t believe we were calling them that. She corrected us to say it was a daddy long leg spider. She then proceeded to prance around pretending to be a spider who was dandy.

Of course, we had to take out our phones and check. She was …. right. Ugh. We also discovered that they are actually not spiders at all but belong to a group with many different species, called Opiliones.

The common name, daddy long legs, likely came about because of their small oval body and long legs.

What did we do before the internet? How did we learn anything?

My sister still chuckles at our mistake. But hey, at least I wasn’t the only one who thought that.

Another odd English word rule that always bothered me until I finally researched it was the plural versions of goose and moose. Why is it geese and moose? Why isn’t it meese?

It turns out these words are not related at all. They originate from different languages and different times in history. Goose is an old Latin word while the origins of the word moose come from North American Indigenous languages.

Now you know and now you can be more understanding of people learning our language.


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Marisca Bakker

About the Author: Marisca Bakker

Marisca was born and raised in Ontario and moved to Smithers almost ten years ago on a one-year contract.
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