THE BEWILDERING WORLD OF WORDS

There will be times, even as an adult reader, when you fail to read a word correctly. The English language can be baffling. For example, why doesn’t nature rhyme with mature? As a child, I thought ‘matured marmalade’ should be pronounced ‘maitchered’ marmalade.

How about ‘capercaillie’? A soft ‘a’ at the beginning or a long ‘A’ sound? The bird’s mating display dance could be described as a bit of a caper, so why not pronounce it as such? Chris Packham on Autumnwatch was teased by his fellow presenters because he pronounced it ‘caper-caillie’.  As a young lad, that’s how he’d read the word in a bird book and the pronunciation stuck. Logical and reasonable.

It’s not just individual words. Sometimes we read a whole sentence wrongly. “God can see through us,” I read. Yep, I thought, true enough. The God who monitors the infinite reaches of the universe, yet notices when an individual sparrow falls to the ground, would know my thoughts, care about my circumstances – and see through me when I pretend to be something I’m not.

God also knew that I had read that sentence incorrectly. It actually said, “God can see us through.” A five-word sentence where two words that had been read the wrong way round gave it a completely different meaning.

However muddled you may be, however you’re feeling, whatever you’re doing, however challenging your day, God can see you through. What a comfort for when your grasp of words is suspect, when you read something incorrectly (words or situations) and are ‘mizzled’ – as my childhood brain thought misled was pronounced.

PS Some autumn pictures are now in the Photo Gallery.

 

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