If you don't understand a word you read, what would you do first to determine its meaning?
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Is this a cyte four soar ayes ... ore watt?
Pardon the use of homophones in the line above - it is a bit confusing, I know - but as this site is all about homophones and homonyms, you'll understand why ... I hope!
Language is a fascinating topic. While it's not unique to the human species, our languages are probably the most structured and complex of all animals.
With greater complexity however, comes also greater potential for confusion. Creativity is in there of course, somewhere, but I think that confusion is king.
Am I being pessimistic? No, I don't think so ... nor am I disheartened.
My point is this: When communicating with each other, the probability for misunderstanding the other is greater than that for actual understanding, in the first instance. Simply reflecting upon your everyday conversation, with whomever, should provide ample illustration for you.
My earliest recollection for this confusion is a joke I saw, many years ago. It went something like this:
Two people are scrubbing a floor, using soap and brushes etc. One person stops, looks around and says: "Where's the soap?" The second, without pausing, responds: "Yes, you're right!" And, carries on working.
The confusion here, of course, is the identical sound of "wears" and "where's" (a contraction of "where is"). Now, if you think that's bad, the software I used to compose this essay and HTML is unable to identify the difference either! When I substitute "Wears" for "Where's" in the above joke, the software saw no grammatical or spelling errors!
(But the same goes for my opening line, above: the software is unable to see anything wrong with that sentence ... or the one at the bottom!)
To be fair to the software however, it's not programmed, of course, to hone in on such grammatical gaffes.
Which means that there's still hope for us, right?
While the potential for confusion is still rampant, almost all of it can be, if not resolved, then at least accommodated by making sure that we - all of us - really listen to each other.
Too many pay lip service to that idea, and are content to say instead: "Read my lips!"
That's a problem!
Now, if I were a New Yorker, I might be inclined to say: Fergeddabouda lips ... lissen to da sound, OK!
However, if you've never thought much about homophones and homonyms before this, then please take the time to browse through this site....
Our flagship product is Roger's Reference: The Complete Homonym & Homophone Dictionary, the most comprehensive dictionary of its type on the web, with 9370 words (and still growing). And now priced at only US$2.99!
Read about how homophones and homonyms are the backbone of an amusing and thoughtful rhetorical device called 'chiasmus' (rest your mouse pointer on the word to see what I mean).
Here's a chiastic creation for this week:
Never confuse ignorance for stupidty;
never excuse stupidity for ignorance.
Have you come across chiasmus before this? I've collected a number of them, from many sources — newspapers, books, movies etc — over the years. You can browse through part of my growing collection here.
Do you want to receive a free sample chiastic quote , directly to your mailbox, each week? If so, please send a blank email to this address: email@example.com (your email address will never be given, sold or rented to anybody or any organization; to read our full privacy statement, please click here).
So, while I'm on the topic of quotes, I'm researching the more famous ones - all those that are the most familiar to you, and many others. Why? Well, times change ... and maybe it's time to rework some for modern times. So, click here to allow me to show you what I mean....
English is the toughest language to learn. Read here why it's such a crazy language.
Got a question? I'd be happy to try to answer it.
Find out why I compiled a dictionary and word list.
Did I say there is confusion? Discover here how even major dictionaries cannot agree upon consistent definitions for 'homonym' and 'homophone'.
And, for those of you who have a particular bent for homophones — and for words that may or may not be homophones — you'll be interested in the Dictionary of Homophones and Commonly Confused Words. Now also priced at a very competitive US$1.99!
Have a chuckle here when you read a short piece that is written homophonically.
For a complete listing of all of our e-books on homophones and homonyms, please click here
Tell me here what you think, if you wish, about this site.
Just remember that, in the final analysis of human endeavors, when you strip away all the paraphernalia and accoutrements with which we all grow up (and disregarding - for the moment - basic necessities), there's one thing left only: conversation . Whew! That's how we started off, millions of years ago.
It's up to all of us to keep the conversation going.
No watt eye mien?
Thanks for taking the time to read through this page.
P.S. Help to dispel further confusion by ordering your copy of the complete Roger's Reference ebook here for only US$2.99!
P.P.S. Don't need the whole dictionary with word meanings? Then maybe you need just the complete Word List? Click this link to order the ebook immediately. At the throw-away price of just US$0.99!
Or, if you prefer, click here to purchase any eproduct here using your own bitcoin - perhaps more suitable for you!
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