What a Mess, English!


English is a funny language. It’s not my first, and it certainly won’t be my last, but English, my dearest, you are one hell of a mess.

Well, English, how many languages have you borrowed from? Can you even count the number of foreign words you now call yours? But hey, we know that you didn’t steal any of it — I would never throw that on you. I love you, trust me.

But I don’t like some of the words you own. Like, for instance, the word “mentee.” I always considered it like one of those informal terms that corporate people dished out — a lot, mind you — just to sound high-profile. But this morning, I read an article about the signs of a good editor (like anyone knows that!), and I came across this word.


Yuck. Try saying that word aloud and slow. “Mentee.” The aftermath of the long ‘tee’ and the resonating sound of the ‘men’ (oops!) is detestable.

Of course where there’s a “mentee” there’s also a “mentor.” This, however, I can live with. I even daresay that I like the round “or” sound. It gives me the image of something wholesome and complete.

But the best thing about you — English — is that you are so changeable.

Is it just me? Or isn’t “ambidextrous” lovable?

Ambidextrous is beautiful. And why wouldn’t it be, it’s a talent after all! It’s attractive too. But the word, “ambidextrous” is beautiful in itself. “Dexter” — that’s right, and “dextrous” — that’s neat. I’m “bi” — two in character or ability. “Ambidextrous” — so much depth in one word. Oh dear, English, how could you contain so much technicality and also host a word like “mentee”?

Again, mentee! How can I relate that to mental or mentality? Has it got anything to do with men or tee-shirts? Isn’t that a little male chauvinistic?

Perhaps I’m thinking too much. Perhaps I should just indulge in my ganache filled brownie.

Oh, how good that sounds!

Ganache! Every syllable rings of rich chocolate and butter and all things indulgent. And not to forget, French!

Oh English, I can’t describe the way you make me feel. The way you swirl in my mouth, and the way you make me sound  —  sometimes dextrous, sometimes ganache-like. But most times, you just make me sound meh!


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