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The Trickle - shoelaces and English

December 19, 2011 - Brian Ferry
I'm a Phineas and Ferb fan. I admit it. Excellent stuff. As a dedicated fan, I've seen most of the episodes. The one that is the subject of this particular piece is the Aglet episode. The little plastic tip on shoelaces becomes a huge sensation in the Tri-State Area (until Doofenshmirtz -inators it, of course). There's a song and everything "... A-G-L-E-T, don't forget it..." Well, I haven't forgotten it. I think a Phineas and Ferb blog would be an excellent idea, however, that's not what this is about. This is another complaint about the English language. So, my daughter, who is at the age when children typically learn to read, was singing this song. I like the song. I enjoyed it. But then I heard something odd. She wasn't singing A-G-L-E-T... She was singing H-E-L-E-T... Looking at that, it's ridiculous. However, say it a couple times, with the letters running together a little bit. She was singing ... aitch-ee The word goes ... ay-gee That's not a huge difference. So, I corrected her, let her sound out the letters a couple times (had to keep at it, you know how it is when you've been singing the wrong words for a long time, it's hard to admit and harder to change). When she finally had it, I praised her willingness to listen to dad even when she was sure she was right. Her part in this is done. Good news. The bad news is that this is happening at all. English has enough problems (silent letters, odd conjugations, bizarre construction, letters and words that sound the same). I find it annoying that we have letters that are named so poorly. Maybe the military phonetics have it right. No question about Alpha, Golf, Lima, Echo, Tango... Don't forget it. Not as catchy, but harder to mess up.


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