Language Concepts: Kansas and Arkansas

Published Monday, September 22, 2008 11:03 AM
My husband is so happy this time of year because it is football season and there is plenty to go around. College and Pro football games. Unfortunately, even though I have "partially" watched these games with him for years,  I still don't know one team from another or who plays for what team. Once I do finally figure out what player goes with what team, he retires or is about to. Such is life.

Well, he was watching Arkansas play the other day. At the same time, I needed to help my youngest daughter with her reading and spelling skills, so we were trying some phonics. Ironically, my oldest daughter and I ended up focusing on the spellings of different states and the sounds. Since the Arkansas game was on, this was the perfect example.

How do you spell Kansas? (OK, I just spelled it, so I should ask, how do you say it?) But then look at and say Arkansas. (arkansaw) Now, what is the deal here? How did two words so similar end up so different. Listen, this is why our children have a hard time learning the English language. I think we totally confused the little one, but she is only in Kindergarten, so we’ll straighten that out later. This week we were supposed to do three letter words.

And forget it for our foreign visitors/residents. I feel so sorry for them when they come here and learn basic concepts of our language so they can communicate. Just when they think they’ve got it, they come across something like: Kansas vs Arkansas or read (did you just pronounce it as reed or red) and we can come up with plenty more.

When we traveled to Mexico, we went with a couple years of spanish class and a small booklet and we were set. No confusing concepts in the spanish language (at least, not compared to English).

Just a thought…


by parker
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