The British Library is currently having a rather interesting exhibition that I recently attended: Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices. That sets me thinking about how English can be rather confusing, in its make up, pronunciation and the understanding of its meaning.
For example - take the name of places.
Gloucester is pronounced with silent "ce", as in "Glouster".
Likewise, Leicester Square in London is also pronounced with silent "ce", as in "Leister Square."
But Cirencester is pronounced in full, as in "Ci-ren-ces-ter."
Another rather interesting example about people and places.
Those from England are called English
Those from Scotland are called Scottish
Those from Ireland are called Irish
but those from Wales are not called Welshish or Welish. And a Welsh person is not from Welshland.
Let's think about the church now.
Church of England is Anglican
Church of Wales is Anglican
Church of Northern Ireland is Anglican
But Church of Scotland is not Anglican but Presbyterian!!
Finally, this is what I like best. I know of a single woman who celebrated her 50th birthday recently. After her birthday, she insisted that everyone should address her as Madam followed by her surname, and not Miss followed by her surname, as has always been her practice all along. The reason? She was told that those who are 50s and above should only be known as Madam to reflect one's status or rank in life. I think it is wise of me not to mention the other meanings of Madam as well.
Indeed, one language, many voices!