Thursday, January 26, 2012


I have been a reading machine as of late.  I read Stephen King's 11/22/63, all 3 books of the Hunger Games and now I am finishing The Art of Fielding before I start a new book TBA for Book Club.  I have really only had time to accomplish this much "reading" because I  have been setting my Kindle to Text-to-Speech while I drive my hour commute to and from work each day.  It is a wonderful change of pace from listening to music (the same songs every day for two hours really gets old) and it helps keep me from road rage which is pretty huge for me. Don't worry I still think other drivers are stupid... I just don't think about it as much since I have a story to concentrate on.

Anyway when my Kindle "reads" to me it isn't an Audio book it is just a computer reading the words.  It doesn't really acknowledge any punctuation, nor does it pause between chapters; so really it sounds like one big run on sentence but once you get the rhythm and move past the monotone voice you end up just as engrossed as if you were reading it to yourself.

One thing that has stood out to me is the crazy amount of heteronyms the English language has.  For those of you who are linguistic specialist a heteronyms are words that are written identically but have different pronunciations and meanings.  So for example: live (to have life) and live (to be alive).  These two words are spelled exactly the same but pronounced differently AND have a different meaning.  This is something my Kindle NEVER gets right but that when I would read a sentence on my own I wouldn't think twice about which word I should read. 

Out of curiosity I decided to see how many of these words we actually have in English and good ol' Wikipedia hooked me up.

Check some of my favorites:
abuse  and  abuse
allied  and  allied
alternate  and  alternate
appropriate  and  appropriate
attribute  and  attribute
articulate  and  articulate
axes  and  axes
bass  and  bass
buffet  and  buffet
close  and  close
compact  and  compact
conduct  and  conduct
console  and  console
convict  and  convict
desert  and  desert
dove  and  dove
entrance  and  entrance
invalid  and  invalid
lead  and  lead
live  and  live
minute  and  minute
mobile  and  mobile
moped  and  moped
object  and  object
polish  and  Polish
present  and  present
produce  and  produce
project  and  project
read  and  read
rebel  and  rebel
record  and  record
refuse  and  refuse
sake  and  sake
sewer  and  sewer
subject  and  subject
tear  and  tear
wind  and  wind
wound  and  wound

So just when you think English is totally stupid you will be glad to know that it is possible to have heternoyms in non letter based languages such as Chinese.  Refer to Wiki link above for example.  I'm glad to know us English speakers aren't alone.

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