The English language is an over-complicated mess for way too many reasons to count today, so i’ll start with just one of those reasons. Contextual meanings. Being a native speaker and it being my only language I can scarcely imagine the difficulty and confusion that must come from learning this unnecessarily convoluted system of communication.
Lets take the word static.
My first thought about this word was pertaining to static electricity. Getting a zap of static electricity from handling glad wrap or from carpets etc.
But here are some other definitions for what static pertains to (from memory, or at least in my understanding)
Static, being an object not in motion (a static object is one that is stationary*)
Static, an concept showing little or no change (like a static relationship or idea)
Static, referring to economic fixed quantities or relations (like a static interest rate)
Static in physics refers to an object that acts by only its weight without producing motion (like a static pressure)
Static, in computing, refers to processes or data that does not become affected by the loss of power or the passage of time.
I also believe there is a static pressure or interference(?) to do with radio or radar frequencies so I think its that static you hear when between radio stations, if someone knows how it relates or radar frequences let me know in the comments 🙂
These are just the definitions I can think up at the moment. For someone learning the english language from say, a text book or overseas, the various meanings of just this one word would be extremely difficult to comprehend, as I doubt it would go into such contextual meanings for the word.
Consider the following sentences with the above definitions in mind
“As I walked past the static pallet, it gave me some static.”
“The server bank being static on the floor was static and therefore was unaffected by the static shock. This means your web server can now remain static”
“As I sat static, considering the static nature of our population, the static from the radio in the background was attuned to how static my ideas are about this economic problem.
Now obviously you probably wouldn’t hear these sorts of statements from an english speaker (being somewhat awkward and extreme examples to prove a point) but they are feasible and semantically correct.
Does anyone have any stories or difficulties with contextual situations affecting the meanings of words? Especially those of you who learned or mastered english in later life or as a second language? Leave me a comment and we can discuss 🙂
*even worse if its a static pencil, it would be stationary stationary.