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We adults can complicate pert near anything, especially communication. Take a gander at your latest homeowner's policy or telephone bill, and tell me either couldn't be improved by a third-grader.

The only foreign languages I was exposed to as a child were Spanish and Upper Mississippi Delta. Spanish often made more sense because so many words of "proper" English sounded the same but meant different things.

Such as "sense" and "since." Or my earlier usage of "gander." While taking a male goose to your homeowner's policy might, in fact, improve it, it was not my intended sentiment.

The English language is full of homonyms -- words that sound the same but have different meanings. Homonyms can be homophones (words spelled differently, i.e., "colonel" and "kernel") or homographs (words spelled the same, i.e., "gander" for "a male goose" or "look").

My mama wrote many letters to me when I left for college. One day, a fellow student snatched an envelope from me, stood before a group of honors students and read the contents aloud. He'd heard I was a first-generation high school graduate and figured the letter was rife with misspellings and grammatical errors. The letter did not disappoint.

With a cold stare, I suppressed every urge to beat the snot out of that kid. I take solace in thinking he's probably stuck in a cubicle writing homeowners' policies now.

As the next generation begins a new school year, let us be mindful that learning -- be it English or empathy -- is hard work.

Deer student,

I prays your efforts at yore education. I only went threw law school, sew Shirley I mist many essentials.

I no there are thymes it'll seam two hard, and other thymes yew mite bee board, but hang inn there. Yew will dew grate. It will knot be inn vein and Christmas brake will be hear before yew no it. Mind the principle, dew as yore tolled, reed yore lessen and right the homework like yew should. Of coarse, if yew kneed something, let me no and I'll try too bye it hear cheep on a good sail. I'm knot trying to medal, I just no yew won't have time to urn much.

Sorry to say, yore uncle through his back out and has the flew. He will be fine, just week and pail is all. But he eight a hole cake this week --I added all the egg yokes and maid it reel suite. He perked up then and isn't in pane. I was sew happy I nearly bald. It's plane to sea he just wanted sum too weight on hymn.

I'll clothes four now as I wrote more than the paper aloud. Hope the heir is cooling soon. We got sum reign won knight and got whet sense hour sealing sprung a leek. Have two higher sum help, butt that's what we work fir. It'll bee fine.

Right when yew can. Piece bee with yew.

Your educated elder

Now, make fun if you will, but every word of that is English. And it still makes more sense than my telephone bill.

Lisa Kelley is a Southern storyteller, lawyer and country gal living a simple urban life in downtown Bentonville. Email her at

NAN Our Town on 09/06/2018

Print Headline: Watch yore language

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