Even though English is not my first language, I like it. This language is alive, and it has a logic to it. You can take a root of any word and build a new word out of it. For example, let’s take the suffix “er “. If you know the word “law “, you can easily figure out what the lawer is. To teach – teacher. To learn -learner, to program – programmer. Now let’s drill down a little bit.
I am a programmER. But there are different programming languages. There are people who program for the Flash player, or simply Flash pregrammers. I tried to apply the same logic and attached the suffix ER. I got Flasher assuming that it’s a programmer who writes program for Flash. But according to Wikipedia, a flasher is “a person who displays their body in a form of indecent exposure “.
So where is the bug? In English or in Wikipedia? So the ER rule does not always work which is a bug in English programming language. The word “their ” in Wikipedia does not sound right to me either in this sentence, which is another bug, but this time in Wikipedia. So how am I supposed to improve my English?
But wait a minute, there is a fifth meaning of this word in Wikipedia: A person who creates computer animations using Adobe Flash! Hmm, I’m not exactly creating animations…I write business applications in Flex. Am I a flexer? Neither Wikipedia nor Dictionary.com know this word yet. So now I’m the first one who coined this word: Flexer! If I register with Wikipedia, I can create an article for Flexer! Nay, it’s getting too late… It’s time to sleep…
But still, I like English, because I can improve it… if I create an account with Wikipedia!
OK, one last tip for those who are struggling with English. I always use Google when I’m not sure about some English word usage. For example, I was editing someone’s technical article, that had “irrespective to “. I had a gut feeling (not the knowledge) that it should have been ” “irrespective of “. In cases like this I go to Google and do a search on both phrases (it has to be surrounded with double quotes). The first version returned several thousands, while the second one returned millions. So I’ve corrected to “irrespective of “. This is not a 100% correct way of learning English, and may be there are some cases when “irrespective to ” can be used, I just do not have time fora fundamental study and donot want to take chances.
Good night! Early to rise and early to bed, makes a man healthy and socially dead.