South Africa’s Tyla sparks culture war over racial identity

English is a very difficult language as we who were born to speak it know from the moment we meet someone from the other side of the railway track (Coco would have said over the border but English speakers from other parts of the world may misunderstand what that means). It is not merely the orthography that confuses. Every English reader, who has read the preface of the OED, knows how to pronounce ghotti and what also it means.

Words can sound exactly, well quite closely, the same, but it is in the spelling of them, there, their contrasting meanings are displayed. Other words may be spelt in exactly the same way, but have different meanings, so after this sentence which we read, read it we have. When you speak it out you may hear it said that the people of Ware wear warehouse wares where once were were-wolves.

Some words have the same spelling and the same meaning but different sounds depending upon where you find them in the sentence. The hour the hole in my argument appears, let me know. Whilst that example is, Coco reckons, always true, there is much controversy about some words and their vocalisation wherever they may appear in a sentence.

Yet other words have identical spelling and sound but completely contrasting meaning. You rely upon the context to understand which word is being used. So, when Coco says He cleft the bond what does he mean? There is insufficient context to understand which verb is being used.

Be careful in English then when you are dividing the spoil, that you give it not to two too many for fear of making spoil of your reputation.

Perhaps however the one of the most irritating parts of English is that there is no common authority to define spelling. Orthography matters, but not enough. The English are not governed by Roman law, at least not for the past 1600 years, and neither is its spelling unlike some other European languages, but when English breaks out from Europe, then it loses much of its freshness. For example, we have two similarly spoken and spelt words, but quite different Saviour and savour, both of which suffer from manipulation in the hands of others becoming Savior and savor. Coco supposes that it does bring them both closer to a single root word which means to cleanse, wash, purify or save, but the second of the two is actually from a different root word. The original L has been dropped in Saviour, and the original P has become a V in savour. There are words which link the two, so though the etymology may not be quite this clear: salver and salvor. You may also find that there is a close link between the flavour and taste of something to the testing of the food for the presence of a poison, potentially suggesting an ancient overlap in the uses of the derivatives of salve and saporo. Do not rely upon Coco for this analysis, please check it out yourself. Coco’s labyrinth has a number of misleading paths.

Coco has not mentioned, but in passing, yet the variety of vocalisation of words across dialects. When hat, hut, heart, hurt, and heat can only, in one dialect, only be distinguished by spelling having identical vocalisation is fascinating. My hat in hand my heart hurt at the heat of the hut afire.

The variety of the representation of English then in its orthography and vocalisation offers both confusion and opportunity. The referenced article indicates that the use of the word colored(sic.) is offensive in a certain circumstance. Coco would agree, it is most offensive when written on paper and should at all times be corrected, other than when used for didactorial (English words may easily be derived from others) and academic purposes. However, coloured in the same circumstance is no offence but a mark of honour. In some cultures the colouring of the body, quite apart from the natural colours, is a means of embellishment. It is cosmetic. Coco rather thinks that the majority who do this do not have the burden of English as the mother tongue so a different set of words is likely to be used [see Proscription].

That being the case, the learned use of English is to understand that though the words have similar, though not identical, vocalisation, the spelling indicates that they have different meanings, as different as remarked above as is between cleave and cleave. So, it may be an offence to say the man is colored but it is a great honour to say the man is coloured.

As is said elsewhere: Why do they not get it? How many different ways can you spell it in the English language?

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