Posted by James Briggs on December 03, 2001
For non English speakers English
is an easy language to learn at a basic level. Afterwards, according to my many
non English speaking friends and family, there is 'an enormous mountain to climb'.
Some of this is related to the widespread use of Idioms - this site is a good
example! There is also the difficulty of not being able to work out from the spelling
how a word is pronounced.
Another small, but very odd, feature is the occasional use of words, which are usually the opposite in meaning, to mean the same thing! An example is 'Up' and 'Down' - obviously opposite until you tell someone to 'slow up' or 'to slow down'. In a similar vein is to 'wind up a company' or to' wind down a company'.
Over the years I've thought of a few other examples, but I can't remember them now (?old age?). Thus, a little pre-Christmas quiz. How many other such expressions can people contribute?