FUQ: Why are bigger words used when small word combinations haven’t been exhausted?

Wouldn’t the world be simpler if words like rheumatism, interest, difficult were replaced by say puq, lar and iks?

“My puq is making paying back my lars incredibly iks”, said the old lady.

How did we start working with words, anyway? If we go by the simple building exercise, putting one letter after another to form the words, then all the 2 letter and 3 letter combinations should be real words, and there should be less number of ridiculous 15 letter words.

One possible answer is that words were spelt considering an ease of pronunciation, rather than spelling. This would flow from the timeline of writing, which as we all know, started well after the habit of speaking. However, even this doesn’t strike the bull’s eye. We know that there are a number of silent letters, and words spelt differently from how they are pronounced. These seem to disagree with the idea of spelling words as they are pronounced.

Shouldn’t psychology be sychology?
And Knives be just nives?
Phoney and phones would just be fony and fone, and Schizophrenia would have never been coined.

The more probable reason and one that is supported by linguists is that words get accepted into a language from many others. Each language influences another, and as speakers of different tongues adapt to a new language, the languages themselves adjust, giving rise to new words, pronunciations and spellings.

psychology (n.)    1650s, “study of the soul,” probably coined mid-16c. in Germany by Melanchthon as Modern Latin psychologia, from Greek psykhe- “breath, spirit, soul” (see psyche) + logia “study of” (see -logy).

For example, rheumatism is derived from the Greek word Rheuma which means Stream.
Tsunami, say, is from Japanese. The spelling and pronunciations are quite clear to understand if you dig just a little deeper into the etymology of each word.

RheumatismTsunami

‘Zha’, to read as ‘ழ‘ is one common example accepted in our society.

While having more two letter and three letter word combinations would be brilliant for Scrabble, the words we use have been coined after going through a number of changes, and each word has a distinct root that cements its position in our history.

 

– Swathi Chandrasekaran

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