As a writer I believe no two words in English mean exactly the same. Many words have similar roots - or they can come from words with similar meaning in other languages which have fed into English. But in the process they acquire different associations and therefor different "meanings". E.G. "mutton" coming from the French refers to cooked sheep meat (as eaten by the French invaders under William) as distinct from "sheep" from old English, etc, referring to the uncooked animal. Thus, a port is different from a harbour, and so on. It's the variations of association, and the variations geographically, that make interpretation so subjective - and I believe make English so rich, like an orchestra both in meaning and sound. But then, I am biased. I adore this mongrel tongue! But admit others, like Italian and German are better suited to particular purposes, with rhythms of their own. English can be a minefield for a writer! I've spent nearly half a day on occasions looking for the ideal phrase etc, not only to express what I intend, but to discover what I mean! And then re-written it ten times. So don't despair - plunge into the glorious ocean!
Reading, writing, and talking, for more than 70 years
· 1 decade ago