Some words and numbers…)

i love ‘clever’ jokes and i had not seen this one before today:

Why do programmers always get Christmas and Halloween mixed up?

Because DEC 25 = OCT 31

it is a quite remarkable ‘quirk’ of a counting system of use to computer programmers – the OCTal system (meaning it is based upon multiples of 8 and not the ‘normal’ counting system using 10 as a base).

Because our counting uses 10 digits as the base it is sometimes known as the DECimal system.

We all know (DEC) 25 = 2 x 10 + 5, but 25 also = 3 x 8 +1 which is written in OCTAL as: 31

So Dec 25 = Oct 31 ! clever! 🙂

A Friend of mine is having to learn English for the first time in her 40’s ( She was born in Europe!)

We all use some form of English every day ( those of you who read these posts that is!) 😉  and most of us manage quite well, but just HOW do you write down a set of rules that explains words like these so someone can learn how to say them (let alone USE them correctly)??

CHurCH CHrist;?

RouGH GHost ThrouGH; ?

PHoto PHone Film uPHold; ?

Blue, Few, To, Too Two Shoe, etc, etc. ?

On One, Con Cone, Cor Core Ore Or, Of AWE?

Tear  (as rhymes with ‘ear’) and Tear (as rhymes with rare)

or the right use of simple phrases like ‘On the Road’, ‘In the road’ or ‘down the road’ or ‘at the road’?

And then try to explain why Furniture Polish from Poland would be Polish Polish? ( Poe – Pol)

The potential confusions are endless – in English.

Learning it with the relatively uncluttered and still forming brain of a 7 year old is one thing – when all your logical skills have been ‘fixed’ for over thirty years trying to find some sense in our language becomes a hundred times harder.


  1. Not to put wisdom where it may not exist, but the evil one always tries to hijack or mimick the good. If God had Christmas, he needed Halloween. If God had a rainbow for a sign, he needed to steal it as another sign. Ah yes. The great deceiver…


  2. Love, all those numbers just make my head hurt. 🙂

    My step-mother learned English when she was around 45 after immigrating to the US, at the end of WII. Her first job was as a waitress and she quickly learned enough to get by.

    We learn, or at least remember, those words we need to know to make it through the day, to shop, work and socialize. This may be why the first words immigrants learn are usually curse words. 🙂


  3. I have heard that the English language is one of the hardest languages in the world to learn. These are a very good reason why! I believe most of it stems from the fact that what is currently English is actually a conglomeration of a whole host of languages from throughout the centuries as the English mixed with the nations surrounding them, and then as the English Empire spread to the four corners of the globe. Old Olde English probably was more logical.


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