Why is English spelling and pronunciation different?

Ranger
Posts204Likes 112Joined 6/10/2018LocationLagos / NG
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English
Other French

Honestly, i wonder why it's so complicated and confusing at times.

Light can help you see in the dark, be the opposite of heavy, or a way to make your fireworks do something interesting.

Just imagine how confusing it must be for someone who wanted to learn it from the scratch.


Kevwe A.

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#1
Hobbit
Posts6Likes 5Joined 4/12/2018Location

Oghenekevwe wrote:
Honestly, i wonder why it's so complicated and confusing at times.
Light can help you see in the dark, be the opposite of heavy, or a way to make your fireworks do something interesting.
Just imagine how confusing it must be for someone who wanted to learn it from the scratch.

Because as far as I know they don't have an institution that regularly changes official spelling to match changes in pronunciation or natural writing. For example, in my country we have this institution and every few years/decades they publish new spelling rules according to changes which have happened organically. So for most vowel in words the pronunciation is the same, unlike in English.

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#2
Ranger
Posts410Likes 211Joined 4/9/2018LocationCaracas / VE
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Learning German, Italian
Other English

This video is brilliant, thank you for sharing! Poor English poets trying to make rhymes :(. 


Here's my grain of sand to this topic: https://www.woodwardenglish.com/redundant-letters/

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#3
Ranger
Posts204Likes 112Joined 6/10/2018LocationLagos / NG
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English
Other French

Jess.PWinkler wrote:

This video is brilliant, thank you for sharing! Poor English poets trying to make rhymes :(.

Here's my grain of sand to this topic: https://www.woodwardenglish.com/redundant-letters/

Thank you Jess! Glad you enjoyed it.

Kevwe A.

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Hobbit
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Learning Afrikaans, Arabic - Standard, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, French, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Toki Pona

Oghenekevwe wrote:
Honestly, i wonder why it's so complicated and confusing at times.
Light can help you see in the dark, be the opposite of heavy, or a way to make your fireworks do something interesting.
Just imagine how confusing it must be for someone who wanted to learn it from the scratch.


There are several aspects that affected today's English spelling.

Mentioning those that come to my mind, maybe there are some more.


- Being a member of the Germanic language family.


- If what I once read is correct, English has been shaped by Celtic, too, to some degree. 


- Also, the (ancient) rune alphabet has been mentioned. There are several sounds that aren't written with the Latin one that easily. One example out of many is the so-called "thorn" sound. "th" as in "thank you", not as in "them".


- Norman French rule over England, because of countless Français loan words that became part of English as the time went on.


- As they say, there was an attempt to re-synchronize the spelling with the original Latin words. That lead to several big changes. In some cases, they could even have been something without any real base. As it would be the case with "island", which is of Germanic origin, unlike "isle". Because of the similarity to Latin "insula", they added the S that even we, today, still do write.

End of the (non-verbatim) quote.


- There are very many international loanwords from all parts of the world. 

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#5
Ranger
Posts287Likes 160Joined 11/7/2018LocationManila / PH
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Ted-Ed had a wonderful piece related to this. (goes off to look for the video)




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#6
Ranger
Posts204Likes 112Joined 6/10/2018LocationLagos / NG
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ikaymoreno wrote:
Ted-Ed had a wonderful piece related to this. (goes off to look for the video)


So I'm supposed to look up the history of every word i come across that is spelled one way and pronounced another.

Kevwe A.

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#7
Hobbit
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Learning Afrikaans, Arabic - Standard, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, French, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Toki Pona

Oghenekevwe wrote:
So I'm supposed to look up the history of every word i come across that is spelled one way and pronounced another.


Now there might be a bit of joking involved, too.


Anyway... understanding the history of particular English words could aid remembering the spelling.


But it isn't a requirement of course. 


On the other hand, how to be certain about the pronunciation?


We would have certainty by listening to that particular word first, or reading its IPA transcription.


Some who teach English to non-natives use to say, "You cannot be sure about how it is pronounced unless you have learned it. The letters on their own don't fully provide sufficient information".


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Elf
Posts135Likes 81Joined 3/9/2018LocationLagos / NG
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Great post. Its just like some words in some languages that have the same spelling but different meanings

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