Phood for thort on the English langwij.

Yes, that title was intentionally misspelled. I’ll warn my editor now: no red pen needed, Mum; I did it on purpose! It all started in a dream. Again don’t worry, I’m not about to bore you with the dream itself but with the prevailing premise. How convoluted the English language is! 

I’m sure many of you have shared the frustration of beginner readers. They trip over sounds or give the alternate sound of the same letter.  It seems way harder than it needs to be. So much duplication of sounds, so many rules that are not consistent or evident. So much to learn by osmosis and not by deduction.

Apparently pronounced Colleen…

Sounds like…

Let’s start with PH with an F sound as in photographic. Why not fotografic? I know that’s how it’s spelt in German but in English, we have another character set for that sound. In which case, why isn’t it phood? Phence? Pheeling? 

And what’s the deal with C? The hard C sound could be easily managed with K and the softer C with S. Let’s get some konsistency! Cities could be sities. Klear as Kristal! or should it be klear as christal?

Why not; yot?

Then there is Y. It can sound like E as in catchy or an I as in hymn or as the other sound as in yellow or yolk, but I can’t think of a time when it actually sounds like “why”.

J vs G? Too much to juggle! Could a jirrafe live in a jungle?

And yacht? How do you even sound that out? You don’t! 

Of course, I know it’s all got to do with etymology and where the word was borrowed from, but it doesn’t make it any easier for little people to learn how to read! Or people learning English as a second language. Not being bilingual I’m not sure if other languages have the same issues. 

Not a new thort!

I’m obviously not the first to think of these sorts of things. I haven’t even touched on silent letters! I’m not nocking on that door! You might want to check out a list of 210 words with silent letters here. This post over at listverse goes into more detail about letters to get rid of and ones to create.

Now about that dream… 

I was arguing with someone about the usage of A and AN before a vowel. We say an apple, an orange, an egg, an igloo but a ute. (Ute is the Aussie slang for a utility vehicle or pickup truck). But we do say an umbrella. On careful examination, in the dream and subsequently, with real people, it appears we say A if the U sound mimics a Y and AN if it is the short U sound.

An umbrella

An uptown girl

A uniform

A unicorn

Which brings me to why don’t we spell it Yooneekorn?

2 thoughts on “Phood for thort on the English langwij.

  1. Liked this sentance “Let’s get some konsistency! Cities could be sities. Klear as Kristal! or should it be klear as christal?”
    My late father inlaw and I discussed this very subject about 10 years ago and as English was his second language we came up with a lot of examples of WTF in the English language 🙂

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