Too many cooks spoil the broth. So says an English idiom. The truth that English has borrowed from so many world languages appears to have injected a excessive fee of inconsistencies into its sound system. With proof of borrowings from Greek, Latin, French, Spanish, Italian and even West African languages, it’s actually troublesome to slim the foundations guiding the pronunciation of English phrases. On this fairly comedian treatise, I shall be calling consideration to the spelling, pronunciation and confusion that characterise many phrases with a view to serving to readers achieve retention on the spelling and articulation of sure English phrases which have letter-sound inconsistency.
For starters, one wonders why the English phrase “queue” isn’t merely spelt as q. Why use 5 letters the place one captures it? This should be as a result of letters should not paid for within the creation of latest phrases. I can not think about a Nigerian making an attempt to pronounce the phrase “queue”, going by the letters. I not too long ago laughed at an try by somebody to pronounce “opaque” as a result of the spelling led the harmless man to pronounce one thing that sounded just like the Delta-Igbo title “Osakwe”. The final three letters in “opaque” are merely articulated as /ok/, leaving one to marvel why the phrase is not only spelt as “opak” or “opaq”.
Attracting shock, additionally, is the rationale “suite” is pronounced precisely as “candy”. Are you questioning who made these guidelines of pronunciation? I ponder, too. The sweet-suite scenario is strictly the identical because the jail-gaol case. How can “gaol” be pronounced as “jail”? Nicely, these two have the identical which means, so allow us to pardon the authorities on the language (not “authorities within the language”) for the psychological stress. Away from these ones, if we’ve the letters “f” and “i” in movie, fish, fist and so forth, who, on earth, determined to complicate spelling by changing “fi” with “phi” in Philip, Philomena and philosophy? This could solely be in English!
The dynamism round letter w and sound /w/ is one other loopy expertise in English pronunciation. Whereas one assumes that the letter ought to generate the sound as it’s in phrases comparable to girl, window and smart, it’s attention-grabbing that English has many phrases with letter w with out sound /w/ and others with sound /w/ with out letter w. On the one hand, phrases comparable to vow, vowel, bowel, towel and tower comprise letter w however are to not be pronounced with sound /w/. However, cautious consideration to what you’re articulating will disclose to you that there’s the /w/ sound in a single, queen, liquid and linguist even with out letter w.
Additional, it isn’t so simply explainable why the second “o” in pronounce is dropped when the phrase is modified to a noun: pronunciation. Equally, the spellings of “keep” and “maintain” develop into deceptive if you want to change the phrases to nouns; upkeep and sustenance are the right spellings, versus the probably error of maintainance and sustainance born out of the verbal varieties.
Learn additionally: Cohesive devices in English
It’s attention-grabbing, too, that “president” is pronounced virtually precisely as “precedent”, other than the truth that the s in president is pronounced as /z/, and the c in precedent is pronounced as /s/. What’s extra, don’t be tempted to conclude that the letters “ch” will all the time generate the sound in church, cost and alter. The “ch” in charlatan, chauvinist, chagrin, chauffeur, champagne and sachet are, truly, pronounced just like the “sh” in shoe. Furthermore, which different language has the insanity of announcing s as /z/ in very many phrases as English? The s’s in customer, advise, please, phrase, rise and whose are all pronounced as /z/, however this should not lead you to announcing the s in “decease” and “stop” as /z/. Truly, they’ve the /s/ sound.
Final however not least, if you’re not bored with the insanity already, let me disclose that the 2 f’s in “off” give the /f/ sound, however the single “f” in “of” provides the /v/ sound. In the meantime, it’s equally permissible in the identical language to pronounce the “ph” in “nephew” as /v/.
If I could now shut within the standard manner I used to be taught to shut arguments in my major college, I hope I’ve been in a position to persuade, and to not confuse, you that English is a loopy language.