Frederick asked in Arts & HumanitiesPhilosophy · 2 months ago

why are pronunciation and spelling of words very different in English?

12 Answers

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  • Zirp
    Lv 7
    2 months ago
    Favourite answer

    Because the literates switched to normandy-french in the wake of 1066, and nobody had the sense or the power to rationalise the spelling after almost all grammatical endings had been economised away.

    Rationalising the spelling now would only turn homophones into homonyms, and English already has way too many of those already

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    It's actually like that in most languages, Finnish being an exception (for the most part).

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  • 2 months ago

    For good historical reasons.

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  • C
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    When English spellings first started to become standardised the spellings matched the pronunciation of the dictionary compilers.  However English is a language rich in regional accents and the pronunciation which has the current upper hand doesn't always come from the dialect the spelling is based on.  Add to that pronunciation changes through time.  Most standard spellings are frozen in the English of the mid-1700s.  Another layer on "non-alignment" comes from periodic campaigns to make loanwords reflects their language of origin.  A good example of this is the British -our ending where American uses -or.  The -or ending is older and has even contaminated spellings where etymologically it has never belonged, such as "neighbour."

    Every time someone says that English spelling ought to be reformed I always ask, "whose English?"  To give a colourful example "ewe" (a female sheep) is pronounced "yoo" in many dialects, but around here it's definitely "yow" and if you head SW from me it's "eew."   It's useful to have a one size doesn't fit most so that we have some common ground to communicate!  This way everyone can have an equal grumble.

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    WRONG FORUM again, dumbass. Take this one to the Education & Reference category. FAIL. Reported. 

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  • Dr. D
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    The English language is a mix of Latin, German, Anglo-Saxon, and other languages. So the pronunciation and spelling of words is not always consistent. 

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    Because cats climb tress

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  • TB12
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    "A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed."

    Only eight different ways to pronounce "ough",,, now what's so difficult about that.

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    Because English is a bit of a mongrel of a language with its major influences coming from German and Latin (by way of France). Different spellings and different pronunciations that were absorbed into English.

    And as far as differences in usage in English for the past couple of centuries, that's only natural when you have the language spread across the globe

    • Ann
      Lv 6
      2 months agoReport

      Only decent answer.

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  • 2 months ago

    Very different to what?. oh I see.. my bad.. hang on

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