Why English pronunciation is so irregular? Why no reform?
> German, same as Italian, E can stand for both [e] and [E], O can be both [o] and [O]...Using different Es or Os would sound strange/foreign to a German ear.
There are some minor differences which would propably sound strange, but they wouldn't completely destroy the sense
In English there are HUGE differences between spelling and pronunciation, for example the "o" in women and the "ti" in nation
You won't find such differences in German
You don't necessarily know the exact pronunication of an Italian or German word just from how it's spelled, but it's clear that the problem is MUCH less significant in those languages than it is in English. I doubt that any language has a writing system with a perfect orthography. Even though any native Spanish word can be pronounced by seeing how it's spelled, the inverse isn't really true: you can't necessarily spell a word just by knowing how it's pronounced.
But, on the other hand, English orthography, as bad as it is, could be much worse... it could be Chinese. No matter what Chinese dialect you speak -- or Japanese, for that matter -- you have little hope for pronouncing an unfamiliar character. Or you might know how to pronounce the word that the character represents, but not actually know the character itself. There's very little correlation between speech and writing in Chinese, except that each character represents a syllable of Standard Mandarin -- you just can't tell which syllables they are! And, of course, there are several thousand different characters to deal with...
English orthography is heaven for a foreign learner by comparison. :)
Ov kours, it symz dhat mutj ov dhe oppozísjen tu oarthográffik ryfóarm iz diu tu djenneral konsérvetivizm radher dhen aktiual rasjenal krittisizm ov anni paartíkiuler oarthográffik ryfóarm propózelz.
Japanese is actually worse than Chinese. At least with Chinese there is usually ONE pronunciation (within any one dialect) for each character. (The tone may change preceding certain tones, but this is usually predictable.) Also, many Chinese characters have a phonetic element, which may at least hint at the pronunciation. (Which has probably changed over the centuries.)
Japanese has TWO readings for most characters: On (borrowed Chinese pronunciation) and Kun (character used with native Japanese pronunciation.) And each On and Kun reading can have several variations! On top of that, Japanese has not one, but two syllabaries; hiragana (mainly for grammatical endings) and katakana (mainly for words borrowed from English and other languages). Throw in the English words, symbols, acronyms, abbreviations, etc., that are used in printed Japanese, and you have about the most complex writing system on the planet.
<< Japanese is actually worse than Chinese. At least with Chinese there is usually ONE pronunciation (within any one dialect) for each character. >>
As a student of Japanese, of course I know this is correct... but Japanese doesn't use as many characters, so it sort of balances out. I suppose the Japanese system is still far less "logical", though, even though it probably isn't too much harder to deal with. I just didn't want to complicate the point I was making. :)
<< On top of that, Japanese has not one, but two syllabaries; hiragana (mainly for grammatical endings) and katakana (mainly for words borrowed from English and other languages). >>
At least the kana are easy and there are very few irregularities to be found in modern kana orthography. It's a shame that kana doesn't mark for accent or for syllable boundaries, though.
You said on another thread: "I'm also studying Japanese, but, due to the path I have chosen to take (learning how to write and recognize all the kanji before learning vocabulary and grammar), it will be quite some time before I get beyond the Japanese equivalent of "See Spot run". In fact, I don't even know how to say "See Spot run".
How is that going? I thought it would be easier to learn to speak (or at least understand) first (using romaji or kana). Then go to learn to read--the way native speaker kids do.
This would be the same for English learners struggling with irregularities as talked about in this thread.
<< I thought it would be easier to learn to speak (or at least understand) first (using romaji or kana). Then go to learn to read--the way native speaker kids do. >>
In a way yes, and in a way no... part of the idea behind learning the kanji first is that it's a matter of "getting the hard part out of the way". I feel that Japanese would not be worth learning to me if I don't learn the kanji, so I'll have to learn them anyway, and if I leave it for later, it's easy to procrastinate on it... I have the feeling that if I don't learn the kanji up front, I probably never will. That's probably not literally true, but I still think it's a good idea to eliminate as many excuses for not studying the kanji that I can.
By the way, I think perhaps the most ridiculous irregular spelling in American English is "colonel". There is just logic behind the idea that "colo" should be pronounced "ker".
British English has a few more irregularities like that, for example, pronouncing "lieutenant" as "leftenant". And a few British personal and place names are incredibly hard for Americans... my favorite example is the surname Featherstonehaugh. It's pronounced "Fanshaw".
<< There is just logic behind the idea that "colo" should be pronounced "ker". >>
I meant to say "no logic", of course.
If u ever rifer tu oll the piple that ar opting for a chenje as THE IDIOTS WHO CAN'T SPELL WON'T FEEL BAD. Wel, let mi tell u that Y hav caut piple making typos hir and ther and evrywher. Wel, in my kase Y'm trying tu make a sistem folowd by paterns and that as Y hav sed numerous tymes... MOR LOJIKAL. Got it? No? Wel, Wanz agein. Luk at theez words...
head vs peach, plain vs said vs head, break vs brake, yeah vs dear, deer vs dear
That's wy Y wonder, hu impoused this?
bilIEve vs concEIted vs tIE vs cookIE vs blInd vs spY, vs tinY vs appY vs sYmptom vs cYcle vs MIchael vs mInimIze OMG... Want mor?
sO vs tO vs gO vs dO vs tOmorrow vs SOny vs dOing vs pOint vs dOugh vs cOugh vs cOuch vs thOught vs thrOugh vs wOuld vs shOulder vs IDK WTF INVENTED THOUZ SPELINGS. Y cud sey that's unbilivably so mach/much/m^ch. Nat inuff? Jost/Jast/Just/J^st imajine another lengueje lyke that. Du u wanna lern or memoryze somthing lyke that from another lengueje? Wud u iven try? Y houp/hope u ar at leest bylingual tho.
Naw, sEvEn, SEptEmbEr, NovEmbEr, DicEmber vs dEvIcE vs DEnvEr vs EvEr vs EvEn? vs encounter vs English vs entertainment ? ? ? ? ? Going biyond lunatic? Y definitly opt for a chenje and Y houp theez atrocious spelings cud bi updaited alredy.
Haw abaut? game vs plain vs plane vs planed vs explained... etsetera. Wel, forget abaut that. Let's go for paterns. Folow long vawels.
gave, game, propane, made, mane, tame, pane, behave, but have? vs had
or hade? Wat a patern sistem but don't forget this wan too.
dive, mine, guide, bide, abide, bike, Nike, site, but give???
At leest Y'm nat that IDIOT tu make or impous a sistem with that meny slaping- on- the- face-irregularitys evidently shown above. Enybody, that wants tu lern Inglish sey... GIV MI A BREIK WITH THAT SISTEM. Y hope u kynda get the ydea ov wat Y meen. Wud u iven koll that a "smart-made speling sistem"?
Y wish enywan cud giv mi the the cleerest and simplest reeson tu biliv that thouz spelings ar lojik or at leest disently made using paterns. That's wat Y meerly sey that OLDINCION "old Inglish vercion" is made ov an ILOJIKALITY IN TOTALITY.
Wat kynd ov teecher wud axept teeching somthing lyke that wen evrything is evolving, other lenguejes ar mor koherent and this kurrent sistem is full ov wat Y koll idiotidity with oll ur duw/due rispekt.
Firstly, is some kind of sanity going to return to this otherwise sensible Forum? I wonder what prompts some people to act in this way and ruin things for others but I reckon it's just one of the many pitfalls on the internet....
This thread......."Why IS English pronunciation so irregular?" ......because it IS! It''s just the way it is, and that's how it has developed over the years since its inception. . It's part of the fun of our English Language, and when you finally come to terms with, and learned, all it's seemingly unnaccountable idiosyncracies and inconsistencies then that's the point when you realise that you have mastered it.
No reforms are necessary and no way will they ever be implemented...at least not here in the land of its birth....well, The English part of it anyway. Live with it....get over it......
Hav u ever herd of 'SoundSpel'? How about 'synthetic phonics'?
I've got buddy called Ralph who insists his name is "Ray-f". I call him "Ralf" to wind him up hahaha. That'll teach him to have an amusing name. BTW my surname is pronounced "Jace".
"Jass" is pronounced like "Jace"? Where ar u from, Jass?
It's very improbable that that's his real name.