Hi SE Readers. Thought we would have a little fun today. I’ve often heard English is the hardest language to learn. That seems strange to me because I grew up speaking it, so it comes natural to me. My Texas twang notwithstanding.
But for someone learning English as a second language, I can see how it might be a bit difficult. Pronunciations and spellings I take for granted may not make sense to others. Silent letters, words that look like they would rhyme but don’t, plural forms.
For instance, if rough and tough rhyme, then why isn’t cough and bough pronounced cuff and buff?
Speaking of bough (a part of a tree), there is also bow (to kneel or courtesy). Bow can also be a noun as in a bow and arrow.
Some words sound alike but are spelled differently and have completely different meanings.
Jeff threw the baseball at nearly 100 miles per hour. Everyone wanted him on the home team, but he was just passing through town. At least two dozen people asked if he would stay but it was too much to hope for.
If family begins with the letter f, why is phantom spelled with ph? Considering the fact the past tense of freeze is frozen, then why is the past tense of squeeze, squeezed?
Then there are the hard vs. soft sounds. Christy could easily be spelled Kristy, but ever have you ever heard anyone spell Charlotte with a K?
Let’s not forget those words with silent letters. It’s pterodactyl, salmon, and subtle, not terodactyl, samon, and sutle.
Probably each area of the US has its own quirky spellings and pronunciations of words. San Antonio, the second largest city in Texas, is in Bexar County. You would think Bex would rhyme with the Tex in Texas, right?
Wrong. Bexar is pronounced bair. Isn’t that a bear?
There’s also a town named Leakey. Remind you of a dripping faucet? Think again. It’s laykee.
Boerne, located in central Texas, might make you think of a Robert Ludlum character. Try this. It’s pronounced burnee.
The town of Gruene is home to Texas’ oldest dance hall. Seeing red yet? Probably not but you might be seeing green, um, I mean Gruene.
For a funny clip about learning to read English, take a look at this scene from I Love Lucy. As for me, I think I’ll stroll into my favorite Mexican restaurant and have some wok, that is, guacamole.