→ How Would English Sound if It Were Phonetically Consistent?

in link •  5 months ago

Much has been made of how English pronunciation makes absolutely no sense. Why is the "ough" spoken differently in "rough", "though", "thought", and "through", for example. Why isn't the "k" spoken in "knight"? And so on. George Bernard Shaw famously mocked English spelling by pointing out that "ghoti" can be pronounced "fish".

Yes yes, because English evolved after spelling was settled. We know. The internet has been obsessed with the issue. That doesn't change the fact that English as it currently is is very difficult due to this maddening pronunciation/spelling inconsistency.

Aaron Alon has made a fantastic video looking at this problem in a slightly tongue-in-cheek way. He assigns exactly one sound to each vowel and he gradually changes his speech to reflect the changes. The end result sounds to me a bit like Welsh. Or maybe like someone who doesn't speak Welsh trying to do a bad impression.

See what you think.


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Now I can understand Chaucer!

English pronunciation makes a lot of sense. It's English orthography that's the problem. Compressing all of the vowels into five was not a great idea.

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I've seen people reblog this video a few times on fb, but to be honest with you phonetics wasn't even the difficult part of learning English (being a native speaker of Russian). Yeah, I see why people would find it hard pronouncing words, but when it comes to reading, it's easy to pick up on things and learn, I think that grammar is where the true difficulties lie.