English is one of the prestigious languages that is spoken universally. Despite its universal status and prestige, the language is full of complexities and doesn’t make sense. Even if you have mastered the rules of language, you still fail to comprehend the application of rules. There are some rules for pronunciation, grammar and spellings in English, yet sometimes the language doesn’t follow its own rules, and thus makes it more weird and strange especially for those who are learning it as a second language.
The other day while teaching “oo” words to my 5 years old girl, I got speechless when my daughter asked me why “food “and “foot” are pronounced differently and why the vowel “u” doesn’t sound like “u” as in hut and put? Every time I have to tell her that vowels have two sounds. Short sounds and long sounds, but still she struggles in reading whenever she comes across such exceptions.
Lets discuss more frustrating examples and exceptions that make the language more complex.
Here are some crazy homophones in English. The words that sound alike but have a different meaning are homophones.
Like, Eight(the number)and ate(the second form of eat), stake(to kill vampires or something on risk) and steak( the meat) all these words sound alike, but have different meanings and spellings.
Now have a look at some of the homonyms. Homonyms are the words that are spelt and sound the same but have different meanings like
Tear(comes while crying) and tear( to rip),
Bear( animal) and bear( carry, endure),
Break(broke and crack) and break(rest),
see( with your eyes) and sea( the ocean) and many more to spin your head.浪
Then there are some words with the same vowel structure but don’t always rhyme.
cow, low. (ow words)
Dough, cough, through. (ough)
Lead, read, plead. read)
The word ball and doll rhymes but have a different vowel. The vowel “a” is pronounced as “o”. Similarly, the word “fleece” and “please” rhymes but has different consonants and vowels. And the word fleece has a consonant “c” but is pronounced “s” like in “place” too. interchangeable The words “baby” and “pretty” has the consonant ” y” but sound “i”.
Are u already freaked up? Stay put and see more.
If “PH ” gives the sound of ” f”
And “GH” sound in rough is pronounced “f”
And “TION” in potion is pronounced ” sh”.
And the “O” in women makes the short vowel “I” sound
And if “EIGH” stands for ” a” as in neighbour,
Then the word FISH can be spelt as PHOTION or GHOTION.right?
Want some more?
Let’s move on to some of the plurals in the English language. The simple rule for plurals is, we add “s” or “es” at the end. like pen and pens, fish and fishes, mango and mangoes. Having said that, there are some exceptions too. Child and children, man and men, tooth and teeth, foot and feet. Mouse means one mouse and mice means a few of them. Then more than one house, and blouse, should be hice and prices.路♀️
And why on earth some letters are silent as in “Knee, honesty, doubt, autumn, island, Wednesday and the list goes on. As if the spelling wasn’t hard enough to learn, what’s the use of writing it, when it has to remain silent. 路♀️Why can’t we just leave them and make the spellings short for learning?臘♀️
Confused yet? If not, you will be after reading whats next. The ironies, paradoxes and oxymoron in the English language make the matter more worst. Have a look.
There is no honey and moon in honeymoon, no egg and plant in eggplant, no pine and apple in pineapple, no lady in ladyfinger.
She is pretty ugly, he was a wise fool, I know nothing, A bitter truth, act naturally, open secrets. Above all words seems to contradict each other. Each word looks like the opposite of the other word.
Then there are synonyms rules that not every synonym can be used interchangeably because words carry different connotations that can change the meaning. For example both “notorious” and “renown” means famous, but ” notorious” means famous for doing something bad, whereas “renown” means famous for something good. One has a negative connotation and the other has positive.
The word look, see, the watch has the same root meaning, yet can not be used interchangeably.
Well, that’s enough to reveal the ambiguity of the English Language. Though, there must be some reasons behind these discrepancies, which is yet to be revealed but some other time. All I want to say that like Arabic and French, learning English as a second language is very challenging. its grammatical structures, pronunciation, spellings and meanings rules that contradict, make it more difficult for its speaker and learners. So show some respect if they speak or write wrong because English is weirdly hard and grasping its rules with exceptions are going to take a long long time.