Tuesday, 13 December 2016
Today is a day when I address some things about our beautiful, interesting, but strange language.
There are many words in English that are spelled the same but pronounced differently. Also there are words pronounced the same, but spelled differently. Then there are words that are the same in spelling and pronunciation but have different meanings, depending on context.
The strangest, in my opinion, are words ending in -ough.
Though, pronounced 'tho'
Bough, pronounced 'bow'. (although that in itself has different pronunciations)
Enough, pronounced 'enuf'
Thought, pronounced 'thort'
Through, pronounced 'threw'
No wonder foreigners have some difficulty with it, although (another one, similar to 'though', here) it seems they are able to manage quite well if the number of foreigners who speak the language extremely well is anything to go by.
I was in an Italian restaurant in Germany and was greatly amused to see the German waiter speaking to a French customer in English. This also happened when I was in Croatia. The Croatian receptionist spoke to a visitor I think was Russian in English. These strange inconsistencies seem not to faze them, even if they confuse some native speakers!