The vagaries of the English language
My little grandson started school yesterday and thankfully it all went well. In fact he so loved school he wants to go at weekends too! Long may it last! This September lots of other little ones have started on their journey to learn to read and write. My grandson has a great range of language for a four year old - partly because we believe in exposing him to all kinds of words, but understanding the spelling and pronunciation of English words for reading and writing will be another challenge entirely.
Try telling someone learning to spell that you spell a bow for your hair - BOW, but ‘toe’ which rhymes exactly with ‘bow’ with an ‘e’instead of a ‘w’. But ‘Bow’ although spelt the same can also be pronounced as in ‘take a bow’ the ‘o’ now making a different vowel sound as in ‘ow’ I’ve hurt myself! But what about the ‘bough’ of a tree then? The pronunciation is the same as in ‘take a bow’ but now has ‘ugh’ instead of ‘w’ at the end. This ‘ugh’when added to ‘to’ does not make the sound ‘tow’ as in ‘town’ but ‘tough’ as in‘huff’ - again spelt differently. ‘Cough’ you would therefore assume would be pronounced ‘Cuff’ going with the principles of ‘tough’ but no it is of course a chesty ‘cough’! So what about ‘dough’ which is pronounced neither as ‘bough’, ‘tough’ or ‘cough’ but has the same ‘ough’ spelling?
Oh dear! The so called ‘rules’ of the English language seem to be broken more times than not. There are thousands more examples of these ridiculous ‘rule breaking’ spellings which gets a little tedious to say the least but somehow or other we do all more or less manage to get there with the different spellings and pronunciations of our English language.
Maybe texting and other modern technological devices will change the way we spell in the future anyway. Language is always developing and altering. Even I use ‘c u later’ and ‘r u 2 ok?’ when texting, but that’s partly because I can’t get the hang of predictive text and have to resort to my own peculiar shorthand!
Luckily the first nights reading homework for my little grandson was about a cat and a little monster chasing a big monster and not too challenging for either of us! The challenge will come in later years and until then that can wait. For the moment I just hope he enjoys reading about monsters and cats even though I can’t quite figure why it’s not a Kat!