#49 - The English Language

Every time one of my kids learns to read and write, I realize all over again how crazy the English language is. Why can't we just spell things the way they sound?

For instance, take the word 'of.' Why is it spelled o-f anyway? Shouldn't it be u-v?

My 5-year-old decided to write and illustrate her own book the other day. It's amazingly cute, if I do say so myself. :) Here is a sample page from her book:

"Wuns upon u tim thar wus a pepil and tha wr pikeing bares blubares and pikeing flower."

A couple of those things she actually got right because she asked me "How do you spell flower?" and because she already knew them, like i-n-g says ing. But look at the words overall. Why shouldn't "once" be spelled w-u-n-s? Or "they" spelled t-h-a?

Other examples throughout the book are "soccer" spelled s-o-k-r, "person" spelled p-r-s-i-n, and "team" spelled t-e-m.

It's not just "i before e except after c...." The fact is, there are more exceptions than there are rules in the English language.

Of course, once I got through the younger grades, everything just made sense and became intuitive. But I'm sure glad I didn't have to learn English as a second language!

My kids just started at a school that teaches Spanish from Kindergarten, so it's fun to watch the kids come home with new Spanish words and songs every day. I've been trying to learn Spanish for about a decade now, and it's not coming along very fast.

But as I think about how much harder it would be to have to learn English, my task in learning Spanish doesn't seem so hard anymore. I'm also feeling some renewed motivation to keep going in my studies as I think about how soon the kids are going to pass me by in their Spanish. I better do what I can with my head start. :D


  1. Exactly! My daughter spells phonetically a lot, and I think--Why not?

  2. Seriously, the English language is pretty screwed up. There's just so many arbitrary rules that are "just because". LIke the l in walk, could, or should. What the heck is that l there for? I was talking to Lemi Morrill about what it was learn English (since she grew up in Japan) and she told me that if she'd known learning English was as hard as it was, she probably wouldn't have come to the U.S. for nursing school.

    Good luck with the Spanish...

  3. One more reason to be grateful I'm an American that didn't have to learn this language after already knowing one that makes sense!


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