The most annoying things about the English language

Sep 2, 2019English and Study Tips, Smart Brains Spotlight

The most annoying things about the English language

The most annoying things about the English language

The most annoying things about the English language

Irene Smith

The most annoying things about the English language

The most annoying things about the English language Smart Brains Spotlight


The most annoying things about the English language

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The most annoying things about the English language The topic for today is “What is the most annoying aspect of the English language?“. Learning should be for life. Every moment of every day we are being presented with new and important lessons. Here we will present you one handpicked new and important lesson every day from smart brains and experts around the world.

 

What is the most annoying aspect of the English language? Irene shows you its spelling system — if you can call it a system when 1/2 of the components are not adhering to the system! (It is like a car with 1/2 of its components not working all of the time. How many people would buy such a car?)

 

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The most annoying things about the English language

The most annoying things about the English language

The most annoying things about the English language

Thank you, Irene Smith and Quora.

 

The most annoying things about the English language

 

Tips For Learning English

 

The most annoying things about the English language

The most annoying things about the English language

Irene Smith

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The most annoying things about the English language Why Is English Spelling So Damn Weird?!

 

 

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Common English Mistakes

 

The most annoying things about the English language – Spelling System

 

 
The most annoying things about the English language Answer by Irene Smith, (BA double major in literature and linguistics + an MEd, The University of British Columbia). All credit goes to Irene Smith, Thank you!

How did I learn English

8.1 / 10
 
 

The most annoying things about the English languageThe most annoying things about the English language

 

 

That is an easy one: its spelling system — if you can call it a system when 1/2 of the components are not adhering to the system! (It is like a car with 1/2 of its components not working all of the time. How many people would buy such a car?)

 

Orwell said that it tormentous or tormenting and Einstein said it was treacherous. How is that for an endorsement of a perfect system that linguists or pseudo-linguists like Oscar Tay (a teacher who lives off the imperfections) and Tamara Vardo find perfectly acceptable. Oscar Tay finds that the most annoying aspect is the “imperfective”! 300 people upvote this? WOW! Seriously? SERIOUSLY? The irony is too much. It is worth mentioning that Oscar does not indicate that he has a degree!

 

English is really off the chart in terms of orthography. It has 205 ways (or more) to spell 44 phonemes. The second worst system is French with about 140 or so ways, but we need to include final silent and irregular endings to make it look bad. (Endings do not affect pronunciation or comprehension much.) It is estimated by a real linguist (Masha Bell) who has analyzed 7000 or so common words that 1/2 cause spelling hardships and 1/3 cause literacy problems for most people (since they are irregular). (Regular/irregular spellings in 7000 words) I think if we were to extrapolate, we could easily say that it is much worse as uncommon words would be more “volatile” as they would often be polysyllabic with more than 3 syllables. The spelling of some words (think Google, poodle, people,…) promote dyslexia (or what was one of the criteria). It should be “poodle”,…or “poodal” like “tidal” and other -al words. Most research say that it takes 2 or 3 more years to learn just 7000 or so common words. Surprise! Surprise! And many lovers of the language often say that it takes a lifetime to master them all. Wait! They also say that “once you know the etymology of words” it is easier! A lifetime! I am confused. Are you? They also say that if you know Latin or Greek that it will be easier. Sure, 2 step forward and 1 step backward. A lifetime minus, what, 5 years? In the MEANtime, we could attend to matters that are far more crucial to humanity, not that it matters to some instead of spelling bees, which are essentially an anglo-saxon fixture. Italian and Spanish speakers are laughing as they can master their spelling system in just a few weeks. Why isn’t this a priority in anglo-saxon countries defies the imagination and logic. It is good business, though! Tutoring business is booming. Check there ROI. THEY are not hurting. Why change? And again, as one attends to spelling and decoding, one must forget about learning something else. Ethics, financial literacy, communication, etc.? Let’s have lots of unscrupulous illiterates who love bankruptcies or unbalanced budgets run for office or vote them in! They will be ripe for manipulation, half-truths, and true fake-news. The voters, not the leaders. They might be susceptible to corruption. By corporations? Hey! It rimes! How cute! In a narcistic kind of a way! Cough! Cough! Where there is smoke, there is fire? But, I di(e)gress.

 

Here is a graphical representation of the mess for just 12 vowel phonemes or sounds.

 

The most annoying things about the English language

Thank you, Irene Smith and Quora.

 

  Now, the supporters of such a mess say, provide a lot of reasons for the mess: vowel shift, Samuel Johnson’s dictionary, a lack of an academy, and the always popular idea that preserving the etymology of words is a great idea. Explanations are not recipes for laissez-faire. Many languages have had reforms. But, they say that will be difficult. In the meantime, billions of people putting up with a lifetime of learning (or learning Greek or Latin mind you) is a great idea? Whaaaat? Well, if it were such a great idea, why is it that English-speakers and learners struggle to learn the system quickly and efficiently, taking 2 and often more years to decode (read) and encode (spell) some 7000 words? It is a mess! Fess up! Fix it!

 

There is an unofficial group called the English spelling society (google it) that is trying to get a reform going. Upvotes and support are the only way it is going to happen. English is a lingua franca. Great privileges comes with great responsibilities.

 

I go deeper into this here: Irene Smith’s answer to How much does the English language impede learning in general for the natives due to its horrendous spelling?

 

The most annoying things about the English language Reference: Irene Smith, “What is the most annoying aspect of the English language?originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. The most annoying things about the English language

If you think about it, our lives are an endless pursuit of answers and new questions. So how can YOU take action to ensure that your learning never comes to an end?

 

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Common English Mistakes

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