We Spell a Spoken Sound in as Many as 20 Different Ways.

PREPOSTEROUS!

English spelling is sheer memory. A 2-year study at Stanford University determined that over 300 rules would be required to spell correctly, by rule, half of our 17,000 most frequently used words.

"Learning to read (English) is perhaps the greatest effort the human undertakes, and he must do it as a child. "
John Steinbeck.

SHORT-A
had
have
guarantee
laugh
plaid
ingenue

LONG-A
make
making
playing
rain
they
veil
great
maelstrom
weigh
raise
straight
re
plague
applique
gauge
aye
matinee
seine
gaol
ballet
dossier
bouquet
 
[a]
[a-e]
[ua]
[au]
[ai]
[i]


[a-e]
[a]
[ay]
[ai]
[ey]
[ei]
[ea]
[ae]
[eigh]
[ai-e]
[aigh]
[e]
[a-ue]
[ue]
[au-e]
[aye]
[ee]
[ei-e]
[ao]
[et]
[er]
[uet]
AR
car
are
heart
guard
sergeant
bazaar
starve
catarrh
bizarre

AIR
chair
vary
dare
aerial
scarce
millionaire
prayer
square
where
their
bear

BROAD-A
father
hurrah
calm
barrage
ensemble
detente
pas
lingerie
eclat
 
[ar]
[are]
[ear]
[uar]
[er]
[aar]
[ar-e]
[arrh]
[arre]


[air]
[ar]
[are]
[aer]
[ar-e]
[aire]
[ayer]
[uare]
[ere]
[eir]
[ear]


[a]
[ah]
[al]
[a-e]
[e]
[e-e]
[as]
[i]
[at]
SHORT-E
met
ledge
head
many
said
says
friend
guest
cheque
burial
aesthetic
heifer
jeopardy
foetid
cleanse

LONG-EE
keep
these
me
people
leave
field
believe
deceit
deceive
ravine
ski
cheese
league
antique
key
aeon
amoeba
mosquito
 
[e]
[e-e]
[ea]
[a]
[ai]
[ay]
[ie]
[ue]
[e-ue]
[u]
[ae]
[ei]
[eo]
[oe]
[ea-e]


[ee]
[e-e]
[e]
[eo]
[ea-e]
[ie]
[ie-e]
[ei]
[ei-e]
[i-e]
[i]
[ee-e]
[ea-ue]
[i-ue]
[ey]
[ae]
[oe]
[ui]
SHORT-I
pin
lynch
pretty
give
been
mischief
busy
guild
women
minute
counterfeit
sieve
bisque
apocalypse

LONG-I
ties
like
find
trying
highly
height
eye
buy
type
guile
aisle
dye
guiding
stein
eying
island
diamond
maestro
bayou
aye
coyote
 
[i]
[y]
[e]
[i-e]
[ee]
[ie]
[u]
[ui]
[o]
[u-e]
[ei]
[ie-e]
[i-ue]
[y-e]


[ie]
[i-e]
[i]
[y]
[igh]
[eigh]
[eye]
[uy]
[y-e]
[ui-e]
[ai-e]
[ye]
[ui]
[ie]
[ey]
[is]
[ia]
[ae]
[ay]
[aye]
[oy]

SHORT-O
hot
swap
laurel
honor
knowledge
catalogue
yacht
bureaucracy

LONG-O
goes
bone
roll
glowing
boat
soul
dough
cantaloupe
brooch
chauffeur
sewing
beaus
depots
owe
mauve
yeoman
rogue
yolk
cologne
auto
 
[o]
[a]
[au]
[ho]
[ow]
[o-ue]
[ach]
[eau]


[oe]
[o-e]
[o]
[ow]
[oa]
[ou]
[ough]
[ou-e]
[oo]
[au]
[ew]
[eau]
[ot]
[owe]
[au-e]
[eo]
[o-ue]
[ol]
[og-e]
[au]
SHORT-U
cut
love
other
young
does
judge
blood
tongue
brusque
humble

LONG-U
hue
use
unit
few
view
beauty
nuisance
feud
adieu
deuce
vacuum
queue
ewe
debut
you
yule
fugue
 
[u]
[o-e]
[o]
[ou]
[oe]
[u-e]
[oo]
[o-ue]
[u-ue]
[hu]


[ue]
[u-e]
[u]
[ew]
[iew]
[eau]
[ui]
[eu]
[ieu]
[eu-e]
[uu]
[ueue]
[ewe]
[ut]
[you]
[yu-e]
[u-ue]
LONG-OO
moon
whom
soup
truly
two
move
through
rule
glue
cartouche
crew
fruit
shoe
loose
sleuth
manoeuvre
bruise
buoy
deuce
jiujitsu
rendezvous
silhouette
coup
pooh

SHORT-OO
pull
good
wolf
should
bouillon
 
[oo]
[o]
[ou]
[u]
[wo]
[o-e]
[ough]
[u-e]
[ue]
[ou-e]
[ew]
[ui]
[oe]
[oo-e]
[eu]
[oeu]
[ui-e]
[uo]
[eu-e]
[iu]
[ous]
[hou]
[oup]
[ooh]


[u]
[oo]
[o]
[ou]
[oui]

UR
jury
your
sure
poor
pleurisy
fluoresce

OU
cloud
house
hour

OW terminal
now
bowing
bough
landau

AU
because
thought
talk
water
taught
cloth
broad
exhaust
 
[ur]
[our]
[ure]
[oor]
[eur]
[uor]


[ou]
[ou-e]
[hou]


[ow]
[ow]
[ough]
[au]


[au-e]
[ough]
[al]
[a]
[augh]
[o]
[oa]
[hau]
AW terminal
saw
clawing

OI
point
boy
noise
gargoyle
turquoise

OR
for
store
court
war
door
board
liquor
drawer
torque
reservoir
dinosaur
 
[aw]
[aw]


[oi]
[oy]
[oi-e]
[oy-e]
[uoi-e]


[or]
[ore]
[our]
[ar]
[oor]
[oar]
[uor]
[awer]
[or-e]
[oir]
[aur]
ER
terminal
err
erred
serve
bird
stirring
stirred
squirm
furnish
burr
curve
blurred
yearn
hearse
world
worse
journey
scourge
connoisseur
myrtle
myrrh
ogre
liar
nature
lacquer
freer
restaurant
hemmorrhage
 
[er]
[err]
[erre]
[er-e]
[ir]
[irr]
[irre]
[uir]
[ur]
[urr]
[ur-e]
[urre]
[ear]
[ear-e]
[or]
[or-e]
[our]
[our-e]
[eur]
[yr]
yrrh]
[re]
[ar]
[ure]
[uer]
[r]
[au]
[orrh]
Schwa-a
about
nuisance
mountain
parliament
Schwa-e
mitten
license
mischievous
Schwa-i
easily
engine
vehicle
Schwa-o
gallop
luncheon
region
Schwa-u
circus
fashion
welcome
porpoise
advantageous
Schwee, 1/2 ee
happy
belong
champion
 
[a]
[a-e]
[ai]
[ia]

[e]
[e-e]
[ie]

[i]
[i-e]
[hi]

[o]
[eo]
[io]

[u]
[io]
[u-e]
[oi-e]
[eou]

[y]
[e]
[i]


B
bat
rubber
cupboard
hautboy
C
can
account
lack
D
did
called
would
add
F
for
muffin
graphic
half
tough
often
sapphire
G
get
egg
ghost
guard
vague
 
[b]
[bb]
[pb]
[tb]

[c]
[cc]
[ck]

[d]
[ed]
[ld]
[dd]

[f]
[ff]
[ph]
[lf]
[gh]
[ft]
[pph]

[g]
[gg]
[gh]
[gu]
[gue]
H
hat
who
J
just
magic
bridge
soldier
education
region
adjust
gorgeous
grandeur
exaggerate
large
K
kit
back
chemistry
talk
lacquer
biscuit
khaki
chukka
saccharine
liquor
clique
 
[h]
[wh]

[j]
[g]
[dge]
[di]
[d]
[gi]
[dj]
[geo]
[de]
[gg]
[ge]

[k]
[ck]
[ch]
[lk]
[cqu]
[cu]
[kh]
[kk]
[cch]
[qu]
[que]
L
lip
tall
people
island
kiln
muscle
M
met
summer
column
palm
lamb
phlegm
N
net
knock
dinner
gnat
pneumatic
handsome
P
pat
happy
hiccough
naphtha
 
[l]
[ll]
[le]
[sl]
[ln]
[cle]

[m]
[mm]
[mn]
[lm]
[mb]
[gm]

[n]
[kn]
[nn]
[pn]
[gn]
[nd]

[p]
[pp]
[gh]
[ph]
R
run
write
are
colonel
rhyme
corps
catarrh
mortgage
velours
S
sets
city
lesson
scene
listen
sword
waltz
psychic
worsted
isthmus
convalesce
fence
house
 
[r]
[wr]
[re]
[l]
[rh]
[rps]
[rrh]
[rt]
[rs]

[s]
[c]
[ss]
[sc]
[st]
[sw]
[z]
[ps]
[rs]
[sth]
[sce]
[ce]
[se]


T
ten
button
asked
two
debt
receipt
indict
yacht
thyme
bought
veldt
V
voice
of
give
halve
savvy
W
wet
bivouac
X voiced
exam
X unvoiced
tax
 
[t]
[tt]
[ed]
[tw]
[bt]
[pt]
[ct]
[cht]
[th]
[ght]
[dt]

[v]
[f]
[ve]
[lve]
[vv]

[w]
[ou]
(gz)
[x]
(ks)
[x]
Y (consonant)
yet
beyond
Y (vowel)
happy
Z
zebra
scissor
puzzle
raise
business
busy
raspberry
xylophone
asthma
CH
church
structure
match
question
righteous
niche
cello
 
[y]
[y]

[y]

[z]
[ss]
[zz]
[se]
[si]
[s]
[sp]
[x]
[sth]

[ch]
[t]
[tch]
[ti]
[teo]
[che]
[c]
NG
ring
NK
sink
SH
shop
motion
pension
special
mission
issue
sure
machine
appreciate
conscience
ocean
negotiate
crescendo
fuchsia
schist
nauseous
mustache
luxury
anxious
 
[ng]

[nk]

[sh]
[ti]
[si]
[ci]
[ssi]
[ss]
[s]
[ch]
[c]
[sci]
[ce]
[t]
[sc]
[chsi]
[schh]
[seo]
[che]
[x]
[xio]
TH voiced
this
bathe
TH unvoiced
thing
WH
when
ZH
azure
vision
pleasure
regime
garage
loggia
rescission
brazier
equation
jabot
 
[th]
[the]

[th]

[wh]

[z]
[s]
[s]
[g]
[ge]
[gg]
[ssi]
[si]
[ti]
[j]


Enuf is enuf. We don't need to invent 14 spellings per sound.

We don't spell fish

ghoti

But half our spellings are equally whimsical and preposterious.


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