Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The Absurdity of English Spelling

In Greek class, we were discussing pronunciation and how easy Greek is to pronounce because you basically say what you see. Unfortunately, English is another story, largely because its rules of pronunciation are based on Latin. Sew and new don't rhyme. But kernel and colonel do. In the 1500s there was a great deal of debate about whether the standardized spelling should reflect the realities of English pronunciation or adhere as closely to Latin as possible. They chose the latter. Considering the times, the choice of Latin was an inevitable one. It was the holy language of Christianity. 

The problem, of course, is that English is basically a Germanic language, not a Romance one. It can't be held to the rules of Latin because it's not based on Latin. I'm a huge fan of Latin, but this is one place where the love of that language clearly went wrong.