Have you ever wondered how confusing English pronunciation can be to someone who doesn’t speak the language? If you grew up learning and speaking English, it shouldn’t be a problem for you. But if you were asked to explain the rules of pronunciation, I guess most of us would have forgotten them from our school days, although we subconsciously apply them in our everyday conversation.
That’s the thing − while English does have pronunciation rules, there are exceptions to the rule. And sometimes there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it these rules. Why are there so many words that begin with a silent “K”, such as “knife”? Or even a silent “G”, such as “gnaw”? If it’s not pronounced, what’s the point of including that letter in the first place, if it only adds to the confusion of both native speakers and learners? Apparently, words like “knife”, “knee” and “gnat” are examples of Viking words with letters that used to be pronounced previously, so they are still spelt the same way, but the pronunciation has changed. So although these letters are silent, they still remain so that you can see their history and origin. What’s more, words that end in the same combination of letters aren’t necessarily pronounced in the same way. Why is “trough” pronounced “troff” and “through” pronounced “throo”? Check out this video to see what we mean. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZV40f0cXF4
So one of the quirks of English pronunciation isn’t just a question of learning the rules – it’s about learning the many exceptions to the rules.