Please forward this error screen to 194. Why is English spelling exceptionally irregular? The pronunciations of all three english alphabet spelling letters have changed since 1066. The consistency of English spelling was first seriously corrupted during the reinstatement of English as the official language of England in 15th century.
It suffered even more at the hands of foreign printers during the bible wars of the 16th century. If English had a completely regular spelling system, as Finnish and Korean do, it would have no more than 44 spellings, and learning to read and write English would be as easy as those two languages. Most alphabetic writing systems, however, do not have a completely one to one relationship between their sounds and spellings, with a few more spellings than sounds. The European average is around 50. Learning to read and write English is exceptionally difficult because it has 185 spellings for 44 sounds.
This is partly because children have to learn to pronounce 185 spellings, instead of just around 50. The greatest English reading difficulties, however, are caused by the 69 spellings which have more than one pronunciation, shown in the next table. They make at least 2000 English words not completely decodable. For centuries, there has been a movement to reform the spelling of English. However, some proposals are more radical and may involve adding letters and symbols or even creating a new alphabet. Some spelling reform proposals have been adopted partially or temporarily. Spelling reform has rarely attracted widespread public support, sometimes due to organized resistance and sometimes due to lack of interest.
As printing developed, printers began to develop individual preferences or “house styles”. Furthermore, typesetters were paid by the line and were fond of making words longer. There have been two periods when spelling reform of the English language has attracted particular interest. The first of these periods was from the middle of the 16th to the middle of the 17th centuries AD, when a number of publications outlining proposals for reform were published. Logonomia Anglica in 1621 by Dr. These proposals generally did not attract serious consideration because they were too radical or were based on an insufficient understanding of the phonology of English.