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Understanding English language



EDITOR: I read with great interest the article by Lyden Punnett on the subject of Phonological Awareness in the April 21 issue of SEARCHLIGHT. I am wondering, however, how such issues as the pronunciation of “-ough” as it appears in “bough” (a tree branch), “cough” (to expel air), and “through” (in one side and out the other)… all spelled with “ough” but pronounced quite differently, are dealt with. One could add “tough” and “brought” to this list.{{more}}

Then there is the issue of “bow” (as in bow and arrow), “bow” (as in to bend from the waist, or knot a ribbon) – and pronounced the same as “bough”, a tree branch), and “bow” (as in the front of a ship). And then, of course, there is “read” and “read” … one is pronounced “reed”, the other “red”, but both spelled the same. And these are only the first few that occurred to me.

How does this system of teaching sound and meaning combinations and permutations deal with these instances?

The above examples are not at all uncommon, since the English language derives many of its words by adoption or by back-formations from many other languages: Latin, Greek, Anglo-Saxon, and even some Far Eastern languages, whose spelling and tenses do not follow “standard” English usage.