Sunday, March 8, 2009

Words I Hate

There are a lot of words that I have no idea how to spell. For the most part I’m comfortable with that. There are a lot of very long words that are perfectally phonetic, so even if I’m not aware that I know how to spell them I am able to guess right. The problem is the words that I know I can’t spell. Words that I use all the time, and spell wrong every single time I use them. I know that I can’t spell them. I want to learn how to spell them. But it just doesn’t happen. I continue to misspell these killer words day after day after day.

I am breaking my rules a bit – I am going to use spell check to figure out the correct spelling of these words for the sake of this discussion. Here is a list of the words that pleage me most:

Tomorrow – Why is it spelled that way? In my mind the most phonetic spelling would be tomarow. I figured out that one of the consinents was doubled so I started spelling it tommarow, but I was still wrong. Then I started spelling it tomarrow, but still I’m wrong. Then I realized that tomorrow is the one word in the English language where a hard r sound is spelled with an or instead of an ar. So I started spelling it tomorow, or tommorow. Sometimes I do spell it tomorrow, but it is purely a matter of chance. I have no idea how to spell this word, I just know it is one of about 8 spellings, and I readomly guess. Sometimes I guess right, but most of the time I guess wrong.

Awkward – Awkward is an awkward word, it seems fitting somehow. The letter pattern wkw is not common place. I honestly don’t have the slightest clue how to spell this word. It is one that I normally have to find by looking up odd, or uncomfortable in the thesarus – but awkward is such an awful word it doesn’t even have good synomims. For a while I thought there was a qu in the middle of it – there isn’t. But the spelling seems so buzar to me that I typally toss random letters into word and simply pray that I’ll come up with a suggestion. It happens rairly. Lately I’ve been taking my not knowing how to spell this hellish word as a sign I need to expand my vocabulary. I need to stop writing about auquerd characters just so I can stop attempting to spell this horrible horrible string of seven letters.

Through/Threw/Though/Throw/Thought… - Can somebody please tell me why through is pronounced exactly the same way as threw, but though is pronounced the same way as throw. I hate ough! Does it make a ō sound, or an aw sound, or an ew sound? Why does it have to make all three when followed by a th? I am always spelling these words wrong. Ough’s should be outlawed. In a perfect world these words would be spelled threw/threw/thoe/throw/thaut.

Orange/Arrange: - Clearly I have a problem with these words because I had to look organize up in the thesarous in order to find out how to spell arrange. I always think the color/fruit is spelled orenge and the management of clutter is spelled orange, or possably orainge. That makes sence to me. I’m actually a bit shocked that these words are spelled so differently, seeing as how I have been confusing them for years.

Seismic: - I understand that most people rairly used this word, but for my day job I’m a structural engineer, so I actually use this word a lot. Isn’t it evil? Looking at it don’t you just feel my pain? Here are a few alternative spellings that I like a lot better – sciesmic, sciesmic, seiscmic, seismic… Anything would be better than seismic. And really why do they teach you “I before E except after C” in elementry school? I keep on trying to put a c in this word, but it doesn’t belong. Yet there is still an e before the i.

Of/off: - I do know how to spell of, really I do. It only has two letters, and it is one of the most common words in the English language. I figured out that of is the one case where an f makes a va sound, and I got over it. Occationally if I’m writing really fast and not thinking about it a ov will sneek in. But for the most part I’ve got of down. My bigger problem is off. I never want to put in that second f. Because I know in my heart of hearts that of is supposed to be spelled ov, I feel comfortable spelling off of. Spell check doesn’t even catch this error though – since of is a real word. Why do the most common words always have to have the weirdest spellings?

Lettuce: This really isn’t one of my least favorite words. It doesn’t bother me in the least bit that I consistantly spell it letus. My spelling makes perfect sence, and every time I put letus on the grocery list my husband brings home a bundle of leafy greens. He just always scoffs at me afterwards. Like there is something wrong with not being able to spell letus. I mean really – who does he think he is married to?


Genevieve said...

I think you should add weather/wheather, which/witch and also when to use affect/effect. I think the affect/effect one is the worst. Why is English like this? Are any other languages this way? I have studied French, Spanish, Italian and Tagalog and none of those languages are...English is supposed to be German that way>

Nigel said...

English is a fine language but has an archaic spelling system.

Spoken language good - writing system bad.

This is because it is a aggregate of 2 types of German, 2 types of French, Greek, Latin plus some others [Spanish & Hindi etc]. We have also had the Great Vowel Shift which means that what we write [rite] reflects how we pronounced words [werds]400 years ago.

You could say that English spelling is a form of corrupted German that tried at one time to look French.

English does not follow its own rules and is full of silent letters that make it difficult to learn. If you are a dyslexic you are especially disadvantaged. Dyslexia in countries that have rational spelling systems is diagnosed at a fraction of the rate it is in the English speaking world. We have never repaired our spellings, unlike other self-respecting languages which have updated their spellings regularly. And so we have illiteracy rates of 23+%.

Germany's? about 12% and Finland's? under 5%.

The more obscure your writing system the longer it takes to learn and more people fail and drop out of school.

If you are interested you could check out: