Proof that English spelling is an evil trap

My latest article for The Week looks at 10 words that are further evidence of the malicious character of English spelling. They look like they should be easy to pronounce, and many of us pronounce them as they look… but they’re really supposed to be pronounced quite differently:

10 words we’ve forgotten how to pronounce


7 responses to “Proof that English spelling is an evil trap

  1. “Worcester” may be “Wister” in MASS., but in England it is “Woosta” with a first syllable that rhymes with “puss” (and Bertie Wooster’s surname was, apparently, meant to be a homonym). Otherwise — a great article!

  2. totally learned something new 🙂

  3. Reblogged this on machwani and commented:
    english is really a tough language for the natives of tanzania

  4. Reblogged this on Smriti "Simmi" D. Isaac and commented:
    An evil trap, indeed!

  5. I believe that’s the beauty of the language though. It definitely shows us how the world now operates post structuralism

  6. Daniel Lewenstein

    You wrote: The “forrid” version is in fact still the first pronunciation given in the Oxford English Dictionary, and in Merriam-Webster and Collins too.

    In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, at least, position has no relevance. From the Explanatory Notes in my 50-year-old edition: A second-place variant is not to be regarded as per se a less desirable variant than the one given first.

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