Tuesday, September 22, 2009

English lessons:

Sometimes students complain about the complexities of Spanish pronunciation. Personally, I think that it is pretty straightforward. To compare, let me give an example from English. Maybe the few hipanohablantes that read this blog can comment on this.

"OUGH"--Five words, five different pronunciations:

Cough (like off)
Tough (like buff)
Though (like toe)
Through (like dew)
Bough (like pow)

Related lesson: "GH"

Ghost [g]
Ought -silent- (and for the record, the vowel sound here... same as "cough". I vote that we just scrap the alphabet, adopt the IPA, and then send all adults, myself included, back to kindergarten to learn it.)
Laugh [f]

Can we agree that Spanish is at least a little more straightforward than English?


  1. Cough (like off)
    Where are you from? ha ha!

  2. Hahahaha... Sorry, I was just thinking of the vowel sounds - in which case 'hot' and 'off' are the same. It is true that some of the OUGH words have an F sound at the end while others don't but I was not thinking about anything but the vowels. Sorry if that threw you.
    But here is a question - between the words 'of' and 'off' what is it that changes? Is there a rule for that sort of change? I don't think that English would be so easy to learn as an adult.

  3. This is getting even more interesting because I wasn't talking about the F sound. When I isolate the OU sound in COUGH it has the same sound as the O in OFF. But COUGH does not sound like the O in your HOT. The O in my HOT sounds more like the Spanish A. ha ha
    I do, however, agree that English pronunciation and spelling would be difficult to learn as an adult. And I know nothing of a rule for your OF/OFF question.

  4. Cough and off rhyme for me too ... but that's probably because we're related.

    I've heard that English is actually one of the more difficult languages to master--partly because there are no consistent rules.