Wednesday, January 28, 2015

There, They’re, Their

My husband and I were having a discussion the other day when he was trying to spell a word with a silent letter in it. We actually have this discussion every time he comes across a word with a silent letter, or the case of homonyms: there/they’re/their; see/sea.

He started his life speaking Dutch and didn’t start learning English until he entered first grade, at which time all his report cards requested English be spoken at home. His biggest complaint is the English language has silent letters and words that sound the same but are spelled different and mean different things. He contends, in Dutch, the word is spelled exactly as it is said and there aren’t words that are said the same but spelled differently.

He asks every time he comes across these spelling dilemmas why can’t all languages be as simple as the Dutch.

Myself, I think English makes sense. But then I didn't start out speaking a different language. You learn how to spell the word as you would use it.

There is a hair in my food.
They’re talking about it in the kitchen.
Do you think their boss will give me a break on the bill?

Using the different forms of a word makes sense to me. But I spend my days reading and writing the English language and have always loved the quirkiness of it. There are times when I have to repeat the saying. “I before E except after C.” And then there is the exception- friend. And for every rule in spelling there is the exception.

Since I’ve not studied the Dutch language, I’m not sure if his notions are true or not, but I know a lot of youngsters in school who probably wish the same thing.

Are there other languages that the words are spelled exactly as they sound?

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