How Did English Spelling Get So Weird?

We all know about the ridiculous varying pronunciations of cough, tough, bough, through, and though, which are all spelled alike but cannot be made to rhyme successfully. It’s just one of the many ways that English is thoroughly weird, and very hard to master if it’s not a language you learned in early childhood. How did English spelling get this way? To begin with, English is a mishmash of other languages, constantly changing over the centuries. Ever tried to read something in Old English? When the spoken language began to be a printed language, there was no authority over spelling, like a bureau of language standards. Words were spelled whatever way the printer wanted, usually to give some idea of how they were pronounced. But pronunciation changes over time and place, and the printed word, for the most part, stays the same. That’s why we can still read Shakespeare, but we are probably not using the same word pronunciation. -via Laughing Squid

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Source: neatorama

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