Here are some pairs of words found on the Y13 English Language group’s latest homework sheet:
What sorts of conclusions can you draw from the pronunciation variations between each pair of related words? How might the Great Vowel Shift help to explain this?
What about other apparent ‘anomalies’ in English spelling & pronunciation?
How would you respond to George Bernard Shaw’s complaint that in English, ‘fish’ could be spelled ‘ghoti’ (the ‘gh’ as in ‘rough’, the ‘o’ as in ‘women’ and the ‘ti’ as in ‘nation’?
And what about the peculiarities contained in these poems about English spelling? Are they all as absurd as spelling reformists suggest? Even where to modern ears and eyes they may seem absurd, what historical reasons can you identify for them?
And what do you think of the idea of spelling reform? What are the pros and cons? What are the likely chances of success?
I look forward to reading your thoughts . Over to you…