Like its pronunciation, its spelling is inconsistent.
Here's a few examples, but these are only the tip of the iceberg:
- There are some rules but these only work for some words, for example the 'i' before 'e' except after 'c' rule only applies to 11 words.
- Different sounds can be represented by the same letter or combination, for example 'ough' is pronounced at least 6 different ways, try 'cough', 'enough', 'nought', 'plough', borough', 'through'.
- Many English words are homophones i.e. some words sound the same but have different meanings differentiated by the spelling, e.g. 'tea'/'tee', 'gait'/'gate', 'made'/'made'.
- There are also many silent letters. For example: the 'k' is not pronounced in 'knee' or 'knight, the 'e' isn't pronounced in 'imagine'.
- The commonest letter in English is 'e' and appears in the most inconsistencies. It can be used to change the way a previous vowel is pronounced, as in 'car' or 'care', 'mad' or 'made'.
- Spelling and pronunciation of place names in the UK is a nightmare, even for those who have English as a first language. You have to learn each one individually, but if you ask the locals they may not agree - even between themselves.
- UK English spelling is often different from US English spelling.
All this is a long-winded way to introduce this humorous spelling lesson ably given in less than 2 minutes by a man of 102 years.