Spelling gives clues to language origins, so to spell English words it can help to know Latin, French, German, Flemish, Scandinavian languages and classical Greek among others. Language origin is one of the main arguments against spelling reform as is the fact that there is no agreed authority to determine spelling which depends therefore on accepted practice and usage. I think the efforts of the English Spelling Society to simplify the way English is spelt are unlikely to succeed. However would it be possible to get the whole UK to agree, and - even harder - the entire English speaking world? I like the way language (including spelling and pronunciation) evolves dynamically.
Enough of the serious stuff - now for some fun. 'Potato' is one of the easier words to spell in English now that most people have dropped the 'e' on the end, except in the plural potatoes. It would be possible but confusing to change its spelling to
'GHOUGHPHTHEIGHTTEEAU'Here's how that works:
GH is pronounce P as in HiccoughSo, why not spell 'POTATO' as 'GHOUGHPHTHEIGHTTEEAU'?
OUGH is pronounced O as in DOUGH
PHTH is pronounce T as in PHTHISIS
EIGH is pronounced A as in EIGHT
TTE is pronounced T as in GAZETTE
EAU is pronounced O as in PLATEAU
(Not a good idea - that would get away from its 16th century origin in the Spanish 'patata'.)
Now you've found a different way to spell potato, try something similar for FISH. Can't be bothered? Here's one alternative spelling:
'GHOTI'Here's how that works;
GH as in TOUGHO as in WOMENTI as in NATION
Finally for some more fun. Listen to this 102 year old challenging the way English is spelt. enjoy!
For a previous post on this topic see How to Spell
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