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Poles! How do you cope with English phonetics versus English spelling?


osiol 55 | 3,922  
11 Feb 2009 /  #1
Few languages have as unreliable a system of spelling as English. French looks pretty crazy, and Irish Gaelic when I hear it, seems to bear little relation to how it is written.

Just wondering how you all cope. It's possible to learn to write in English but with wildly inaccurate pronunciation, or to speak English well but with very bad spelling, or any combination of those things.

I'm all ears.
Marek 4 | 867  
11 Feb 2009 /  #2
How? With difficulty, |'d imagine. No language is entirely logical, i.e. compeltely phonetic, whereby phonemes and graphemes are always in synch. However, English must be an orthographic nightmare for Poles (and others), since the lack of harmonization in the latter areas is tremendous.
niejestemcapita 2 | 561  
11 Feb 2009 /  #3
the phonetic or should that be phonemic ...I dunno.... alphabet is really useful for teaching and learning English and not too hard to learn at all,,,you're right english spelling is a mess.:)
JustysiaS 13 | 2,240  
11 Feb 2009 /  #4
It's possible to learn to write in English but with wildly inaccurate pronunciation

that's the tougher way if you want to learn to speak conversational English fast, it will take you longer to learn the pronounciation and speech if all you know is the text book. apart from a few exceptions such as choir or quiche etc., there are a few simple rules to follow in order to get to know how to say things in English. now the accent is another thing...

speak English well but with very bad spelling

that would be a big part of British population ha ha :D, yeah this is very common, especially writing down things in English the way they sound in Polish, such as aj lajk or gud etc., not saying that bad for everybody, just so you have an idea. people learn English cos it's everywhere, tv, songs, you can hear it all the time and that's how you pick it up. if you lived in UK for some time with no English skills you will pick things up from conversations or the media, but grammar and spelling is essential, just to understand the language and how it works instead of learning it by hard and limiting your vocabulary only to things you overheard.

of course the combinations of the above are there as well, depends on the level of spelling and pronounciation. my spelling is on a much higher level than my pronounciation, i speak clearly but i often say things not quite right or if i'm in a hurry i get the tenses wrong. but i realise i made a mistake straight away once i've done it lol.
Matyjasz 2 | 1,544  
11 Feb 2009 /  #5
Just wondering how you all cope.

The same as with polish spelling of the words that have u/ó, h/ch, rz/ż, ect, namely by memorization plus hunch of intuition. Of course, mistakes and misunderstandings are inevitable. Once I asked a passerby whether she knows where is the nearest LIDL market...

Little market? - she said... Damn you English spelling!
Marek 4 | 867  
11 Feb 2009 /  #6
I almost forgot the pluracentricity of English compared with Polish! English is spoken in at least seven or more countries as a native language (forget about where it's almost a langua franca, such as in most of Africa and Southeast Asia): UK, US, Canada, Malta, Falkland Islands, etc....

The sheer variety of pronounciation within the US, Canada and Britain alone is staggering for Poles, Hungarians etc. whose language group is comparatively centralized in contrast with English.

I don't envy foreigners learning English! LOL
bilomnic - | 4  
12 Feb 2009 /  #7
Romalda Spalding created a terrific reading/spelling approach for children in the mid-fifties. Her system of breaking down the english language into 72 phonograms and 29 spelling rules is sheer genius. This approach should be taught in every school in North America. I have included an article that discusses Spalding's approach, as well as summarizing her 29 rules of spelling enjoy:

Spelling: A Lost Art
by Linda Schrock Taylor

lewrockwell.com/taylor/taylor79.html

Linda Schrock Taylor [send her mail] is a free-lance writer and the owner of "The Learning Clinic," where real reading, and real math, are taught effectively and efficiently.
Bartolome 2 | 1,085  
12 Feb 2009 /  #8
Malta

That's not true. Their native language is Maltese.
McCoy 27 | 1,275  
12 Feb 2009 /  #9
that is half true. they use english as a second official language.
Bartolome 2 | 1,085  
12 Feb 2009 /  #10
There's no half-truths. One of their official language is English, that's true, but their native lingo is Maltese (btw. the only Semitic language written in Latin alphabet). Just ask for anything in English to an average Maltese in the street to find out.
mafketis 24 | 8,751  
12 Feb 2009 /  #11
Both English and Maltese have official status in Malta. And the Maltese negotiated EU recognition of Maltese upon ascension to the EU.

It might be accurate to say that in Malta English is the language of money and Maltese is the language of home and heart.
OP osiol 55 | 3,922  
12 Feb 2009 /  #12
So the answer is really just to muddle through?

Dog: Wough
Cat: Meough
Pig: Ough
Owl: Twit-twough
McCoy 27 | 1,275  
12 Feb 2009 /  #13
There's no half-truths.

after short consideration i would say that this is also half-truth

Just ask for anything in English to an average Maltese in the street to find out.

i surely will
kitkat1963 - | 17  
12 Feb 2009 /  #14
A bit of advice from any Polish friends would be appreciated here. I have volunteered myself to attend a small and quite new club in the town where I work, the aim of this club is to bring together both Polish immigrants and English locals with the aim of helping our Polish cousins to better their English, and to assist them with day to day things that us Brits take for granted, like signing on with a doctor, a trip to hospital or filling up with petrol etc. Has anyone got any basic tips to be of help to them without sounding too patronising?I really don't want to appear as if I am trying to help a 3 year old with potty training, do I?

Thanks. Neil.
Marek 4 | 867  
13 Feb 2009 /  #15
Rather than talk 'down', try talking 'up to them instead-:):) Challenge even the most recalcitrant with new, "A-levels" vocab. which forces them to locate the word, then try using the same word in a similar followed by a different context. This will throw them slightly off guard, thereby forcing them to pay closer attention next time to what the partner is saying.

The latter worked for me when I was learning Polish. LOL
Bartolome 2 | 1,085  
13 Feb 2009 /  #16
after short consideration i would say that this is also half-truth

Tis' no true, matey.
Polson 5 | 1,771  
13 Feb 2009 /  #17
Just wondering how you all cope. It's possible to learn to write in English but with wildly inaccurate pronunciation, or to speak English well but with very bad spelling, or any combination of those things.

English is a very easy language, but it has one difficulty, its pronunciation ;)
It may take several years to 'master' the language, especially its pronunciation.

As to French, i agree, there's a real difference between the way you write and the way you spell it, but on the whole, i think English is 'worse' ;)
OP osiol 55 | 3,922  
13 Feb 2009 /  #18
As to French, i agree, there's a real difference between the way you write and the way you spell it, but on the whole, i think English is 'worse' ;)

I think I agree about English being worse than French. At least with French, you can generally just discard any consonants at the end of a word (sometimes more letters than you actually keep) and take it from there and it's not too bad.

English has too many vowels. It's one thing that I think Polish could do with more of rather than less.
Marek 4 | 867  
13 Feb 2009 /  #19
'English has too many vowels.'

Sorry Osioł, but you've reminded me of the old linguists' quip about Finnland and Hungary. Years ago, so the joke goes, both countries agreed that Finnland with all it's vowels desparately needed some consonants, so richly represented by Hungarian. And so the two nations arranged a swap or transfer, whereby Hungary would "lend" Finnland some much needed vowels to enrich its consonant-poor tongue.--:) :) LOL
pawian 173 | 12,797  
13 Feb 2009 /  #20
Just wondering how you all cope. It's possible to learn to write in English but with wildly inaccurate pronunciation, or to speak English well but with very bad spelling, or any combination of those things.

I'm all ears.

I have no problems with spelling or pronunciation in general.

The problem is with exact native-like pronunciation of English sounds. When I speak like a native speaker for too long, and I am trying to do my best, gradually my mouth, tongue and all muscles around them get very fatigued. They become so stiff that I am forced to speak like a normal person again.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
13 Feb 2009 /  #21
Being a teacher really opens my eyes to how awkward phonetics can be when placed alongside the spelling.

Many students find problems.
Wyspianska  
13 Feb 2009 /  #22
Learning any foreign language you need to do a bit of all four: listening, reading, speaking and writting. If you concantrate on one of them too much, you will skip the rest.
Marek 4 | 867  
13 Feb 2009 /  #23
Pawian, curiously the same happens when I try to speak with as close to a native Polish accent as possible. --:):):) LOL
kitkat1963 - | 17  
13 Feb 2009 /  #24
Bartolome:
Just ask for anything in English to an average Maltese in the street to find out.

i surely will

I have been to the beautiful island of Malta many times, and have had many instances where I walk into a busy shop, ask for something from the shop assistant, upon hearing my language, the other customers in the shop started to converse in English. Yes, this really happened!
pawian 173 | 12,797  
13 Feb 2009 /  #25
Pawian, curiously the same happens when I try to speak with as close to a native Polish accent as possible. --:):):) LOL

I don`t know about you but I started learning professional English pronunciation at the university, when my vocal apparatus was already fully developed and intoxicated by many years of Polish speech. I was too old.

And I am too old to change for better. :(:(
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
13 Feb 2009 /  #26
Och, I'm sure you do the profession proud, Pawian.

You know, some words you just have to learn and know the pronunciation of. There is no sure-fire way of working out the pronunciation of some word sets.

OUGH, please phonetically write the pron in English.
mafketis 24 | 8,751  
13 Feb 2009 /  #27
the other customers in the shop started to converse in English.

A common occurence in many bilingual situations. It's not clear whether the intent is to make a monolingual (from their point of view) comfortable, pure force of habit or underlining your role as an outsider.

I'd like to go to Malta, but hearing them speak English would just be depressing since Maltese is such an interesting language.
pawian 173 | 12,797  
13 Feb 2009 /  #28
Och, I'm sure you do the profession proud, Pawian.

Always.

You know, some words you just have to learn and know the pronunciation of.

I know the pronunciation, most of it, at least. But that`s theory, and there is still practice which is my weak point, precisely my apparatus is unable to utter English sounds as close to original as possible for a longer time.

OUGH, please phonetically write the pron in English.

???
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
13 Feb 2009 /  #29
I think there are 5 sounds here Pawian:

Dough (OH)

Trough (OFF)

Enough (UFF)

Plough (OW)

Borough (O

My friend told me a couple of years ago that there were 7 but I'll be damned if I can remember the other 2.
OP osiol 55 | 3,922  
13 Feb 2009 /  #30
Seanus:
Through (OO)
Ought (AW)

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