English is stupid

I’m a professional writer, editor and organizer of words and ideas. I love grammar, syntax and the structure of words.

So when I tell you that English is stupid, I know whereof I speak.

I don’t mean there’s not a reason why things are the way they are. We can spend pointless hours on etymology and learn a lot about our language’s history. And then end result is a hodgepodge…it’s all stupid.

I’ve been reminded about how dumb all these things are because my son, 5 1/2, is on the verge of really, seriously, honest-to-God reading. And bless his heart, he’s worked hard, and he knows the rules — but not yet the exceptions. So he sees
know
and he sounds out, “kuh-now.”
and
through
and he stops dead cold.
Or how about any word with silent E? Do you know how many silent Es there are at the end of words in kindergarten readers?
And any word with C. Here’s a letter whose only job is to sound like two other letters. Kinda like X. Except that sounds like maybe 3 other letters. Or is that K that sounds like X?

The information architect in me hates all this. Information architects like things to be neat. Organized. Buttoned up. And most of all, easy for the audience. English is not easy for anyone. Those of us who are native speakers often aren’t able to keep all the rules in our heads. [Note: There is the obnoxious side of me, which LOVES all the arcane rules and spellings, because I happen to be good at remembering most of them. The more rational part of me thinks that the arcaneness prevents us from communicating as well as we could.]

R u with me? Let’s considur fonetik speling and rulz that don’t have silee xsepshuns. It wood sure help my sun.

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