« on: May 24, 2012, 05:35:14 pm »
I'd say it's the exact opposite. Well, it depends on your definition of "to learn" and "to master", really. At least for Germans (being in the same language family) it's usually very easy to acquire basic English skills, but bringing your proficiency up to the level of a native speaker is really hard.Quite possibly true.
I concur with English spelling being pretty random. While of course it's not really random, it just got this way over time. As French was mentioned earlier: In French, if you see an unknown word, in probably 99% (or even more) of the cases you know how to pronounce it, because its spelling is very systematic. With English, on the other hand, you NEVER know (especially if you're a non-native speaker like me). Some time ago, I read the word "facetious" (yes, here on RHDN; it's actually a pretty good place too learn new vocabulary and couldn't even imagine how it would be pronounced. Like a combination of "face" and the "cious" in "precious"? No, it's fəˈsiːʃəs. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
By the way, in Germany everbody pronounces it "mah-nah" (with the As sounding a bit like in "car").
As for pronunciation, it's not completely random, obviously, but it's random enough to cause fits unless you live and breathe it. But most of the time, using basic phonics works. Except for when it doesn't.
"Facetious" is certainly one of the fun ones. At least the "tious" makes sense. But... oh, that explains it. We cribbed it from the French.