furrykef wrote:Tough, though, through, thought, trough, thorough...
If there is not going to be any kind of reform, in a hundred years or so English spelling and pronunciation will be so divorced from each other that the writing system will start functioning like Kanji in Japanese and Chinese. Only the morphemes ('English kanji') won't be put in little squares, but rather be strung out a bit more. It is already true for many words that you can only very partially predict their spelling from the pronunciation, or their pronunciation from the spelling, as Furrykef and Sairana illustrated.
We can even think of ways to split words up in parts that (sort of) indicate the pronunciation, and parts that indicate the meaning of certain English 'kanji'. For 'to', 'two' and 'too', the parts that indicate pronunciation are the 't' and the 'o', which, without any additions means 'towards', with an infixed 'w' (the part that indicates the meaning) it means 'the number 2', and with an extra infixed (or suffixed, however you want to look at it) 'o', the meaning changes to 'also'.
For 'laughter' and 'slaughter' you would have to know that the 'augh' bit can be pronounced in several different ways, depending on the English kanji in which it is found. A bit like the way in which 寺 in 詩 denotes the pronunciation 'shi', while in 時 it is 'ji'.