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Lecture 14: Problems Arising from Spelling
e are told that Korean is a scientific language, and that it is spoken exactly as it is written, but is pronounced as if it were spelled . All written languages have such problems. There are three major causes of the problems EFL students, and even American middle school students, have with English spelling. The first is that the schwa, the most common English vowel, doesn't have a letter to represent it. But English can hardly have a letter to represent the schwa, because that would mean that the spelling of photograph /fo t grf/ and photography /f ta grf i/ would be very different.
The second major cause of spelling problems is that English uses the alphabet of ancient Rome, which doesn't represent some English sounds very well. Korea is lucky to have a wonderful alphabet designed just for Korean sounds. The third major problem involving English spelling is that writing in the English alphabet began long ago, over twice as long ago as writing in the Korean alphabet. Pronunciations in English have had a long time to drift away from spellings.