ENGLISH LANGUAGE - Queries, Quirks and Quandries

SifuPhil

Resident Nutcase
Never heard anyone pronounce the word like that Seabreeze and I've been on this earth a long time.

Hey, you're not too far from me here in PA, and the local Wilkes-Barrians seem to mostly pronounce it that way. Of course, we're talking generations of coal miners and dress factory workers ... not to disparage those fields, but there weren't exactly high educational standards for the jobs. I notice the younger generations don't have the same speech patterns as do the seniors here.
 

SeaBreeze

Endlessly Groovin'
Location
USA
Weird

I always remembered the rule I learned as a young child, "i before e, except after c, or when sounded like a, as in neighbor and weigh"....but words like weird always threw me off until it was clear that this rule was not hard set. Confusing to kids learning English as their first language, must be very confusing to those who are trying to learn English as their second language. :saywhat: https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/i-before-e-except-after-c

I Before E Except After C

The famous rhyme is wrong. Here's why.




One question we get asked a lot is why so many English words don't follow the "i before e" rule: i before e except after c. Well, the English language can be inconsistent. This is what makes English such a vibrant and expressive language, but it can also make it a nightmare to learn. We've been influenced by languages with such different spelling paradigms that we don't have tidy orthography.





That look you give your teacher when she explains all of the exceptions to the 'I Before E' rule.




This bothered grammarians, so they tried to create rules to make English tidier and easier to learn. I before e is one of those rules. Unfortunately, it was created after most of the 'ie' words were. Oops.
Smart people tried to adapt the rule to actually follow English spelling. That's where we got this variant:


i before e except after c
or when sounded as 'a' as in neighbor and weigh



Nice try, but it's still full of exceptions. To make the above jingle accurate, it'd need to be something like:


I before e, except after c
Or when sounded as 'a' as in 'neighbor' and 'weigh'
Unless the 'c' is part of a 'sh' sound as in 'glacier'
Or it appears in comparatives and superlatives like 'fancier'

And also except when the vowels are sounded as 'e' as in 'seize'
Or 'i' as in 'height'
Or also in '-ing' inflections ending in '-e' as in 'cueing'
Or in compound words as in 'albeit'
Or occasionally in technical words with strong etymological links to their parent languages as in 'cuneiform'
Or in other numerous and random exceptions such as 'science', 'forfeit', and 'weird'.



And that doesn't even rhyme.

 

oslooskar

New Member
Location
Thailand
I've always thought it fair that the spelling of English as a language is the preserve of the people who invented it, and allow them to set the rules.
Just sayin'.
On the contrary, the spelling of any language that uses an alphabet is the preserve of those who invented Alphabetic writing. They made the rules ------which, needless to say, English spelling today is in violation of. In fact, this is why it takes children in the English-speaking world an extra two years to be reading at the same level as their peers in Finland, where the written language, orthography, is an exact representation of the spoken language.
 

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