Phil for Humanity Phil for Humanity
A Guide for the Survival of Humankind and Helping the World, Society, and Yourself.

Words with Silent Letters

Do you know what really bugs me? For some reason, words with silent letters have always bothered me.

For example, consider these words: know, aisle, design, island, knight, solemn, pneumonia, school, dough, wrist, naughty, and salmon. All of these words have at least one letter that is not typically pronounced, and these words are just a small subset of words with silent letters in them.

Some words are even worse, consider this word: colonel. Not only are some letters not pronounced, but letters that are not even there are pronounced.

Even foreign languages, especially French, are guilty of this needless complexity and confusion. I know there must be some historical reason why the words are spelled and pronounced the way that they are, but that does not meant that bad traditions must continue to survive. Especially if they are no longer logical.

Unfortunately, there is very little that anyone can do, because there is no centralized group of people who can arbitrarily changes the English language for everyone. However, the only thing that we can do is make changes in the way that we talk and write in hopes that it catches on. For example, I intentionally pronounce the letter l in salmon to annoy people and to sound more sophisticated. I even pronounce colonel the correct or French way.

I can only hope that these two minor changes to the English language make sense to you, and you help perpetuate these minor changes in your everyday life.

by Phil for Humanity
on 06/06/2010

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