Strange Spelling and Pronunciation Items - Page 8
Silent Letters American English has many silent letters, mostly because we borrow words from many other languages and at times follow their rules although other times we do not.
  1. Why guess gets pronounced as gess can make you to wonder why there is a U.
  2. In sword and two, the W is silent. In isle, and island the S is silent. In aisle both the A and S are silent.
  3. Other examples of silent letters are in mortgage where the T is silent and the P in pneumonia. Also the L in salmon is silent. In isthmus the TH is silent, fortunately it is the only combination of ISTH.
Other oddities
  1. One gets pronounced as won, two gets pronounced as to or too with the W being silent.
  2. We changed the OU to O in colour to make color, favour to make favor, but left it in for four. Of course to make more inconsistent we took out the U in forty but left it in fourteen. How do you like fourteen forty-four?
  3. Two weird pronunciations are lettuce. It gets pronounced as "let-us", and exempt as "ig-zempt".
Words that Rhyme and Some that Do Not
  1. Some oddities of rhymes are root pronounced the same as route.
  2. Coal rhymes with sole and soul, pour with poor and pore, and soar with sore. But pour does not rhyme with sour, your or dour.
  3. The word your does not rhyme with pour, hour, dour but does rhyme with fur.
  4. However sour rhymes with power and hour. Boor, bore and boar all are pronounced the same.
  5. I'll, aisle, and isle all get pronounced the same. Right, write, rite and wright (as in shipwright, wheelwright) all are pronounced the same. We're gets pronounced the same as weir, beer as bier, seer as sear, and peal as peel, we as wee and whee.