What If English Words Were Phonetically Consistent?

What If English Words Were Phonetically Consistent?

English is a funny old language. There’s a distinct lack of consistency between sounds, particularly when you look at words as they’re written down. This can trip up anyone so what would happen if we approached English as a phonetically consistent language?

Composer and writer Aaron Alon tackled this tricky proposition in a short video.

The video starts with a sample sentence: “Though I coughed roughly and hiccoughed throughout the lecture, I still thought I could plough through the rest of it.” Eight different instances of the ‘ough’ letter combination, eight different sounds to pronounce them. It’s no wonder English can trip people up.

So Alon suggests using a single pronounciation for the letter ‘a’ then adopts it.

As each example of phonetic consistency is adopted over the course of the video, Alon’s speech turns from everyday English to a garbled mess that sounds like a computer trying to imitate the Swedish Chef.



  • That is the wrong way round, you need too keep the sounds (to keep the language) but adapt the letters/letter combinations to consistently represent each sound, like George Bernard Shaw did. So the phrased above would start something like “ So I coffed ruffly… etc

    • This^.

      We need to spell things the way we pronounce them instead of trying to pronounce them the way we spell them.
      There are a few letters we could assign new roles, ‘c’ could make a ‘ch’ sound (since k and s ought to have it otherwise covered), maybe ‘x’ for an ‘sh’ sound since it’s mostly ‘ks’ or ‘z’ sounds, etc.

    • Even so, you can have words spelled the same, but pronounced differently: compare polish and Polish.

      We need to sort out vowels as well as consonants.

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