What Would English Sound Like If Its Rules Were Consistent?
By Emily Petsko
The English language isn’t always logical. Take the following words: wound, bow, produce, present, tear, and wind. Their pronunciation depends entirely on whether they’re used as a verb or a noun. By some estimates, about a quarter of all English words fail to follow the standard spelling and pronunciation rules taught in schools.
So what would English sound like if its rules were phonetically consistent? That was the question posed recently by Aaron Alon, a composer, writer, and filmmaker whose video on the subject went viral.
As an example of English’s rogue rules, he uses the following sentence: “Though I coughed roughly and hiccoughed throughout the lecture, I still thought I could plough through the rest of it.” Although ough appears eight times in this sentence, it’s pronounced differently each time.
In what surely required a great deal of practice, Alon then proceeded to narrate the video using only one of the possible pronunciations for each vowel (for example, he pronounces the letter a as ah each time, and the letter e as ee). The result is something that sounds like a cross between Irish, German, Italian, and something else entirely.
“Some of them left me laughing repeatedly,” Alon said in the comments, noting that the shoot required multiple takes. Check out his video below, and see if you can get through it without laughing.