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Differences between spoken and written English

Differences between spoken and written English



As with most languages, written language tends to use a more formal register than spoken language. The acquisition of literacy takes significant effort in English.

Spelling and pronunciation:



probably the biggest difficulty for non-native speakers, since the relation between English spelling and pronunciation does not follow the alphabetic principle consistently. Because of the many changes in pronunciation which have occurred since a written standard developed, the retention of many historical idiosyncrasies in spelling, and the large influx of foreign words (mainly from Danish, Norman French, Classical Latin and Greek) with different and overlapping spelling patterns,

English spelling and pronunciation are difficult even for native speakers to master. This difficulty is shown in such activities as spelling bees that generally require the memorization of words. The generalizations that exist are quite complex and there are many exceptions, leading to a considerable amount of rote learning. The spelling and pronunciation system causes problems in both directions: a learner may know a word by sound but be unable to write it correctly (or indeed find it in a dictionary) or they may see a word written but not know how to pronounce it or mislearn the pronunciation. However, despite the variety of spelling patterns in English, there are dozens of rules that are 75% or more reliable.[12] For further discussion of English spelling patterns and rules.

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