Talk:Phonemic orthography

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True alphabets[edit]

Georgian language claims that there are 14 true alphabets. Anyone know what they are?

Sounds like a nonsense claim to me... Morwen 23:03, 25 Nov 2003 (UTC)

International Phonetic Alphabet[edit]

How can International Phonetic Alphabet be used as an example of a phonemic alphabet? Don't you see the phonemic x phonetic conflict mentioned later in the article?

You can do this by using IPA characters in order to write the phonemes of the language. Roman orthography is practically useless for a lot of languages, and the IPA is a good starting point for a phonemic orthography. Sure, it's primarily a phonetic alphabet, but that doesn't mean it can't be used as a phonemic alphabet by omitting some features. thefamouseccles
Quite. The requirements of a phonemic orthography are basically a subset of those for a phonetic orthography . -- Q Chris (talk) 15:07, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Rename to: phonemic and phonetic orthography[edit]

The article seems to talk equally much on both topics (phonemic and phonetic orthographies). Perhaps rename (and restructure) it to cover both notions?--Imz 06:41, 22 November 2005 (UTC)


How can Interlingua be considered phonemic when the sound [f] can be spelled "f" or "ph", the sound [r] "r" or "rh", the sound [t] "t" or "th", the "c" can be read [k] or [ts], the "ch" can be read [k] or [ʃ], the [k] can be spelled "c", "q" or "ch", the "g" can be read [g] or [ʒ], the "j" can be read [ʒ] or [j], the [ts] can be spelled "c" or "t", the "w" can be read [w] or [v]?

That characterization of Interlingua is highly misleading. It includes pronunciations that occur only in foreign words ("w" as [w] or [v]), pronunciations that are not generally accepted ("j" as [j]), and repeats one complaint three time in different variations ("ch" as [k] or [ʃ], [k] as "c", "q" or "ch", [ts] as "c" or "t"). Interlingua has a few exceptions to phonemicity, but so does Finnish, which is listed as having good phonemic correspondence.
Here is a more accurate representation of Interlingua's letters and sounds. There are also the digraphs ph, th, and rh, but they have one sound as well.
a one sound
b one sound
c two sounds
d one sound
e one sound
f one sound
g two sounds
h one sound
i basically one sound, can be a semi-consonant
j one sound
k one sound
l one sound
m one sound
n one sound
o one sound
p one sound
q one sound
r one sound
s basically one sound
t marginally two sounds
u basically one sound, can be a semi-consonant
v one sound
w rare
x basically one sound
y one sound
z one sound
I listed Interlingua as having "a good grapheme-to-phoneme correspondence", not as being phonemic. 05:41, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
You realize of course that you have weakened the definition of phonemic orthography to make it just mean predictable pronunciation based on spelling without also implying the opposite. Now one can claim that French has a phonemic orthography, which I don't think is the intention. -- Dissident (Talk) 01:33, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
I think there are different terms for languages where there is a predictable pronunciation based on spelling (e.g. French) and languages where there is a predictable spelling based on sound (I believe Arabic is like this). I can't remember what they are though. Does anyone know? -- Q Chris 08:13, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
I removed Interlingua, it is a bad example of phonemic orthography.Cameron Nedland 21:06, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

cot/caught merger[edit]

For an example of the difficulty in creating a phonemic alphabet for English, the cot/caught merger is probably a better example. Bad/lad split seems to affect less than 10 words, but the caught/cot merger affects a huge chunk of the English language, and is also a lot more recognizable to language enthusiasts. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:53, 14 October 2007 (UTC)


I don't feel confident enough to edit the article directly without discussion, but as a native Spanish speaker (from Spain, not Latin-America) I'm under the impression that Spanish has more than a good "grapheme-to-phoneme" correspondence, and yet it's not included in the list, which is pretty stricking to me, mostly considering other more minoritary languages, such as Basque (euskara), Finnish, Sanskrit, or even constructed languages that very little people speak at all.

I didn't edit the article myself because I can't prove Spanish would be comparable to them in "grapheme-to-phoneme" terms with more than my own experience as a native speaker, but I would like someone to tell me about this and justify, if possible, why it is not included as I believe it should be.

Yeah, I think it has a pretty good correspondance too. The only reason I would think that it didn't would be because of silent h, the variation in usage of x (sometimes it's /x/, sometimes it's /ks/), and the letters c and z which both represent the same thing. In yeismo dialects ll and y also cover the same phonemic territory and seseo dialects merge the sound of c/z with s.
The neat thing about Spanish is that when you see a word spelled, you know exactly how it's pronounced. It's a little different the other way around--that is, when you hear it you may not spell it correctly-- but instances of the latter are not very common. If Spanish doesn't fit into the category, this sort of thing, I think, can be put into the article. Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 18:17, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
I wouldn't consider yeismo and seseo (and ceceo in certain parts of Andalucia) real dialects but more like divergent accents. An educated person, even if he speaks with such accents, is aware of which is the correct and canonical pronunciation, which is what matters here, is it?
Of course, there are a few divergences that ARE part of the official orthography, namely:
H is mute when it's written alone and has a sound when accompained of C (CH).
C sounds like Z when in front of E and I (CE, CI) and like K when in fron of A, O and U (CA, CO, CU). Z always sounds the same, but it's not commonly used with E or I, where the use of C is the norm.
Then again, to have the sound of K with E and I, you must use QUE and QUI, and here U becomes mute. KE and KI also exist but...
K is an imported character used mostly for imported foreign words and in most cases it is considered correct to replace it with QU (like in "kilo", that can also be written "quilo", which considered more "native" to Spanish). This does not apply for purely foreing words, which are not regulated by Spanish orthography, of course xD.
The rest of the differences are due to regional accents, and while socially recognized and accepted (and, of course, studied), they are by no means CORRECT according to the canon, so I don't think they should be taken into account for this matter. But I'm not aware of the criterion that is followed, so I may well be wrong. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:40, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
While I'm not so dismissive of nonstandard dialects, your emphasis on standard pronunciation is pretty appropriate in this case, I think. I'd forgotten about c/k/qu... that makes it even less phonemic. I guess that despite Spanish's predictable spelling system, it is not really "phonemic." Heck, Irish and French have predictable spelling but they're not considered phonemic. Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 22:47, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

I guess you're right then, but still, I would like to know what makes the listed languages so much more phonemic in comparison to Castilian (the "original" Spanish, if you please xD). Apart from the listed "inconsistencies" the rest of the characters are allways pronounced the same way, regardless of anything else, with a 1:1 character-to-sound correpondence.
So, how much more phonemic are the other languages listed?
The Devanagari script was designed to represent the sounds of Sanskrit exactly. Prior to the existence of a writing system Mantras were passed on orally, with great care being taken to ensure the sound was reproduced exactly. The Devanagari script (and other Bhrami scripts) were designed to do the same. Pronunciation was scientifically studied in the [Taittiriya Upanishad], which meant that devanagri is not only a Phonemic orthography for Sanskrit, but the also the alphabetical order corresponds to the mouth shape and position of the tongue in the mouth, you can feel you tongue move forward as you produce the consonants of each class in order. Devanagari is also used for other languages such as Hindi, but it is not quite a Phonemic orthography (though it is pretty good) because of sound convergences and sounds introduced from languages other than sanskrit which do not have unique representations. -- Q Chris 07:45, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
It's interesting that Devanagari script, thanks for the info!
Anyway, I just remembered yet another Spanish orthographic rule that concerns character R, which has two sounds, one being like Japanese's RA RI RU RE RO, which is "soft", and another stronger sound.
-When writen at the start of the word it has the "strong" sound, allways.
-And "soft" when written in the middle of a word, except when preceded by N.
-Then again, if you need to achieve the "strong" sound in the middle of a word, you need to use the digraph "RR".
I feel rather stupid for having forgotten this one xD. Now, definitelly, there are no more.
Of course this makes Spanish haven an even less phonetic orthography. When I started this I was focused on the aspect that vowels never change their sounds or combine to create new ones (except for the use of QU), and apparently forgot a few other aspects that mainly concern some consonants. Ah well... It's all clear now.

Wrong example[edit]

Phonemicity may be preserved either by nativizing the loanword's pronunciation (for example, ski is pronounced [ski] in Italian, rather than [ʃi] as in the original Norwegian word)

This example is completely wrong, the word is pronounced [ʃi] in Italian, and for this reason it has seen its spelling changed from ski ("k" isn't used in Italian anyway) to sci ("sc" is how we usually spell the sound [ʃ]). Lupo Azzurro (talk) 16:21, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

The English pronunciation is the result of spelling pronunciation, so it doesn't illustrate the point. I believe there's a better example mentioned at Russian phonology:
"шофёр (from French chauffeur) was pronounced [ʂoˈfɛr] in the early twentieth century but is now pronounced [ʂɐˈfʲor]."
I'll change the article accordingly. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 19:30, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but I'm not a big fan of your fascism example. <sc> is [ʃ] in a number of English words, notably a bunch ending in -science and its relatives, as well as a number of Italian loanwords such as crescendo. Certainly this isn't the pronunciation one ordinarily expects for <sc>, but there are so many cases of it that I don't think this is the best example of irregular spelling. (But if we do keep this example, then [sk] should be changed to just [s], as the latter is much more common before <i>; and the wording needs to be rephrased a bit so as not to imply that fascism is an Italian word: the Italian etymon is fascismo.) —RuakhTALK 23:23, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
That's a good point. I guess we can't really make a good case for spellings from most loanwords... into English. How about fajita? — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 23:55, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I think fajita works better. :-) —RuakhTALK 01:25, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Fajita isn't really a loan word, though.. it's more like pseudospanish. It would mean "little skirt" (though I don't think that construction is ever actually used in Spanish), and was coined by English-speaking Texans in the 1960s. Named so because fajitas were made using skirt steak. Firejuggler86 (talk) 14:14, 30 June 2021 (UTC)

Hi there. I'm the one who added the original ski example, so sorry about the mistake. However, I don't like the subsequent changes. The paragraph was meant to answer the question "How does a language with a (more-or-less) phonemic orthography handle loanwords", by giving examples for each of three options:

  1. preserve the foreign spelling and the foreign pronunciation, thus compromising phonemicity of orthography by introducing "irregular" spellings
  2. preserve the foreign spelling and phonemicity, by nativizing the pronunciation
  3. preserve the foreign pronunciation and phonemicity, by nativizing the spelling


  • Using English examples misses the point, because English manifestly does not have a phonemic orthography, so the question does not arise. Any of the three options may be applied in a given case.
  • Using Russian misses the point, because spelling cannot be preserved when you're changing alphabets.
  • The Iraq example, where [q] become [k], is also a red herring: this is not a "spelling pronunciation" so much as a nearest-phoneme approximation, as with [h] for [x] in the fajita example. An interesting phenomenon, but unrelated to spelling.

Ideally we should have 3 different languages, each with a phonemic orthography, where one language tends to use strategy #1 for loanwords, one uses #2, and one #3; and then quote examples for each. If we must use English, it could be the source for the loanwords. Of course, nothing is as clearcut as this ideal, but English is so far from it that the paragraph has nothing to do with phonemic orthography and belongs instead in the loanword article.jnestorius(talk) 10:50, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

grapheme-to-phoneme correspondence[edit]

It says grapheme-to-phoneme correspondence, which is the usual when talking about the very correspondence. However, it is trully a grapheme-to-(allophone or phoneme) correspondence, isn't it? Take this example (which is from the allophone page): cat v table - those t's are different phonemes, but the same allophone. Because the everyday description is going to be this more common name grapheme-to-phoneme, I think we should keep it; but we should also link out to a separate page that defines it, or if not then at least handle the ambiguity here where it occurs. — robbiemuffin page talk 13:28, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

You've got it backwards. the cat/table example shows the same phoneme but different allophones. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 00:37, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
LOL! Yes I do have it backwards!  :) Ok, I've made a backup of this eternally confusing fact to my page... may I delete this section now? — robbiemuffin page talk 13:52, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
You mean this section in the talk page? There's no reason to delete it. Other editors may make the same mistake. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 00:27, 23 May 2008 (UTC)



Since there's been a bit of a revert war over using Korean as an example, I thought I'd throw my two bits in. Hangul is morphophonemic, not phonemic. That is, while it restricts itself to phonemic distinctions, it does not simply transcribe words according to their pronunciation, but according to their morphology. We have a bit of this in English with -s. This is pronounced either /s/, as in cats and walks, or /z/, as in dogs and goes, but in all cases it given the same spelling, conflating those two phonemes. German and Russian do the same kind of thing with final stops. For example, German Bad is pronounced /bat/; the /d/ only shows up with a following vowel, as in Baden /baden/. Turkish, on the other hand, is purely phonemic: 'to do' is spelled etmek, as it is pronounced, even though morphologically that first consonant is a dee, as can be seen in ederim 'I do'. (This is just off the top of my head. If the examples are wrong, the principle is still sound.) Hangul is like German here rather than Turkish. It used to be phonemic, but that was changed when the modern orthography was established in the 19th-20th centuries. See Hangul#Orthography. kwami (talk) 01:04, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Oh, thank you very much. You clear up the thing with the intelligible examples. --Caspian blue (talk) 01:17, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

More systematic list of languages with regular spelling[edit]

The present list of languages with "a good grapheme-to-phoneme correspondence", is a little arbitrary. I understand it just wants to give some examples, but I feel it would be nice/interesting/useful to make it more systematic. That is, I would like to make a list of languages with excellent, good, fair (etc) levels of regularity in the spelling system. Unfortunately I'm also afraid this could arise endless flame wars over which language is "best"... I'd give it a try, anyway.

Such a presentation should be based on sources, not only to adhere to our standards but also to prevent such flame wars. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 18:16, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

It would be nice to get some sources for this list. According to my feeling Dutch (my native) would fit here as well, but i have not found any source for it (i have not found any for the already listed languages either)Nicob1984 (talk) 16:51, 13 May 2010 (UTC)


Should Japanese be considered to have phonemic orthography? The Hiragana and Katakana syllabaries have a virtually 100% grapheme-to-phoneme correspondence. This of course is completely turned on its head when throwing in Kanji... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sneeka2 (talkcontribs) 11:58, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

I think so, mostly. (if you ignore kanji, like you said). I would say hiragana orthography is 99% phonemic, though (は/わ and お/を being the most notable exceptions). Firejuggler86 (talk) 14:28, 30 June 2021 (UTC)


I am a native Greek speaker and I think that modern Greek is phonemic orthography. I can't prove this against other languages, so I don't bother editing the article, but I really believe that Greek is an almost perfect example of phonemic orthography, in the sense that you can easily write the words only by hearing the language, and vise versa, just knowing the list of graphemes that correspond to phonemes. When you write the words from the sounds, you will make orthographic mistakes (because vowel phonemes have multiple orthographic realizations), but by reading the (orthographically wrong)words again, you get the same sounds. Only one minor exception I am aware of, and this is probably form degeneration of the language. I could be wrong, I am not a glossologist but I will be really surprised if modern Greek is really not phonemic orthography and why. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:28, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

You point out the problem yourself: you can't know how to write a word just from hearing it.
The classical language was better, but not perfect: there was no way to distinguish long and short a, i, or u. — kwami (talk) 13:03, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
But we do list Spanish, which also has that problem: given a written word, you can usually pronounce it correctly based on fairly general rules (with some exceptions, such as jeep, septiembre, and subrayar), but given a spoken word, you cannot consistently determine the correct spelling. —RuakhTALK 21:50, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
How so? (Leaving aside foreign loans and proper names, which will often be irregular.) — kwami (talk) 01:51, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
There are a number of letters that are homophonous in various positions, including: g/j and c/z before e or i; b/v; and, in many dialects, s/z. Also, h is silent. And a number of pairs of homophones are distinguished by one being written with a redundant accent mark, such as tu/tú, mi/mí, que/qué, cuando/cuándo, como/cómo, de/dé, and este/éste. (Actually, a few of those examples, notably cuando/cuándo and este/éste, might actually be considered cases where a single word is written with an accent in some uses and without one in other uses; but regardless, the spelling differences don't correspond to pronunciation differences.) —RuakhTALK 21:14, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, the h and redundant accent, definitely. There's also the letter x, which is not predictable. B/v are distinguished in some areas, and that was considered correct into into the 20th century. But je, ji, ze, zi are mostly found in proper names and in loans; they're no more common than k is, and k is considered a foreign letter. So it can be seen as a slightly decayed phonemic system. Greek, however, was slightly defective from the get-go. — kwami (talk) 07:10, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Wrong. Je and ji, unlike ze and zi, are found in many Spanish words: ejemplo, mujer, crujir, jinete, etc. Burzuchius (talk) 13:42, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

Expanded version[edit]

I just expanded and rewrote this article by combining the information existing on this same topic from a number of different articles. Information has been taken from:

I now intend to revise those articles by writing the appropriate sections as summaries, with a link to this article as the full exposition. Victor Yus (talk) 07:44, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

Modern orthography[edit]

The movement represented at has a phonemic orthography including gait. This modern system may stand up to the rigors that defeat traditional orthographies in phonemic representation. Opinions on this example would be appreciated.Rgdboer (talk) 03:53, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Looks like someone's hobby recreation of IPA with a whole lot of symbols that would need to be learned. Complete orthographies are useless for normal writing, how many people realise that when they say "pin" the p is aspirated but is "spin" it isn't? -- Q Chris (talk) 08:02, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Peter Cyrus is the moving force behind the Shwascript. He has participated in a long-running discussion on Yahoo user-group "conlang". There are about 331 messages concerning the script or its suitability as a topic for the group. To read them go to conlang and search "shwa".Rgdboer (talk) 21:27, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Another modern phonemic orthography is teascript by Herman Miller. He says it is based on Tengwar of J.R.R Tolkien. In this case there is a movement; however, linguist comment on the phonemics is wanted.Rgdboer (talk) 21:28, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

Malay word for "to spell"[edit]

In this page, it's said that language that have phomenic orthography doesn't have separate word for "to spell". But in Malay, at least Indonesian, have a word "mengeja" with same meaning. Malay alphabet is nearly phomenic, with exception the word that is from loanword, like "bank", and also have no separate word for e schwa and front e. — Christian Irwan (talk) 04:13, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

You could always ask, "how do you write it?", which would be the same thing. We should never claim a language has no word for s.t. unless we have a very good source. — kwami (talk) 04:46, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Exclusive -ed spelling of the past tense morpheme[edit]

In the morphophonemic features section, it states that the English past tense morpheme is written -ed regardless of whether it is pronounced as /d/, /t/ or /ɪd/. I don't believe this to be strictly true, as in British English the words spelt, spilt, smelt, learnt etc are perfectly valid spellings. Also, AFAIK the past tense forms of feel, lean and sweep are always felt, lent and swept. Granted, there are some words "spelt"-ed regardless of regional variation, such as kicked, tossed (although I believe these two both had now obsolete -t forms: kickt and tost) and brushed, the statement still seems to be inaccurate. Thoughts? Alphathon /'æɫ.fə.θɒn(talk) 22:11, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

'lent' is past tense of 'lend'; I think lean is always 'leaned' in past tense, but not sure. You're completely correct, though. Firejuggler86 (talk) 14:04, 30 June 2021 (UTC)

Ideal phonemic orthography[edit]

"In an ideal phonemic orthography, there would be a complete one-to-one correspondence."

I beleave the article misses the fact that Serbian language using the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet developed by Vuk Stefanović Karadžić is the only one which has this perfect "one-to-one correspondence". The Serbian Cyrillic alphaber was adopted by late 19 century and was created by Karadzic on the principle of "write as you speak and read as it is written". The alphabet consists of 30 letters each one corresponding to a different sound, and allways that sound, regardless of the letter combinations. Also, it has no diacritics neither hard/soft signs as other Cyrillic alphabets do. Practically most people in former Yugoslavia know this uniqueness of the Serbian language and alphabet, possibly no one came here to add that information simply because they missed this article. FkpCascais (talk) 20:07, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

From kilburn101: I agree with the above comment. Serbian Cyrillic does have a perfect isomorphism between phoneme and letter. I speak and read a little Serbian and, so, am rather familiar with the spelling system and its (short) history. There are other alphabetic orthographies that are said to be as perfect (or nearly so): Finnish and Turkish. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kilburn101 (talkcontribs) 20:04, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

phonetic words[edit]

some words are spelled differently and here are some examples; basin- bäsín anamorph-

This section sounds like Serbo-Croatian language dos not have ideal phonemic orthography[edit]

"A disputed example of an ideally phonemic orthography is Serbo-Croatian language. In its alphabet (Latin as well as Serbian Cyrillic alphabet), there are 30 graphemes, each uniquely corresponding to one of the phonemes. This seemingly perfect yet simple phonemic orthography was achieved in the 19th century,"

Disputed by whom? And why seemingly perfect?


How would English be classified in terms of "phonemic orthography"? Is English spelling be regarded by linguists as mostly phonemic, somewhat phonemic, or barely phonemic? And phonetic spelling redirects to this page. Do we want to clarify the difference here between "phonemic" and "phonetic" for nonexpert readers? Wolfdog (talk) 15:37, 21 October 2017 (UTC)

The English orthography is barely phonemic: sounds and letters disagree very much.Burzuchius (talk) 17:06, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
@Burzuchius: Yes, when it comes to vowels (though even in that case there are just as many regular spellings as there are exceptions to them). On the other hand, consonants are much more regular. Mr KEBAB (talk) 23:05, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
So it sounds like "semi-phonemic" would be the justifiable term. How about the term "phonetic"? I'm not sure I'm clear about the shades of meaning differing orthographies that are phonetic vs. phonemic. Wolfdog (talk) 21:09, 23 October 2017 (UTC)
@Wolfdog: To me, calling English orthography "semi-phonemic" is a bit of an overkill, but only because there are dozens if not hundreds of exceptions to otherwise fairly regular and fairly consistent spellings of vowels. But we should quit speculating and find a source if we want to put this into the article. I can see that it's full of WP:OR already but that's no excuse.
I challenge anyone to find an orthography that represents allophones of a language that has at least a moderate amount of them (there are exceptions though, Polish and Russian orthographies have a separate symbol for [ɨ] that is convincingly analyzed as an allophone of /i/ after hard consonants, but that's just one allophone). I think that we should forget about the term "phonetic orthography" (unless scholars use it); if anything, equate it with "phonemic orthography" and assume that the writer ignores the difference between phonemes and allophones (either deliberately or simply out of ignorance). Mr KEBAB (talk) 22:28, 23 October 2017 (UTC)
@Mr KEBAB: I agree with everything you just said, but -- haha -- are you saying that the "overkill" of "semi-phonetic" is that English, in all honesty, is "fairly phonemic" or "fairly not phonemic"? I assume by your double usage of "fairly" that you mean the former. (And, regardless, I don't intend on quoting you without citations, so: No worries.) Wolfdog (talk) 22:51, 23 October 2017 (UTC)
@Wolfdog: Ignoring the fact that there are no one-to-one phoneme-grapheme correspondences, English vowels have a fairly regular spelling. It's the exceptions that cause a headache, not necessarily the multitude of possible spellings of one vowel. Those can be learned. Mr KEBAB (talk) 23:14, 23 October 2017 (UTC)