The history of the English language goes back, roughly, to the sixth century AD. Supposedly some Germanic invaders brought some dialects to the British Isles that were further developed during the thirteenth century. Written English evolved from something called Runic and (later) Latin characters.
All that is fine—and gladly forgotten—but what nobleman or lunatic decided to toss in so many silent g’s and h’s? Did a monk get an extra shilling for each “ough” he inserted into seemingly simple words? Try making sense out of the following.
Through…pronounced “threw”. Shouldn’t that letter-mess be pronounced “throw-ugh”? Oh yeah, there is a version of the same word also spelled threw. Good luck explaining all that to Olga, a new arrival from Ukraine.
Thorough…pronounced…well, you know.
Thought…why is that not simply “thot”?
So, six weeks into her English lessons, Olga makes some sense of all that. Then we throw (“throgh”?) these at her: Tough and Rough and Enough, along with Stuff and Bluff and Puff. “What the foughk is that all about?” she wonders. “What is wroungh with these people?”
Then she discovers the word “trough”…yet another pronunciation of the whole “ough” thing. Her stress level further escalates.
When Olga is told that “slew” can also be spelled slough, she returns to Kiev and the simplicities (?) of an East Slavic language.
We already discussed how Americans have changed the English language. Too bad Olga couldn’t wade through the all that Runic crap to have fun with, as we do, American.