Why Spelling Is Hard: The Chaos Poem Says It All

Read these five words out loud: “rough,” “cough,” “bough,” “dough,” and “through.” Now ask yourself, does the pronunciation of those words and their spelling make any logical sense whatsoever? Has it ever occurred to you that we, English speakers, are the only ones in the world that actually have spelling bees? Why is that? Because English is really the only language where spelling, pronunciation, and letter sounds don’t exactly match on a very regular basis.

In fact, there are so many “exceptions to the rules” that we might often ask if the rules in our spelling are actually exceptions themselves. Making light (or perhaps making fun) of the English language, poet and Dutch teacher wrote The Chaos, a collection of words placed side-by-side similar spelling words.

The amazing thing about this poem? It’s entirely in English and yet few native English speakers can get through it without stumbling.

Good luck!