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Spelling is difficult for many adults whose native language is English, and even more so for those who learn English as a second language. As a result, there are many ESL individuals who become fluent in speaking and reading, but never become good spellers. An excellent way to spell difficult words is to sound out words that he or she is trying to spell. In some languages, such as German and Spanish, every sound is represented by just one letter. Therefore, once a child or adult learns the alphabet and the sound each letter makes, sounding out words for either spelling or reading becomes relatively easy. English, however, has a number of peculiarities, which make learning to spell or to read in English more difficult. For example, in written English, not all words are spelled exactly as they are pronounced, making sounding out words difficult. The English language has far more sounds than letters. There are only 26 letters in the English alphabet, but they represent 44 different sounds. Learning the rules of spelling will go a long way to improve spelling; however, there are also many exceptions to the rules that cause further difficulties in spelling. In addition, there are letter combinations that represent a single sound, but may have more than one pronunciation. Some examples of this is “ough” that can be pronounced as “oo” as in Through, as “aw” as in thought, or as “uf” as in rough. The letters C and X are peculiar letters, as neither of them has a sound of their own. The X takes on the sound of z as in xylophone, or as ks as in six. The C takes on the sound of S as in cell or of K as in cat.The C was not invented for English. It was invented several thousand years ago to write down the sounds of Phoenician, a language related to Hebrew and Arabic. At that time, the letter was called “gamel”, and represented the “g” sound. Later, people in Italy adopted the letter “c” but utilized it as a K sound. Still later, “c” was adapted by Romans, and then by France; thus, English gradually become a letter of two sounds (ultrasaurus.com). English is a West German language that originated from Anglo-Frisian dialects and brought to Britain in the mid 5th to 7th centuries by Anglo-Saxon settlers (en.wikipediadia.org/wiki/History of English). The language has gone through many changes since then, influenced by other languages and every-day usage. By about 1459 middle English was replaced by early modern English, the language of Shakespeare who lived from 1564 to 1616. Early modern English is almost identical to contemporary English (http://Shakespeare-online.com); Nevertheless, many of us barely understand English as it was spoken in Shakespeare's time. English is an ever-changing language, evolving and adapting to the needs of users. The change is very slow, so we do not notice it (Betty Birner, LinguisticsSocietyorg). Who knows what our language will be like 500 years from now? Perhaps in the far distant future much of the peculiarities of the English language will correct itself, and become an easier language to learn, pronounce, and spell.