Goofy spellings in various tongues.

How did French arrive at their seemingly silly combinations of vowels and consonants, like the ‘eux’ in ‘deux’?

Likewise, with German how did ‘eu’ (and ‘äu’) get the same value, phonetically, as ‘oi’? German’s an orderly and regular language otherwise, but how in God’s green earth did our friends in der Bundesrepublik come up with this goofy dipthong?

Moving down the Germanic ladder, how did English (and Dutch, if I pronounce ‘stroopwaffel’ correctly[sup]1[/sup].) get ‘oo’ to equal ‘u’, when double-vowels normally are long in other combinations?

Thanks in advance.

Looking for logic in the history of language is like looking for fine writing in government publications. There may be some there, but it’s going to take a lot of digging to find it.

This is all due to the fact that spoken language changes faster than written language. An even better (or worse) example would be English spellings like “write” or “right” or even “rite”.

By the way, Redukter, your German quote should read “Ich kenne seinen Namen” with a final n.

Imagine learning english as a second language and being faced with the combo “ough”

In TOUGH, pronouned UFF
Insert an R, TROUGH, and it’s now OFF.
Insert an H, THROUGH, and it’s OOH.
Never mind puzzling out THOUGHT, BOUGH, SLOUGH, DROUGHT, etc.
Or consider that AUGHTER is pronounced “AFTER” in LAUGHTER,
but add an S to the beginning and it represents OTTER.

Good grief.

Answer: a complex series of sound changes from Vulgar latin to Old French to Modern French. I believe the x ending on words like “deux” was because of a form of the letter s in a certain style of script writing was mistaken to be an x, so the x stuck. IIRC, the “oi” /wa/ sound came from the evolution of e to oi “oy” to “wa”: habere (to have) > haber > aber > aver > avoir. From what i’ve read French spelling is partly etymological (trying to keep with the original Latin as best it could) as well as coping with the drastic sound changes that has happened to French (French is probably one of the most drastically changed of the Romance Languages still in existance).

I totally agree.

we taiwanese have a language all to ourselves that can’t be written out unless you try to approximate. bwahahahahahahahahaha.

then again, it’s kinda close to mandarin. close enough for me (a born-and-bred american who’s been living in taiwan for about half her life) to understand. still, try listening in the next time my parents talk together, and you won’t worry so much about SPELLING what they say as trying to UNDERSTAND what they say… bwahahahaha.

I feel so very dumb. I should have mentioned English, with it’s crazy suite of ‘ough’ combinations, but it ehh… slipped my mind. Yeah. Hey, let’s go ride bikes!

I know it’s pretty hard to pin down exactly how a language is as it is, but I was curious nonetheless about what is now known.

Oh, and TheThill - [sheepishly averts his eyes] I should have known that nouns inflect in the accusative, as well. I knew it, but ehh… Forgot it, I guess. You can tell that I’ve only been studying for about ten months or so. Wake me in a few years, when I’m fluent enough to speak with impunity.

Thanks, all.

Don’t sweat it, Redukter, I have been living in Germany for the past ten years myself, so you have plenty of time to catch up. It’s nice to know that someone else cares, though!