I Am Immigrant From Latvia


Dear Ron,

I am immigrant from Latvia, refugee who take English course to improve himself for better job and wife. My problem is spelling English. Why have two letters, for instance ck, K, and c that pronounce the same way. Also miserable is rr, r, f, ff, t, tt, b, bb, c,s Why use two letter, not one to pronounce same way. It makes me mad.


Dear Pista,

How right you are! English is a maddening language, especially for newcomers. By the way, the wife and I are planning a vacation in Latvia. We have heard only good things about its beaches.

Back on task, though. How can one learn to spell properly? There are so many spelling rules and almost as many exceptions to these rules that it becomes an exercise in confusion. There are statistics out suggesting that people who are trying to learn English spelling have a 37% higher suicide rate than the general population.

These people report that double consonants have taken them over the edge. “It is a dangerous game,” says Susan Moonbeam, a therapist and author of “ The Letter Crisis.” Ms. Moonbeam has encountered such widespread aversion to and fear of English spelling that she has taken it upon herself to launch a therapy especially designed for those who suffer the consequences of  attempting to master it.

She once (under the influence of a particular cold remedy) remarked in a speech to the psychiatric community that the English language has been causing such pain for so many people for so long that it deserves to be expunged , or at least altered to simplify its spelling rules.

In despair that this would not come about in her life time, Ms. Moonbeam decided the next best option would be to find ways to help people cope. How does she accomplish this? The specifics are not available to anyone who has not bought her book, she explains, with a sidelong glance at her guard dog, Wolf.

There is rumour, however, that she uses  a desensitization approach to lead people away from feelings of  frustration, inferiority and worthlessness.

“The hell this puts people through!” she exclaims, striking her head with her gloved fist, “is enough to send me around the bend. I have been spelling in English since I was able to write and I still make mistakes.  And don’t give me any hooey about spell checkers. They are crutches and healthy people do not need crutches.”

She goes on to opine that the worst offenders are the double consonants and silent letters, stating that when she thinks of the letters s and c, s it propels her into a war dance. She is however optimistic that one can master them with sustained effort.

You see, Pista, that you are not the only one in your boat. I can only hope that this information has comforted you even if just a little. You could, of course, always turn your boat the other way and go lie on some lovely Latvian sand.

Good luck.


One Comment Add yours

  1. mukul chand says:

    great post, ha ha.

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