How do you know how to pronounce words just by looking? For example
I read books
Could be either having read books in the past, or you are in the process of reading books at the moment. How do you know which without context? I know the English rule about stressing the first or second vowel in a word (apart from the Irish who pronounce the opposite, which interestingly is partly where their accent comes from) but that only works for words such as
printer and not for words where two vowels follow one another, like
Another point: Why do some combinations of letters change the sound. For example, after hearing the word
book, you'd think it would be spelled
buc, and after hearing
thought you would never guess that all their letters but one are common. Is there a reason for this other than language not been written down until recently when all the little quirks I have mentioned were already impregnated into the language.
To sum up:
- Is there a way of knowing the pronunciation of a word without context?
- Why do some combinations of letters change pronunciation depending on the word they are in?