Just think about it:
- it's extremely wide-spread for historical reasons;
- it is a somewhat random mash-up of at least three other languages;
- as much as all languages have their idiosyncrasies , it tends to have the more confusing ones.
- If you block English in your browser, the Internet seems like a somewhat empty place.
Though, more seriously, I'll add with my linguist-hat on, in terms of its linguistic properties, English isn't particularly weirder or more idiosyncratic than any other language. (Orthography aside, which isn't itself language but a language "add-on".)
@emacsomancer ah now you're cherry-picking.
The fact that one cannot reasonably clearly think about how a word is spoken based on how it's written (or vice-versa) is a huge deal. And I am ready to die on that hill! 😉
A lot depends on which language a word was borrowed from, and when. For instance; "chief" and "chef" both have the same french word as their root, but they entered English more than a century apart. During that time the pronunciation of "ch" in French changed.
As one of my English teachers used to say; "English doesn't borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, knocks them out, then goes through their pockets for loose grammar."
on the origin of the quote, see: https://www.paulingraham.com/loose-grammar.html
on the general topic: part of the oddity of English spelling is that words from (esp. other European languages) tend to be borrowed with and retain their original spelling (modulo accents etc. in many cases).
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