Among my immediate co-workers are three Chinese, with varying commands of English.. Kuo-chang speaks it fluently, Vanessa fairly, Hao.. with effort. I do my best to help out Vanessa and Hao with their English, with careful pronunciation of words like 'scrub brush', 'parsley' and 'vacation form'.
Today, the words Hao was trying to get correct were 'straight' and 'curly'. I wrote them on a piece of paper for her, giving a simple demonstration of each. 'Curly' was the easy one. I underlined 'cur', then 'ly' with my pen as well, showing her the proper syllabification.
Then came 'straight'.
Three letters longer. All one syllable. And that 'aight'. How the &*$% do you explain to someone to get 'ate' from 'aight'?
I was forced in the end to sum it up with "English is crazy." To which Hao nodded sagely and said, "Yeh I know. Englishu too many lettah. Easy to say, harda to write."
She's got that strait. Er. Straight.