English is an unusual language. The English language is technically (originally) a creole. This means that it has evolved as a language from the mixture of one or more other languages. Many of these borrowed wordsare commonly used in English today, such as : coffee, anchovy, robot, typhoon, lychee, dollar. In fact, James Nicoll, once said of English that:
…We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.
This means that English has very irregular pronunciations of words that appear very similar in print. Take for example laughter and slaughter – the only difference is an ‘s’, yet the pronunciation is dramatically different, because the words come from different languages and were adopted by English. There is a famous, torturous poem, that if you can recite flawlessly will show your complete mastery of the intricacies of English pronunciation: