Pronouncing English Vowels

It’s a well known fact that, in English, the way a word is spelled can have little or no relationship to the way it’s pronounced. As a native speaker of Romanian, which is a phonetic language, I find the pronunciation of single vowels particularly confusing.

To illustrate, here’s a completely non-scientific correspondence between what an English speaker thinks he’s saying and what my brain translates it to:

Letter What I hear
A EI
E II
I AI
O ĂU
U IU
Y UAI

Because of this, my chances of ever winning a spelling bee contest are severely handicapped.

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