Good communications skills are indispensable in software development. From the point of initial contact with a client to the final delivery of a completed project, it's clear communication that ensures that we understand the requirements and deliver exactly what the client wants. I have some very brilliant engineers on my team, many of whom are not native english speakers. As quick as they are to come up with ingenious solutions to exacting requirements, their biggest challenge is spoken english. Our solution has been to have project managers with excellent communication skills, who speak fluent english and are able to mediate between our clients and our engineers.

Native English speakers don't realize how difficult a language English is, to learn. Since it does not use a phonetic script, it is especially difficult to get pronounciations right. Consider the following.

The following three words sound different. Non-native english speakers have a tough time pronouncing the variations.

  • Whine
  • Wine
  • Vine

Why would you whine about the wine, while the grapes are still on the vine?

'Con' sounds different in these two words:

  • Content - as in state of satisfaction
  • Content - as in what is inside

How about words with different Spelling but same pronounciation?

  • Bear - as in the animal
  • Bare - as in not covered

It's not wise to throw a vise at the vice principal but sometimes your vices get the best of you.

And how about the same spelling (ch) but different pronounciation?

When a Christian goes to Church he/she transforms the sound of ch.

Oh, don't get me started on English vowels. How is anyone supposed to learn this language with rules like these?

  • sieve - ieve sounds like iv
  • chief - ief sounds like eef
  • receive - eive sounds like eev
  • eight   - ei sounds like a. I ate at eight o'clock.
  • recede  - ede sounds like eed

Four ways to get the K sound

  • Character - Ch
  • Climber - C 
  • King - K
  • Quart - Q

Seven ways to get the C sound

  • I see you  - see
  • in the sea - sea
  • Vitamin C  - c
  • Civilized - ci
  • Sip - si
  • Zip - zi (slight variation in pronounciation)
  • Xerosis - xe (Slight variation in pronounciation)

Some letters get no respect at all.  They get ignored. Remember the old riddle about who the silent member of the parliament is? It's I! 'I' is not pronounced. Get it? No wonder why these letters sometimes exact revenge on you for ignoring them by setting you up with rude expressions. Have you considered what happened to the P in the psychology department? That sounded rude, didn't it? It's fertile ground for a vulgar wordsmith when a letter sounds like a verb and a noun all at once. Here's to Mr. Freely from the Simpsons! D'oh!

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