In Polish the system is regular (even the exceptions) and nobody considers trying to teach kids not to exploit that. You just remember how each letter sounds and then the dozen of so special combinations (which are still mostly regular). And you can read.
Yes you learn to read slow at first, and then you develop fast reading by yourself, it's natural and comes with reading a lot. I don't know anybody reading sound-by-sound past the age of 10, and usually kids learn to read whole words after they read their first long book (traditionally it's "Kids from Bullerbyn" here).
I wonder how much longer it takes to teach kids reading such complicated writing system like English. Here it takes about 1 year, usually when they are in the first class of school.
The concept of a spelling bee made literally 0 sense to me until I had to actually learn English.
That's an English spelling bee.
But we do have 3 sounds with multiple letters possible (ó/u, ch/h, rz/ż or sz) so we have something like a spelling bee in schools, just the other way - teacher reads a story and kids have to write it down correctly.
It's so damn close to a fully phonetic system that it frustrates me we didn't go the last few miles and made it fully phonetic when the last reform happened ;)
Unfortunately they do have some loan words from Sanskrit that are irregular, and the system for writing tones is needlessly arcane (there are 3 arbitrary classes of consonants that you just have to memorise, and the tone markers change meaning depending on class)
We rote-learned French spelling at and early age and I can still read French.
English, on the other hand, has one of the most difficult alphabetic spelling systems. I have used English for tens of years and I still have problems pronouncing a word now and then. One of the problems being that English doesn't indicate stress (which native speakers automatically know).
You never ask kids "read this word" or "how is this word pronounced" because that's always obvious.
I would prefer if we fixed our system the other way as well, it wouldn't take much, we can start by removing rz, ch and ó and replacing them as needed with ż/sz, h, and u. Suddenly we have like 1 year at school free to teach other actually useful stuff :)
It's not like it's impossible - we already had orthography reform in early 20th century and another minor one in 90s.
Except when it isn't. Colonel? Yacht? Victuals? Boatswain?
Of course, we shouldn't forget Mark Twain's proposal: https://www.plainlanguage.gov/resources/humor/spelling-in-th...
Point well made!
We have tons of Latin, Greek, German, French, Italian, English loan words but we transcribe them consistently with the rest of the language: inżynier, wiktuały, donżon, jacht, komputer, opcja, pałac, skwer, hipermarket.
Kids don't need to know which language it came from, the pronunciation rules are the same.
You might say English is late-binding and Polish is early-binding language when it comes to phonetics - we decide how the word is pronounced and change the spelling when we adopt a word to out language, you do it each time you use the word :)
None of those are Polish words.