Sounds of Writing

New Oxford American Dictionary:
Write: (no obj.) have the ability to mark down coherent letter or words.
Writing and words have a strong association, being that writing is made up of words thrown together to create sentences. But to write a word, one needs to spell a word. To spell a word, one needs to know the sounds of the letters. And that is exactly my problem, I don’t always know the correct sounds of letters, or more specifically, the sounds letter make together.
I am a self-described dyslexic person (as in it just took me three times to even spell correctly the word dyslexic). This has only been a recent realization, but after reading the signs of dyslexia in teenage/adult years and realized they mirrored my own issues, it seemed to make sense.
I have poor sound-letter association. As in I will say a word in my head or aloud with the wrong syllable stressed or incorrect pronunciation. This will then trick my mind into thinking that the wrong letter fits with that sound. For example, I used to always think the word “supposed” was spelt “suppost” as in the ‘d’ sound turned into a ‘t’. This is common for me for multiple sounds. ‘A’ and ‘O’ are frequently switched, so is ‘I’ and ‘E’, ‘S’ and ‘C’ (as in a few lines ago I tried to spell ‘recent’ as ‘resent’) and many other switching of individual letters or even short combinations of letters.
This isn’t because I’m uneducated or don’t care how to spell things, it is because my brain legitimately doesn’t realize the switch of letters. I can say a word in my head and not realize I am pronouncing it wrong. I will then try to write out the word the way I am hearing it. But because I am pronouncing it wrong, I can only spell it wrong. It has become an issue in speaking as well. I have said words the way my mind believes it to be pronounced correctly and don’t realize that I am saying an incorrect word. This is especially an issue with words that have similar letters and sounds. Such as an issue today in trying to say “monogamy” by instead said “mahogany.” (And yes in trying to spell those words, I misspelled both, and actually needed to phone a friend in remembering how to say ‘monogamy.’)
That is the other issue, if I don’t know how to say it, I don’t know how to write it. This comes up when I am presented with new words. I have a hard time knowing the association with the letters on the page and how their sounds relate to one another. The phrase “sound it out” doesn’t work in this case because I don’t have the ability to know the sounds in the first place.

Not only do I deal with these struggles on a daily basis, but I then try to write freely. There are countless times where I will get caught up trying to spell a word. It is unbelievably frustrating to stare at that little red line under a misspelled word, so badly misspelled that even auto-correct can’t help you, and be dumbfounded that the word isn’t spelt how your phonetically hear it. It is even more frustrating when you know that you know the word but can’t manage to spell it because the sounds are off. And with that it is embarrassing when you misspell a word, but the misspelling is a real word, so you keep using the wrong spelling and never realize. For the longest time I spelt “half” as “haft” and even submitted a piece where “budge” was substituted in for “budget.”
The absolute worst, is getting so stuck on a word and try to spell it correctly, that you forget the rest of the sentence that you were trying to write. To compensate, I try to just streamline thoughts and correct the spelling mistakes after the sentence or paragraph is completed.
Unfortunately for me, there does not seem to be a solution to my sound association problem. There is nothing, that I know of, that can teach my brain to resister and remember sounds the correct way. But do I give up writing because of that? No. This just means I take it slower, memorize more spellings of words and use thesaurus to give me alternatives.

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