I quite often get into discussions about the weirdness of English. Things like "fluff" rhyming with "enough" and "threw" rhyming with "through", "taut" and "thought" etc...
Other oddities are words that can't possibly be pronounced without context. Examples:
I got into a similar discussion on the weekend. This time, it was English plurals. Because English is a mish-mash of different languages, happy to borrow from almost any other language ("English is to language what Microsoft is to computing" from "Xenophobe's guide to the English"), it has lots of ways of pluralizing words. I claimed that there are at least a dozen ways of pluralizing in English. The smart (smart-ass?) people I was with said, "Oh? That sounds like a lot. Come on then, give them to us." Another request was for me to have all the examples on my blog - so, this is it. NOTE: There are possibly even more than a dozen here, but I quite often group them together.
irregulars - I will count them as 1
4. dwarf->dwarves , hoof->hooves, similarly rooves, leaves, elves
5. deer, moose, fish etc.. (some odder ones are species and series which don't change either)
6. ox, brother, child-> oxen, brethren, children
7. foot->feet, goose->geese, similarly teeth, mice, lice, men, women etc...
8. formula->formulae, indices, matrices, vertices
9. axis->axes, crisis->crises
10. criterion->criteria, phenomenon->phenomena
11. datum->data (similarly media, medium, millennia, memoranda)
Some other odd ones out:
12. alumni, cacti, fungi
even more odd
13. beau->beaux, or bureaux, chateaux
So there you go Ed. ;-)