Copies of the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. (Nathan Martin/AP)

In his Feb. 17 Free for All letter, William A. Hall pointed out that the syllable “ough” has at least four other sounds [“A rough pronunciation guide”]. In fact, there are at least eight more than the ones he cited, as in thought, tough, lough, trough (which has three variations of its own), Coughlan and Poughkeepsie. Interestingly enough, the long “O” sound is spelled 18 ways, as in go, snow, dough, sew, beau, depot, cologne, apropos, provost, faux, toe, oh, oat, owe, yeoman, soul, yolk and brooch. What a language!

Antonia Browning Smiley, Washington