As an accent reduction coach, I'm always asked about spelling and pronunciation of English words. I learned both without even noticing the inconsistencies between the two - probably because it's my native language. Now when I'm asked, I realize that there are rules to guide both but there are many exceptions to the rules. They can be as difficult for non-native English speakers to learn and remember as the International Phonetic Alphabet.
In her article, I Luv Phonetics, Colleen Ross also wrote about the inconsistency between spelling and pronunciation of English words - boot and book have similar spelling but are pronounced differently. She profiled Judy Thompson of Sheridan College, author of English Is Stupid, who believes the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) doesn't work. My clients will agree with her. Also they feel they are learning two languages - English and IPA.
English pronunciation is sometimes daunting for us native speakers so imagine how much more challenging it is for those who are learning it. There are extra letters and letters that sound like others. Why does 'debt' have a 'b' if it's not pronounced? The 'c' in decide sounds like an 's' so why isn't it spelled that way? Wouldn't it be easier for them if 'depressed' was spelled 'deprest'? Been doesn't sound like green. It sounds like 'bin' so let's spell it that way. These are some examples in my newly-published book "An English Guide To Pronunciation."
I think it would be easier if we make the exceptions the rules and vice versa for all who are learning to speak the language and write it like it sounds. Then this last sentence would be:
I think it wud be eezer if we make the xsepchuns the rules and vicey versa for all hoo r lurning to speek the langwij and rite it like it sounds.
For all those who are learning the English language, I echo Colleen Ross's advice - listen.