Actually, if you understand the language, it is pronounced exactly as it is spelled.
But I don't understand the language so it looks funny. Don't mock me for my ignorance, its not nice! Who am I kidding, even understanding the "rules" of the English language there are masses of it that break those rules. Trough, Through, Though, Slough.
I actually have a fondness for languages, but my experience thus far is sadly limited to Latin-based languages. Would loved to learn Welsh, Swedish, Dutch, Mandarin and Japanese. But those "Rosetta Stone" packages are way too pricey.