I know a word in another language which appears at first to have a highly irregular spelling that does not match the pronunciation. However, further examination suggests that the spoken and written forms have different - and unrelated - etymologies. Are there any examples of this in English?
The example in another language is the Scots Gaelic word leugh /lʲeːv/ which means "read". Dwelly. Even without a knowledge of Gaelic orthography it can be appreciated that /v/ is a strange rendition of gh. The expected form would be /lʲeəɣ/. Leugh is clearly similar to the Latin lego ("read") from which it is assumed to derive. This fits with the introduction of reading by Latin-speaking monks. So where does the /v/ come from? It was inevitable that the monks introduced reading and books at the same time. The Latin for "book" is liber and the French livre demonstrates that b can change to v /v/. The corresponding word in Gaelic is leabhar /lʲevər/ (except that /v/ and /w/ are interchangeable, as in many languages). It seems that /lʲeːv/ is simply the verb backformed from /lʲevər/, as if /lʲevər/ "book" is simply the thing you use to /lʲeːv/ "read".
In short, the anomaly has arisen because of the close semantic link between reading and books, and the co-incidental similarity of the words, leading to confusion.