Take for instance English spelling. I am the kind of person who likes to know the reason for things, especially wacky things like English spelling, so when my students ask me questions like, "Why is English spelling so crazy?" I don't like to turn them away empty-handed:
A long time ago, in England...
Basically, some people thought it would be good to write English down and use a script. Well, the problem with this is once you write something down and wait long enough (like 400 years or so), the writing doesn't necessarily lineup with the pronunciation anymore.
So for example, take the word night. This word doesn't look like it sounds, but a long, long time ago, it probably sounded a lot more like it. Here's where you pull up Google Translate and type in nacht.
It should look like this:
Sometimes I also use Google Translate to explain how nouns combine into one big unit. For example, look at the phrase "disaster relief fund" (Google this for examples or use a corpus from my Links page). In English, this phrase operates like one word:
"The Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) is an appropriation against which FEMA can direct, coordinate, manage, and fund eligible response and recovery efforts"(http://www.fema.gov/disaster-relief-fund)
If you Google Translate "disaster relief fund" into German, you get Katastrophenfonds (a combination of the German versions of the words catastrophe and funds). In these cases, I feel like English is pretending they are separate words, but grammatically, they're like one big unit. See? The Apfel doesn't fall far from the tree.
English spelling is still crazy, but if you're like me, it might relieve *some* of the frustration when you know why something is the way it is.
Have a good one, and good luck out there!