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The word 'awkward' is itself extremely awkward to both spell and speak. It contains the oddest formation of letters in the English language: 'wkw.' I can't pronounce that alone without hurting my jaw.

In Middle English it started out mercifully as 'awkeward,' a mix of two syllables. 'awke' comes from old Norse word for 'wrong,' and ward means 'to have the manner of' or 'in the direction of.' So awkward takes the place of saying 'having a wrong manner.' But it doesn't quite roll off the tongue as well, as it tends to cause the tongue to cramp up when saying it. Go on, say the word three times in succession.

So like everything else, the awkward spelling of the word awkward can be blamed on the English, probably English lawyers too. And despite the fact that it is spelled as one word, it can't be pronounced in any way but as two words.