I'm a non-native speaker who started using English about a decade ago.
The problem is sometimes when I first encounter a new word, I fail to predict its correct prononciation. So, I check the dictionary to avoid learning it the wrong way. I like to tell myself that sometimes the pronunciation of some vowels is arbitrary; sometimes I just can't predict the exact pronunciation of words I've never seen, so I say.
Recently, I came across the word 'flaky'. I thought the 'a' could either be as in 'flashy' or as in 'flamy', meaning it is completely up to convention.
Is my interpretation correct? Could 'flaky' have been similar to 'flashy'? In other words, am I right in thinking there is no English phonological rule determining its pronunciation? Thank you.