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Absolutely Ridiculous English Spelling
Lesson 4. More English Word Families
The Long O sound in English is made with the following letter combinations: -O- ; -OA- ; -O+consonant+Silent E ; -OW ; -O- before LL; -OU- ; -OUGH. It might be easier to study these words in groups, or families. For example, study all of the -OLL words together. When you know them well, work on the -OW words, and so on. In addition, I urge you to read as much English as you can, every day, whether English is your native language or a second or third language. Read soup can or cereal box labels, newspapers, magazines, comics, billboards, street signs, or books. The more you see these words in print, the better a feel you will develop regarding how the words are used and spelled.
The Long U sound in English is spelled with -EW-; -OUGH; -OE; -UE; -OO-; -U+consonant+Silent E; -OU. Here are some examples. Divide these words up into family groups in order to study them.
Words containing the Long I sound are usually spelled with -i + consonant + Silent E, with i + ND; with -igh ; with -Y ; -ie; -ye. It can be easier to study and learn these words in smaller groups or families; for example, try the -ILE group, or the -IRE group, and so on.
|Long A + M sound||
|came, blame, dame, lame, game, fame, flame, name, same, tame|
There is a common kind of sound in English called a DIPHTHONG that is made up of one vowel sound sliding into another, but only forming one syllable. The sounds of Long A, Long I and Long O are actually diphthongs, according to language experts, but we treat them as single sounds when spelling English words. The following chart will show words containing the diphthong [AU] , meaning an 'ah' sound gliding into an 'oo' sound. This sound is made with the following letter combinations: -OU- ; -OW- ; -OUGH- ;
When the letter S sounds like a Z:
There are many words in English that are spelled with an S but are pronounced as if that letter were a Z. The following list will include many examples, but will not be all that exist. I will underline the S that sounds like a Z. Notice that a great number of the Z sounds are at the end of plural forms or Third-person Singular noun forms. I'm sure there is some Rule that tells us when an S sounds like a Z and when it doesn't, but I don't know that rule. (It seems to me that when an S is added to a word that ends with the sounds of K, P or T, the S will sound like S and will not add an extra syllable. Examples: bike > bikes; whip > whips; cat > cats. When adding the S also adds an extra syllable, the S will sound like Z (always? usually?). Examples: case > cases; pitch > pitches. Okay, the more I get into this, the more exceptions and variations I can think of, so just learn the words.)
There is a group of English words that really illustrates the ridiculous nature of English spelling and pronunciation. I don't know why the following inconsistencies occur, but they are things you need to be aware of as you study.
|lose (sounds like luze ) : to misplace something or to be defeated in a game or contest.||Lose (rhymes with close ) : a family name. "My brothers went to Lose School."||loose (sounds like luse ) : not tight. "The woman's clothes were loose because she had lost so much weight."|
|whose (sounds like huze ) : possessive pronoun or adjective. "Whose book is lying on the floor?"||hose (rhymes with nose ) : a long flexible tube for carrying water or other liquids.||choose (sounds like chuze or chews ) ; to make a selection. "On election day, one must choose the best person for the office."|
|close (sounds like cloze ) : to shut, to make not open. "Tommy, please close the door."||close (pronounced with Log O followed by an S sound ) : near, almost hit. "The foul ball landed in the bleachers close to my seat."||those (rhymes with nose ): demonstrative pronoun or adjective, to refer to them. "Those blue flowers are prettier than the red ones. "|
|nose (rhymes with flows ) : The sense organ that sticks out from the middle of your face.||noose (sounds like nuse ) : a special knot in a rope forming a loop, once used to hang criminals.|
The next page will illustrate again the danger of spelling a word in English by the way it sounds or is pronounced. Click HERE to proceed.
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