We especially thank Elsie D. Smelt, Australian author of Speak, Spell and Read English, for her insights and organizational strategies in doing for her Australian readers what we hope to achieve for Americans; and we applaud the U. Office of Education for sponsoring the computerized spelling study see Hanna, et all from whose raw data we were able to support our own long-cherished hunches about the relative regularity of English spelling.
Did you say probably or probly? Did you say nuclear which is correct or nucular the way even TV announcers are mispronouncing the word nowadays? If you say a word wrong, aloud or silently, you'll never learn to spell it correctly. That's why we ask you to do the following as you learn to spell the words in this book: 1. Look hard at every word written in heavy type.
Look away and sound out the word as you listen to it. Write the word. Proofread or check the word to make sure that you've written what you meant to write down. So before you begin this book, find a pencil and paper preferably a pad of paper, so that you can review your work as you go along and keep both with the book until you're done. Also keep a dictionary nearby. Any kind will do, so long as it shows pronunciation. Rules are best remembered if they're discovered instead of preached, so in many places we use exercises to help you uncover the rules.
We urge you to work diligently at these exercises. Spelling is best learned in short segments of no more than 20 minutes at a time. Before you begin a written exercise, check back here to make sure that you follow thefour points outlined above. You'll be doing a lot of out-loud sounding, so work in a quiet place where you won't feel silly making odd sounds.
English is partly irregular, despite the patterns we'll show you, so along the way we're going to ask you to memorize some words. We're sure you already know how to spell many of them. Memorize the remainder as you go along by tacking a daily list in the john or on the refrigerator, or take it along on the bus or in the car pool. Don't let words pile up on you. We're going to assume that you know elementary grammar-the meaning of noun, for instance.
We'll also assume that your reading vocabulary is good.
Who Is It For?
If you come across a term in the text that you don't understand, look it up in the dictionary or a grammar book for example, our companion volume The Grammar Crammer before you read further. As an adult, you have some ingrained spelling habits that have to be relearned. No habit can be changed overnight. But if you use each new habit as we teach it, you'll find your spelling remarkably improved in just a few short months.
Once you've finished the book and taken a short breather, we suggest that you reread it, redoing the exercises. The second time through, you'll find all the rules and patterns falling easily into place, and you'll never again be a poor speller.
Are you ready to enter the ranks of good spellers? Then let's begin. Some languages, for example Chinese, translate ideas onto paper and the sounds of the words have nothing to do with the way the words look. But English writing puts the sounds of words onto paper. If you can hear those sounds accurately, you can spell most words. Although some words are pronounced differently in different parts of the country, for spelling most words your regional accent will not get in the way.
Look hard at the word. Look away and slowly say it aloud, listening to it. Write it down as you hear yourself say it. Proofread to check what you've written.
If not, do it now. Later we'll modify this rule, but it's a good one to start with. Read each word. Look away and say it, listening.
Write it down. Proofread your list against ours. If you had trouble spelling any of the words in this list, you need to practice hearing regular consonant and vowel sounds. List any misspelled words in the space provided at the end of this chapter. If you had no trouble, skip to the Chapter Summary and then go on to Chapter 3. Hearing practice The name of a letter is not the same as its sound except sometimes in the case of the vowels.
For instance, the letter t is named tee and the letter h is named aitch. To learn how to spell quickly and accurately, you must forget the names of the letters and remember just their sounds. Regular single consonant sounds The following list includes all the consonant sounds that Part l' The Patterns of English 7 are most commonly represented by a single consonant letter.
Chapter 9 will concentrate on double-letter consonants. The names of most of these letters include the sound. C, g, h, w, andy don't, so pay careful attention to their sounds. Some of the sounds listed below can be spelled in other ways, too. For now just learn these most common ways of spelling the sounds. The k sound is the same as the c sound. It is written with a c almost 75 percent of the time, and most of the rest of the time it's written ck. For a full discussion, see Chapter The letter q is not represented by a sound in English see Chapter The sound z is most often represented by the letter s and will be discussed fully in Chapter 8.
Exaggerate each sound in the word for instance, for bad say the b sound, then the a sound, then the d sound. Get into the habit of exaggerating until your ear is so well trained that you can hear the individual sounds without separating them. This time, 1 listen for the other sounds in the listed words; then 2 say other words that have each highlighted sound in them.
EXERCISE 5 If you still have trouble hearing a particular sound, open a dictionary to the words that begin with that sound, and sound out the words, listening carefully to the way they start. Warning: Some words that begin with c, g, p, s, and t start with other sounds. For almost every sound you'll find a few exceptions. Don't let it throw you.
Learning the regularities of spelling won't make you a perfect speller, only a very good one. Regular consonant cluster sounds There are more consonant sounds in English than there are letters to represent them.
To make up for this deficiency, we've adopted the practice of combining two and sometimes three consonants to represent the sound. When we hear one of these sounds, we have to remember to write not one letter but the combination of letters that represents it. Part I: The Patterns of English sound ch sh th soft th hard hw ng usual spelling ch, tch sh th th wh ng 9 words that use the sound child, witch, catch, rich, achieve ship, cash, ashes, enshrine, mushy thick, cloth, truth, enthrall, gothic then, with, other, clothing, mother when, whisper, whisk, awhile, whirl wing, song, lung, bringing, dunking We will look more closely at each of these consonant cluster sounds later on.
At this time we just want to make sure that you can hear each unique sound. Many people confuse the ch sound with the sh sound. Ch is a much stronger sound. To make it, imitate the chug-chugchug of an old steam train. After you do that several times, go back and say the words we've provided for the sound, exaggerating the ch. Sh is a whisper.
Spelling simplified /Judi Kesselman-Turkel and Franklynn Peterson. – National Library
To make it correctly, say the "be quiet" sound several times: sh, sh, sh. Then say the sh words above. Make sure that you can hear the difference between the two sounds before you go any further.
The hard th sound and the soft th sound give people pronunciation trouble. Say the th in thick several times, and then do the same for the th in then. Do you notice that for the first th, the "soft" sound, you blow air between teeth and tongue but produce no sound-and that when saying the "hard" th you do make a sound? Some linguists call them "unvoiced" and "voiced" for that reason.
Many people incorrectly pronounce the word with with a soft th instead of a hard one, but this causes few spelling problems since both sounds are spelled the same.
Spelling and vocabulary
However, some people say wit or wid for with, and change th into d or t in other words as well. If you do, you're in spelling trouble. You need to conform your pronunciation more nearly to what's considered Standard American-at least when it comes to thinking about how to spell a particular word.
Be sure to include the d sound in width. Can you hear the difference? The hw sound has almost disappeared in American English pronunciation. Most people nowadays make the same sound w when saying both wet and when.
Related Spelling Simplified (Study Smart Series)
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