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Encyclopedia > English spelling

English spelling (or orthography), although largely phonemic, has more complicated rules than many other spelling systems used by languages written in alphabetic scripts and contains many inconsistencies between spelling and pronunciation, necessitating rote learning for anyone learning to read or write English. The orthography of a language is the set of symbols (glyphs and diacritics) used to write a language, as well as the set of rules describing how to write these glyphs correctly, including spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. ... In spoken language, a phoneme is a basic, theoretical unit of sound that can distinguish words (i. ... A Specimen of typeset fonts and languages, by William Caslon, letter founder; from the 1728 Cyclopaedia. ... Pronunciation refers to: the way a word or a language is usually spoken; the manner in which someone utters a word. ... Rote learning is a learning technique which avoids grasping the inner complexities and inferences of the subject that is being learned and instead focuses on memorizing the material so that it can be recalled by the learner exactly the way it was read or heard. ...


Throughout the history of the English language, these inconsistencies have gradually increased in number. There are a number of contributing factors. First, gradual changes in pronunciation, such as the Great Vowel Shift, account for many irregularities. Second, relatively recent loan words from other languages generally carry their original spellings, which are often not phonetic in English. The Romanization of languages (e.g., Chinese) using alphabets derived from the Latin alphabet has further complicated this problem, for example when pronouncing Chinese place names. Third, some prescriptionists have had partial success in their attempts to normalize the English language, forcing a change in spelling but not in pronunciation. English is a West Germanic language that originated from the Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Britain by Germanic settlers from various parts of northwest Germany. ... The Great Vowel Shift was a major change in the pronunciation of the English language, generally accomplished in the 15th century, although evidence suggests it began as early as the 14th century. ... A loanword (or a borrowing) is a word taken in by one language from another. ... Phonetic (pho-NET-ic) is a nationwide voicemail-to-text messaging service available for most digital mobile phones in which a subscriber is provided a custom voice mailbox for the purpose of receiving all incoming voice messages as actual transcribed text for reading via short messaging (also known as SMS... In linguistics, romanization (or Latinization, also spelled romanisation or Latinisation) is the representation of a word or language with the Roman (Latin) alphabet, or a system for doing so, where the original word or language uses a different writing system. ... The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. ... In linguistics, prescription is the laying down or prescribing of normative rules for the use of a language. ...

Contents


History of the English spelling system

The regular spelling system of Old English was swept away by the Norman Conquest, and English itself was eclipsed by French for three centuries, eventually emerging with its spelling much influenced by French. English had also borrowed large numbers of words from French, which for reasons of prestige and familiarity kept their French spellings. The spelling of Middle English, such as in the writings of Geoffrey Chaucer, is very irregular and inconsistent, with the same word being spelled differently, sometimes even in the same sentence. Old English (also called Anglo-Saxon) is an early form of the English language that was spoken in parts of what is now England and southern Scotland between the mid-fifth century and the mid-twelfth century. ... Bayeux Tapestry depicting events leading to the Battle of Hastings The Norman Conquest of England was the conquest of the Kingdom of England by William the Conqueror (Duke of Normandy), in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings and the subsequent Norman control of England. ... Middle English is the name given by historical linguistics to the diverse forms of the English language spoken between the Norman invasion of 1066 and the mid-to-late 15th century, when the Chancery Standard, a form of London-based English, began to become widespread, a process aided by the... Chaucer: Illustration from Cassells History of England, circa 1902. ...


The pronunciation /ʌ/ (normally spelled u) of written o in son, love, come, etc. is due to Norman spelling conventions prohibiting writing of u before v, m, n due to the graphical confusion that would result. (v, u, n were identically written with two minims in Norman handwriting; w was written as two u letters; m was written with three minims, hence mm looked like vun, nvu, uvu, etc.) Similarly, spelling conventions also prohibited final v. Hence the identical spellings of the three different vowel sounds in love, grove and prove are due to ambiguity in the Middle English spelling system, not sound change. Minim, a term for short, vertical strokes used in handwriting, comes from a group of scribes employed by the newly conquering Normans of the mid 11th century. ... Minim, a term for short, vertical strokes used in handwriting, comes from a group of scribes employed by the newly conquering Normans of the mid 11th century. ... Middle English is the name given by historical linguistics to the diverse forms of the English language spoken between the Norman invasion of 1066 and the mid-to-late 15th century, when the Chancery Standard, a form of London-based English, began to become widespread, a process aided by the...


There was also a series of linguistic sound changes towards the end of this period, including the Great Vowel Shift, which resulted in "igh" in "night" changing from a pure vowel followed by a palatal/velar fricative to a diphthong. These changes for the most part did not detract from the rule-governed nature of the spelling system; but in some cases they introduced confusing inconsistencies, like the well-known example of the many pronunciations of "ough" (rough, through, though, trough, plough, etc.). Most of these changes happened before the arrival of printing in England. However, the arrival of the printing press merely froze the current system, rather than providing the impetus for a realignment of spelling with pronunciation. Furthermore, it introduced further inconsistencies, partly because of the use of typesetters trained abroad, particularly in the Low Countries. The Great Vowel Shift was a major change in the pronunciation of the English language, generally accomplished in the 15th century, although evidence suggests it began as early as the 14th century. ... The voiceless palatal fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... The voiceless velar fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. ... Fricatives (or spirants) are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. ... This article or section contains information that has not been verified and thus might not be reliable. ... The Low Countries, the historical region of de Nederlanden, are the countries (see Country) on low-lying land around the delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse (Maas) rivers. ...


By the time dictionaries were introduced in the mid 1600s, the spelling system of English started to stabilize, and by the 1800s, most words had set spellings. For other uses of dictionary, see dictionary (disambiguation). ...


Irregularities in the English spelling system

The English spelling system is one of the most irregular spelling systems in current use. Although French presents a similar degree of difficulty when encoding (writing), English is more difficult when decoding (reading). English has never had any formal regulating authority, like the Spanish Real Academia Española, Italian Accademia della Crusca or the French Académie française, so attempts to regularize or reform the language, including spelling reform, have usually met with failure. The Real Academia Española (Spanish for Royal Spanish Academy; often RAE) is the institution responsible for regulating the Spanish language. ... The Accademia della Crusca is an Italian institution that brings together scholars and experts in Italian linguistics and philology. ... The Académie française, or French Academy, is the pre-eminent French learned body on matters pertaining to the French language. ... The factual accuracy of this article is disputed. ...


The only significant exceptions were the reforms of Noah Webster which resulted in many of the differences between British and American spelling, such as center/centre, and dialog/dialogue. (Other differences, such as -ize/-ise in realize/realise etc, came about separately.) Noah Webster Noah Webster (October 16, 1758 – May 28, 1843) was an American lexicographer, textbook author, spelling reformer, political writer, and editor. ... In the early 18th century, spelling in English was not regular; current British spellings follow, for the most part, those of Samuel Johnsons Dictionary of the English Language (1755), while some of the characteristic present-day American spellings were introduced by Noah Webster (An American Dictionary of the English... Language change is the manner in which the phonetic, morphological, semantic, syntactic, and other features of a language are modified over time. ...


Besides the quirks the English spelling system has inherited from its past, there are other idiosyncrasies in spelling that make it tricky to learn. English contains 24 separate consonant phonemes and, depending on dialect, anywhere from fourteen to twenty vowels. However, there are only 26 letters in the modern English alphabet, so there cannot be a one-to-one correspondence between letters and sounds. Many sounds are spelled using different letters or multiple letters, and for those words whose pronunciation is predictable from the spelling, the sounds denoted by the letters depend on the surrounding letters. For example, the digraph "th" represents two different sounds (the voiced interdental fricative and the voiceless interdental fricative) (see Pronunciation of English th), and the voiceless alveolar fricative can be represented by the letters "s" and "c". A consonant is a sound in spoken language that is characterized by a closure or stricture of the vocal tract sufficient to cause audible turbulence. ... In human language, a phoneme is a set of phones (speech sounds or sign elements) that are cognitively equivalent. ... A dialect (from the Greek word διάλεκτος, dialektos) is a variety of a language used by people from a particular geographic area. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... The voiced dental fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... The voiceless dental fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... In English, the digraph <th> represents two phonemes, the voiced dental fricative /ð/ (as in this) and the voiceless dental fricative /θ/ (thing). ... The voiceless alveolar fricatives are a type of consonantal sound. ...


And unlike in most languages, English spelling often tries to preserve meaning in related word forms (the noun, adjective, verb, etc of the same root) first and foremost rather than merely representing how the word sounds. For example, while there is no phonological reason to include the -ig- combination in both "to sign" and "a signature", if written more phonetically, they would be "sain" and "signacher" or some such, with the subsequent visual loss of related meaning. Furthermore, given that both vowel sounds and consonant sounds change radically when a change in word form also involves a change in syllable stress (a common occurrence in English: "ná·tion" and "na·tion·ál·i·ty" and sometime even a change in syllable structure--watch the 'n' in Cán·a·da and Ca·ná·di·an), English spelling has generally developed a marked preference for preserving the common meaning underlying word forms. The result, then, is a higher degree of irregularity in the accuracy of its phonological representation.


Of course, such a philosophy can be taken too far. For instance, there was also a period when the spellings of words was altered in what is now regarded as a misguided attempt to make them conform to what were perceived to be the etymological origins of the words. For example, the letter "b" was added to "debt" in an attempt to link it to the Latin debitum, and the letter "s" in "island" is a misplaced attempt to link it to Latin insula instead of the Norse word igland, which is the true origin of the English word. The letter "p" in "ptarmigan" has no etymological justification whatsoever. Binomial name Lagopus mutus (Montin, 1781) The Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) is a small (31-35 cm) bird in the grouse family. ...


Furthermore, in most recent loanwords, English makes no attempt to Anglicize the spellings of these words, and preserves the foreign spellings, even when they employ exotic conventions, like the Polish "cz" in "Czech" or the Old Norse "fj" in "fjord" (Although New Zealand English exclusively spells it "fiord"). In fact, instead of loans being respelled to conform to English spelling standards, sometimes the pronunciation changes as a result of pressure from the spelling. One example of this is the word "ski", which was adopted from Norwegian in the mid-18th century, although it didn't become common until 1900. It used to be pronounced "shee", which is similar to the Norwegian pronunciation, but the increasing popularity of the sport after the middle of the 20th century helped the "sk" pronunciation replace it. A loanword is a word directly taken into one language from another with little or no translation. ... This is the approximate extent of Old Norse and related languages in the early 10th century. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


The spelling of English continues to evolve. Many loanwords come from languages where the pronunciation of vowels corresponds to the way they were pronounced in Old English, which is similar to the Italian or Spanish pronunciation of the vowels, and is the value the vowel symbols [a], [e], [i], [o], and [u] have in the International Phonetic Alphabet. As a result, there is a somewhat regular system of pronouncing "foreign" words in English, and some borrowed words have had their spelling changed to conform to this system. For example, Hindu used to be spelled "Hindoo", and the name "Maria" used to be pronounced like the name "Mariah", but was changed to conform to this system. It has been argued that this influence probably started with the introduction of many Italian words into English during the Renaissance, in fields like music, from which come the words "andante", "viola", "forte", etc. The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a system of phonetic notation devised by linguists to accurately and uniquely represent each of the wide variety of sounds (phones or phonemes) used in spoken human language. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Raphael was famous for depicting illustrious figures of the Classical past with the features of his Renaissance contemporaries. ... Music is a form of expression in the medium of time using the structures of tones and silence. ...


Commercial advertisers have also had an effect on English spelling. In attempts to differentiate their products from others, they introduce new or simplified spellings like "lite" instead of "light", "thru" instead of "through", "smokey" instead of "smoky" (for "smokey bacon" flavour crisps), and "rucsac" instead of "rucksack". The spellings of personal names have also been a source of spelling innovations: affectionate versions of women's names that sound the same as men's names have been spelled differently: Nikki and Nicky, Toni and Tony, Jo and Joe.


Many simplifications and abbreviations are made in Instant Messaging or Chatting, for the sake of speed of messaging - e.g. "night" can be spelled as "nite" and "later" as "l8r". A screenshot of PowWow, one of the first instant messengers with a graphical user interface Instant messaging is the act of instantly communicating between two or more people over a network such as the Internet. ... Toasting, chatting, or DJing is the act of talking or chanting over a rhythm or beat. ...


As examples of the idiosyncratic nature of English spelling, the combination "ou" can be pronounced in at least eleven different ways: "famous", "journey", "cough", "dough", "bought", "loud", "tough", "should", "you", "flour", "tour"; and the vowel sound in "me" can be spelt in at least eleven different ways: "paediatric", "me", "seat", "seem", "ceiling", "people", "chimney", "machine", "siege", "phoenix", "lazy". (These examples assume a more-or-less standard non-regional British English accent. Other accents will vary.)


The state of English spelling

It has been shown that regular alphabetic spelling systems make languages easier to learn. Indeed, the concept of learning "spelling" seems very strange to literate speakers of languages such as Finnish or Spanish, as those languages' spelling systems are extremely regular. This is also the case with several abugida alphabets, such as Devanagari, used to write many languages of India. Vietnamese used to be written exclusively using Chinese characters, so that becoming literate in Vietnamese required years of study, and as a result, very few people were literate. However, after the introduction of a modified form of the Latin alphabet for writing Vietnamese, the writing system could be mastered by a native speaker with only a few hours or days of study, and literacy in Vietnamese is much more widespread now. English, it seems, is somewhere in between: its spelling system is highly irregular, but it is regular to some degree and mastery only requires knowledge of the 26 letters of the alphabet, whereas mastering written Chinese or Japanese is much more difficult, requiring the memorization of thousands of different characters. Studies have shown that dyslexia occurs more often (or at least is more noticeable) among speakers of languages such as English whose orthography differs heavily from the phonology than speakers of languages where the letter-sound correspondence is more regular. An abugida or alphasyllabary is a writing system composed of signs (graphemes) denoting consonants with an inherent following vowel, which are consistently modified to indicate other vowels (or, in some cases, the lack of a vowel). ... Rigveda manuscript in Devanagari (early 19th century) Devanāgarī (देवनागरी — in English pronounced ) (ISCII – IS13194:1991) [1] is an abugida alphabet used to write several Indian languages, including Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Bihari, Bhili, Konkani, Bhojpuri and Nepali from Nepal. ... 漢字 Chinese character in hànzì, hanja, kanji. ... The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ...


Spelling patterns

Sound to spelling correspondences

The following table shows for each sound, the various spelling patterns used to denote it. The symbol "•" stands for an intervening consonant. The letter sequences are in order of frequency with the most common first. Some of these patterns are very rare or unique, such as 'au' for the ah sound in laugh.

Consonants
IPA spelling example
/p/ p, pp, ph, pe, gh pill, happy, Phuket, tape, hiccough
/b/ b, bb, bh, be bit, rabbit, Bhutan, tribe
/t/ t, tt, ed, pt, th, ct, te ten, bitter, topped, ptomaine, thyme, ctenoid, hate
/d/ d, dd, ed, dh, de dive, ladder, failed, dharma, made
/g/ g, gg, gue, gh, gu go, stagger, catalogue, ghost, guilt
/k/ c, k, ck, ch, cc, qu, q, cq, cu, que, kk, kh, ke cat, key, tack, chord, account, liquor, Iraq, acquaint, biscuit, mosque, trekker, khan, make
/m/ m, mm, mb, mn, mh, me mine, hammer, climb, hymn, mho, lame
/n/ n, nn, kn, gn, pn, nh, cn, ne, mn nice, funny, knee, gnome, pneumonia, piranha, cnidarian, vane, mnemonic
/ŋ/ ng, n, ngue, ngh sing, link, tongue, Singh
/ɹ/ r, rr, wr, rh, rrh, re ray, parrot, wrong, rhyme, diarrhea, more
/f/ f, ph, ff, gh, pph, u fine, physical, off, laugh, sapphire, BR lieutenant
/v/ v, vv, f, ve vine, bovver, of, have
/θ/ th, chth, phth, tth thin, chthonic, phthisis, Matthew
/ð/ th, the them, breathe
/s/ s, c, ss, sc, st, ps, sch, cc, se, ce song, city, mess, scene, listen, psychology, schism, flaccid, horse, juice
/z/ s, z, x, zz, ss, ze has, zoo, xylophone, fuzz, scissors, breeze
/ʃ/ sh, ti, ci, ssi, si, ss, ch, s, sci, ce, sch, sc shin, nation, special, mission, expansion, tissue, machine, sugar, conscience, ocean, schist, crescendo
/ʒ/ si, s, g, z, j, zh, ti division, leisure, genre, seizure, jeté, Zhytomyr, equation
/tʃ/ ch, t, tch, ti, c, cz, tsch chin, nature, batch, mention, cello, Czech, Deutschmark
/dʒ/ g, j, dg, d, di, gi, ge, dj, gg magic, jump, ledger, graduate, soldier, Belgian, dungeon, Djibouti, suggest
/h/ h, wh, j, ch he, whom, fajita, chutzpah
/j/ y, i, j yes, onion, hallelujah
/l/ l, ll, lh, le line, hall, Lhasa, rule
/w/ w, u, o, ou we, queen, choir, Ouija board
/ʍ/ wh wheel
Vowels
IPA spelling example
/i/ e, y, ee, ea, e•e, i•e, ie, ei, ei•e, ey, ae, ay, oe, eo, is, eip, ie▪e, i, ea▪e, it, eigh, ois be, city, bee, beach, cede, machine, field, deceit, deceive, key, Caesar, quay, amoeba, people, debris, receipt, believe, ski, leave, esprit, Raleigh, chamois
/ɪ/ i, i•e, a•e, y, ie, ui, ei, ee, e, ia, u, o, u▪e, eig, ie•e bit, give, damage, myth, mischief, build, counterfeit, been, pretty, carriage, busy, women, minute, sovereign, sieve
/u/ oo, u, o, u•e, ou, ew, ue, o•e, ui, eu, oe, ough, wo, ioux, ieu, ault, oup tool, luminous, who, flute, soup, jewel, true, lose, fruit, maneuver, canoe, through, two, Sioux, US lieutenant, Sault Sainte Marie, coup
/ʊ/ u, oo, ou, o, w full, look, should, wolf, cwm
/ei/ a, a•e, ai, ay, eigh, ea, ei, ey, au, et, er, ee, aigh, ie, eig, eg paper, rate, rain, pay, eight, steak, veil, obey, gauge, ballet, dossier, matinee, straight, US lingerie, reign, thegn
/ə/ a, e, o, u, ai, ou, eig, y, ah, ough, gh another, anthem, awesome, atrium, mountain, callous, foreign, beryl, Messiah, BR borough, Edinburgh
/o(u)/ o, o•e, oa, ow, ou, oe, oo, eau, oh, ew, au, aoh, ough so, bone, boat, know, soul, foe, brooch, beau, oh, sew, mauve, pharoah, furlough
/ɛ/ e, ea, a, ai, ie, eo, u, ae, ay, ei, ue, eb, eg met, weather, many, said, friend, jeopardy, bury, aesthetic, says, heifer, guess, debt, phlegm
/æ/ a, au, ai, a▪e, al, ag, ach hand, laugh, plaid, have, salmon, diaphragm, drachm
/ʌ/ u, o, ou, o•e, oo, oe sun, son, touch, come, flood, does
/ɔ/ a, au, aw, ough, augh, oa, al, uo fall, author, jaw, bought, caught, broad, walk, BR fluorine
/ɑ/ o, a, eau, ach lock, watch, bureaucracy, yacht
/ai/ i•e, i, y, igh, ie, ei, eigh, uy, ai, ey, ye, eye, y▪e, ae, ais, is, ig, ic, ay fine, Christ, try, high, tie, eidos, height, buy, ailurophobia, geyser, dye, eye, type, maestro, aisle, isle, sign, indict, tayra
/ɑr/ ar, er, ear, a•e, aa car, sergeant, heart, are, bazaar
/εr/ er, ar, ere, are, aire, eir, air, aa stationery, stationary, where, ware, millionaire, heir, hair, Aaron
/ɔɪ/ oi, oy, aw, uoy oy•e foil, toy, lawyer, buoy, gargoyle
/aʊ/ ou, ow, ough, au out, now, bough, tau
/ɚ/ er, or, ur, ir, yr, our, ear, err, eur, yrrh, ar, oeu, olo fern, worst, turn, thirst, myrtle, courage, earth, err, amateur, myrrh, grammar, hors d'oeuvre, colonel
/ju/ u, u•e, eu, ue, iew, eau, ieu, ueue, ui, ewe, ew music, use, feud, cue, view, beautiful, adieu, queue, nuisance, ewe, few

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a system of phonetic notation devised by linguists to accurately and uniquely represent each of the wide variety of sounds (phones or phonemes) used in spoken human language. ... The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a system of phonetic notation devised by linguists to accurately and uniquely represent each of the wide variety of sounds (phones or phonemes) used in spoken human language. ...

Spelling to sound correspondences

Notes:

  • The dash has 2 different meanings. A dash after the letter indicates that it must be at the beginning of a syllable, eg j- in jumper and ajar. A dash before the letter indicates that it cannot be at the beginning of a word, eg -ck in sick and ticket.
  • More specific rules take precedence over more general ones, eg 'c- before e, i or y' takes precedence over 'c'.
  • Where the letter combination is described as 'word-final', inflectional suffixes may be added without changing the pronunciation, eg catalogues.
  • The dialect used is RP.
  • Isolated foreign borrowings are excluded.
Combinations of consonant and vowel letters
Spelling Major value (IPA) Examples of major value Minor value (IPA) Examples or minor value Exceptions
qu- /kw/ queen, quick /k/ liquor, mosquito
-cqu /kw/ acquaint, acquire
unstressed ex- before a vowel /ɪgz/ exist, examine
unstressed ci- before a vowel /ʃ/ special, gracious
unstressed sci- before a vowel /ʃ/ conscience
unstressed -si before a vowel /ʃ/ expansion /ʒ/ division, illusion
unstressed -ssi before a vowel /ʃ/ mission
unstressed -ti before a vowel /ʃ/ nation, ambitious
unstressed -ture /tʃə/ nature, picture
unstressed -sure /ʒə/ leisure, treasure
unstressed -zure /ʒə/ seizure
unstressed -ften /fən/ soften, often
unstressed -sten /sən/ listen, fasten
unstressed -stle /səl/ whistle, rustle
word-final -le after a consonant /əl/ little, table
word-final -re after a consonant /ə/ metre, fibre
word-final -ce /s/ face, prince
word-final -ngue /ŋ/ tongue
word-final -gue /g/ catalogue, plague, colleague
word-final -que /k/ mosque, bisque
word-final -ed morpheme after /t/ or /d/ /ɪd/ waited
word-final -ed morpheme after a voiceless sound /t/ topped
word-final -ed morpheme after a voiced sound /d/ failed, ordered
word-final -es morpheme /ɪz/ washes, boxes
Consonants
Spelling Major value (IPA) Examples of major value Minor value (IPA) Examples of minor value Exceptions
b, -bb /b/ bit, rabbit
c- before e, i or y /s/ centre, city, cyst, face, prince /tʃ/ cello
c, -cc /k/ cat, account
ch /tʃ/ chin /k/ chord, archaic /ʃ/ machine
-ck /k/ tack, ticket
ct- /t/ ctenoid
d, -dd /d/ dive, ladder /dʒ/ graduate
-dg /dʒ/ ledger
f, -ff /f/ fine, off /v/ of
g- before e, i or y /dʒ/ gentle, magic, gyrate, page /g/ get, give
g, -gg /g/ go, stagger
gh- /g/ ghost, ghastly
-gh dough, high /f/ laugh, enough
-ght /t/ right, daughter, bought
gn- /n/ gnome, gnaw
h- after ex exhibit, exhaust
h- /h/ he, alcohol ∅ vehicle
j- /dʒ/ jump, ajar
k /k/ key, bake
kn- /n/ knee, knock
l, -ll /l/ line, hall
m, -mm /m/ mine, hammer
-mb /m/ climb, plumber
mn- /n/ mnemonic
-mn /m/ hymn, autumn
-n before k /ŋ/ link, plonk
n, -nn /n/ nice, funny
-ng /ŋ/ sing, longing /ŋg/ England, finger, stronger
p, -pp /p/ pill, happy
ph /f/ physical, photograph
pn- /n/ pneumonia, pneumatic
ps- /s/ psychology, psychic
pt- /t/ ptomaine
q /k/ Iraq
r, -rr /ɹ/ ray, parrot
rh, -rrh /ɹ/ rhyme, diarrhoea
-s- between vowels /z/ rose, prison /s/ house, base
word-final -s morpheme after a voiceless sound /s/ pets, shops
word-final -s morpheme after a voiced sound /z/ beds, magazines
s, -ss /s/ song, ask, message /z/ scissors, dessert, dissolve /ʃ/ sugar, tissue
sc- before e, i or y /s/ scene, scissors, scythe /sk/ sceptic
sch- /sk/ school /ʃ/ schist, schedule /s/ schism
sh /ʃ/ shin
t, -tt /t/ ten, bitter
-tch /tʃ/ batch, kitchen
th /θ/ or /ð/ thin, them /t/ thyme, Thames
v, -vv /v/ vine, bovver
w- /w/ we
wh- before o /h/ who, whole
wh- /w/ (/ʍ/ in dialects where this phoneme exists) wheel
wr- /ɹ/ wrong
x- /z/ xylophone
-x /ks/ box
y- /j/ yes
z, -zz /z/ zoo, fuzz

Inflection or inflexion refers to a modification or marking of a word (or more precisely lexeme) so that it reflects grammatical (i. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a system of phonetic notation devised by linguists to accurately and uniquely represent each of the wide variety of sounds (phones or phonemes) used in spoken human language. ... The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a system of phonetic notation devised by linguists to accurately and uniquely represent each of the wide variety of sounds (phones or phonemes) used in spoken human language. ... In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest lingual unit that carries a semantic interpretation. ... In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest lingual unit that carries a semantic interpretation. ... Phoneticians define phonation as use of the laryngeal system to generate an audible source of acoustic energy, i. ... In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest lingual unit that carries a semantic interpretation. ... Phoneticians define phonation as use of the laryngeal system to generate an audible source of acoustic energy, i. ... In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest lingual unit that carries a semantic interpretation. ... The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a system of phonetic notation devised by linguists to accurately and uniquely represent each of the wide variety of sounds (phones or phonemes) used in spoken human language. ... The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a system of phonetic notation devised by linguists to accurately and uniquely represent each of the wide variety of sounds (phones or phonemes) used in spoken human language. ... In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest lingual unit that carries a semantic interpretation. ... Phoneticians define phonation as use of the laryngeal system to generate an audible source of acoustic energy, i. ... In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest lingual unit that carries a semantic interpretation. ... Phoneticians define phonation as use of the laryngeal system to generate an audible source of acoustic energy, i. ... In human language, a phoneme is a set of phones (speech sounds or sign elements) that are cognitively equivalent. ...

See also

The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... The factual accuracy of this article is disputed. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... The orthodox spellings of common words are often altered to make a political point, particularly in informal writing on the Internet, but also in some serious political writing that opposes the status quo. ... A large portion of the technical and scientific lexicon of English and other Western European languages consists of classical compounds. ... For the purposes of this article, any word which has appeared in a recognised general English dictionary published in the 20th century or later is considered a candidate. ... There are seemingly endless debates over which is the longest word in English, demonstrating that the idea of what constitutes a word is not as straightforward as it seems. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Ghoti is an imaginary word used to illustrate irregularities in English spelling. ... In English spelling, the three letter rule states that only function words may have fewer than three letters. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... This list of common spelling mistakes is used to correct typos throughout Wikipedia. ... I before e, except after c is a mnemonic used to help elementary school students remember how to spell certain words in the English language. ... Silent E (sometimes described by teachers as a magic E) is a writing convention in English spelling: a silent letter e that appears at the end of a word. ... This table lists several transcription schemes from the Greek alphabet to the Latin alphabet. ... It is often said that, in English, the letter q must always be followed by the letter u. ...

External links

  • Teaching Spelling - Information on teaching English spelling
  • Rules for English Spelling: Adding Suffixes, QU Rule, i before e, Silent e, 'er' vs. 'or'
  • White Paper Research based Tutoring of English Spelling
  • Hou tu pranownse Inglish describes rules which predict a word's pronunciation from its spelling with 85% accuracy
  • Basic Roman Spelling of English
  • Daniel360 on English spelling reform (with a little help from Italian phonetics)

  Results from FactBites:
 
English spelling - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2146 words)
The regular spelling system of Old English was swept away by the Norman Conquest, and English itself was eclipsed by French for three centuries, eventually emerging with its spelling much influenced by French.
The spelling of Middle English, such as in the writings of Geoffrey Chaucer, is very irregular and inconsistent, with the same word being spelled differently, sometimes even in the same sentence.
English, it seems, is somewhere in between: its spelling system is highly irregular, but it is regular to some degree and mastery only requires knowledge of the 26 letters of the alphabet, whereas mastering written Chinese or Japanese is much more difficult, requiring the memorization of thousands of different characters.
British English - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (654 words)
British English (BrE) is a term used to differentiate between the form of the English language used in the British Isles and those used elsewhere.
Although British English is often used to denote the English spelling and lexicon used outside the U.S., this usage is not completely accurate, as almost all British spelling rules and the vast majority of British vocabulary are actually shared among the whole English-speaking world outside the U.S. (except Canada as far as lexicon is concerned).
Historically, the widespread usage of English across the world is attributed to the former power of the British Empire, and hence the most common form of English used by the British ruling class that of south-east England (the area around the capital, London, and the ancient English university towns of Oxford and Cambridge).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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