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SpellingRules

By June Lane,2014-05-20 20:10
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SpellingRules

Spelling RulesClassical Foundations Spelling Rules Page

    This page is inspired by (and much borrowed from) the work of Linda Shrock Taylor, Dolores G. Hiskes Phonics Pathways, and my own experience in teaching reading and spelling for beginner pupils and pupils lacking a foundation in spelling principles.

    Today, schools tend to teach a mixture of methods (in the great drive to plurality and polylogism) predominantly employing forms of look-say, in which pupils have to learn ten words a week for the school year, which means that if they are consistently given out, pupils may learn 380 words a year. To become a competent reader and speller, Linda advises that we need to learn about 200,000 words, which at ten words a week would take us 384 years!! Yikes. On the other hand, the 29 spelling rules give access to most of the words in the English language!

    Critics enjoy pointing out the exceptions to the rules, but there can only be exceptions if there are rules in the first place. Ignoring the rules damages our ability to spell, write, and read. Critics also miss the fact that their exceptions are often covered by other rules or are imported foreign words or remainders from the long and convoluted history of the English language with its many dialects and imports. Often an exception to the rule has an entertaining history to uncover - e.g., want comes from Scandanavian words waante and wont, evolving into the wont sound we now use with the want spelling; come derives from cum and kom, and the e was put their by Medieval scribes desirous of following some fashion or other (source: Oxford English Dictionary).

    The table below is a work in progress: teaching (and learning) the rules with pupils draws attention to the exceptions or problems in explaining the rules; I have adapted and will no doubt continue to adapt the order, or emphasis, according to pupils reactions and my own thinking. Thus far, I have tried to begin with the simpler rules before advancing to more complex rules just as with reading, we begin with short vowel sounds before moving onto long vowel sounds and their respective spellings (c-a-t before d-a-y, and d-a-y before m-a-k-e or r-a-i-d or r-e-i-g-n!).

    The following rules are designed to help spelling to expand reading abilities, we need to know how to pronounce the vowels (a,e,i,y,o,u), consonant blends (bl, fr, thr, etc.) and the varieties of diphthongs (oo, au, ou, ea, ai, etc.) and silent letters (climb, know, race) that the English language throws our way. For that, the reader should embrace phonics not only do phonic methods work effectively but they are also the methods by which we begin our learning of other languages! Schools don seem to put the two together though (ooh neat

    combination there ough has five main sounds, -uff, uh, ow, or, off), for when

    we pick up a French dictionary, we are provided with phonetic instructions on how to sound the words so why not start our kids off on the same path in their own tongue?

Constructive comments from considerate people always welcome.

Dr Alexander Moseley.

     Spelling Rules

     Spelling Rule Number and NameRuleExamplesNotes

     1. The q and u rule

     The letter q is always followed by a u and says /kw/queen, quiet,

     quickqueue comes from the French!

     2. s and x

     s is never followed by x.

     3. z rule

     Words beginning with /z/ sound are spelled with a z. Words ending in z

     double the z, but single short syllable words ending in /z/ can also end

     in s.zoo

     zirconium

     jazz

     buzz

     is

     as

     has

     his

     4. ay? or ai?

     ay is used at the end of words and says /ā/, while ai is used between

     consonants and usually says /ā/ but in one case it can say /e/bay

     day

     clay

     main

     paint

     complaint

     frail

     NB saidAs far as I can tell, said originated from short vowel Old English

     and Germanic roots; by the 13th C said has replaced seien and secgan.

     Earlier Indo-European root is sekw

     5. No i endings

     Never end an English word with an i y does the job.cry my shy

     flyException: hi! which used to be y till the 19thC.

     6. i and y rules

     The letters i and y may say, in order of frequency, //, /ī/, /ē/,

    /y/in

     silent police onions

     gym my baby yo-yos.

     7. Long and short i and o rules

     Letters i and o say /ī/ and /ō/ when followed by two consonants,

    and

     and if followed by double ll.find

     kind

     told

     sold

     kill

     thrill

     doll

     follow

     8. Beginning k rule

     The /k/ sound at the beginning of a word is spelled k if followed by e or

     i.keg

     key

     kit

     kind

     kickSimilarly with consonant blends sketch

     skim

     skirt

     9. ending /k/ rule

     /k/ is spelled ck at the end of short syllable words, -k at the end of

     long syllable words, but c at the end of multi-syllable wordslack

     lick

     lock

     luck

     meek

     seek

     ark

     park

     traffic

     frolic

     sonic

     panic

     terrific

     fantasticCompare hick with hike, Mick with Mike

     10 Double l, f, s, z rules

     When a single short-vowel word ends in l, f, s, or z, we double the

     letters to keep the short vowel soundtell

     will

     miff

     hiss

     jazz

     buzz

     11. The c rules

     The letter c followed by e, i, or y says /s/; followed by another vowel c

     is said as /k/cent, city, cycle

     cat, cot, cut

     scar, scotch, scuttle

     12. The g rules

     The g followed by e, i, or y is usually says as /j/ but can say /g/.

     Followed by any other letter g says /g/.gentle, giant, gypsum; BUT get,

     girl, give.

     gap, got, gut

     13. Open syllable rule

     Vowels a, e, o, and u say their names (ā ē ō ū) at the end of an open

     syllable.grāvy; mē; ōpen; mūsicNB two letter words ending in e always have

     an ē sound.

     14. r rules the vowels

     The letter r changes vowel sounds ar usually becomes // but can

     become //; -er usually becomes /ur/; -ir becomes /ur/; or usually sounds

     /or/ or /ur/ after w-; ur usually becomes /ur/.

     When r is mixed in with a, e, or i, it may sound // cart, farm

     war, warm, warp

     farmer, lover

     firm, birth

     form, doctor

     fur, spur

     air, fair, bear, their, heirSee /ur/ sounds.

     15. i before e except after c

     i usually comes before e unless it follows c; if we say /ā/, we can also

     use ei.believe

     piece

     niece

     receive

     deceive

     conceit

     ceiling

     /ā/

     vein

     neighbourExceptions:

     neither

     foreign

     sovereign

     seized

     leisure

     either

     weird

     protein

     heifer

     Silent final e rules

     Silent final e has several jobs to do:

     16a.

     Magic eSilent final e makes the preceding vowel say its name.name, race,

     hive, gene, hopemost common use of silent final e. Note 7b though!

     16b.

     No u v endingsSilent final e ensures that we never end an English word

     with u or v.give, have, love;

     true blue glueNote how love is not lōv, but l ends in a v but employs

     an e to secure the rule

     16c.

     e softens c or gSilent final e softens a preceding c or g (cf. rule

     3)chance, bodice,

     charge, lunge,Complex rule that captures other rules too.

     16d.

     Syllables have vowels!Silent final e ensures that final syllables have a

     vowellittle bottle, double trouble, uncle dabble,Hear the second syllble

     l it needs a vowel, so e does the job.

     16e.

     Silent final e helps to distinguish between homophonesor ore

     for fore

     16f.

     Silent final e ensures that a singular noun (or -s adjective) does not

     end in s nurse, purse, dense

     16g.

     e adds lengthSilent final e adds length to short main idea wordsawe

     ewe

     eye

     16h.

     olde English wordsSilent final e that was once pronouncedgiraffe, treatise

     Complex sounds

     17.

     /ur/ soundsFive spellings for /ur/: er, ur, ir, wor, earher nurse first

     works earlyin order of frequency.

     18.

     Three d rule-ed has three sounds: words ending in /d/ or /t/ are sounded

     /ed/; voiced consonant endings make d say /d/; unvoiced consonant

     endings make d say /t/parted parte

     sided sidd

     lived livd

     jumped - jumpt

     19.

     dge ruledge /j/ can only be used after a short vowelbridge

     fudge

     badge

     20.

     sh rulessh is used at the beginning or ending of a base word (she, dish)

     and at the end of a syllable (finish), but not at the beginning of a

     second syllable (except for hips_she

     shed

     dish

     lush

     finish

     punish

     worship, friendship

     21.

     ti, si, ci, rulesti, si, ci, say /sh/ at the beginning of a second or

     subsequent syllablenation

     potion

     emotion

     session

     facial

     22.

     si following s rulesi says /sh/ when the preceding syllable ends in s or

     when a base word ending in s changessession

     possession

     discussion

     tense = tension (dropping silent final e)

     23.

     /zh/ soundssi may also say /zh/ as does sure following an e

     syllable.division

     occasion

     pleasure

     leisure

     measure

     Changes to words rules

     24.

     Short sound syllables double up suffixesA short syllable word with V-C

     form doubles up the last letter with suffixes (unless already doubled).

     Long vowel words do not double up.hop = hopping

     throb = throbbing

     flap = flapping

     fun = funny

     bun = bunny

     spill = spilled

     thrill = thrilling

     hope = hoping

     smoke = smoking

     pine = pining

     dine = dining

     muse = musingOkay, buns and bunnies are different entities, but it sounds

     fun.

     25.

     2-1-1 accented second syllable ruleWords that have two syllables which

     accent the second and which are followed by one consonant need to double

     that consonant for any vowel suffixes. If the second syllable is not

     accented, do not double the consonant.begin = beginning

     BUT

     ener = entering

     proft = profiting

     budgt = budgeting

     26.

     Drop the e ruleWords ending in silent final e drop the e with suffixes

     beginning with a vowel.come = coming

     hope = hoping

     i.e., avoids an awkward ei conjunction (comeing, hopeing) that would

     suggest to pronounce the e

     27.

     Doubling f, s and lThe letters l, f, and s are often doubled when ending a

     one syllable wordwill

     fill

     pull

     miss

     kisssometimes applies to two syllable words like recess, ingress, digress

     28.

     Drop the first l ruleAll written alone as ll, but when used as a prefix

     one l is droppedall = always, almost

     29.

     Drop the last l ruleTill and full lose an l when used as suffixestill =

     until

     full = beautiful

     30.

     y to i rulesy changes to i with suffixes except ng or when the y is

     preceded with a u.worry worried

     BUT worrying

     hurry hurried

     BUT hurrying

     cry cries, cried

     BUT crying

     funny funniest

     rely reliable

     buy = buys, buying

     31.

     c to k suffix ruleA word ending in c changes to -ck for the subsequent

     suffixmimic = mimicking

     panic = panicked

     picnic = picnicking

Plurals

    Usually add an s

    unless ending in h, -ch, -tch, z, or s = end in es /ez/ (dishes, witches) Words ending in y = ies (bunnies)

    Words ending in f = ves (loaves, wives, wolves)

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