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SPELLING See also “Phonology”. by Don L. F. Nilsen and Alleen Pace Nilsen. Spelling Perspective!.

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spelling see also phonology

SPELLINGSee also “Phonology”

by Don L. F. Nilsen

and Alleen Pace Nilsen

slide3

OUR ENGLISH ALPHABET HAS ONLY 26 LETTERS TO REPRESENT 45 DIFFERENT SOUNDSAND SOME OF OUR LETTERS (LIKE C, Q, H, AND X) AREN’T VERY USEFULENGLISH HAS 5 VOWEL LETTERS TO REPRESENT 13 VOWEL SOUNDSAND WE USE THEM ALL UP FOR OUR SHORT VOWELS, AS IN: pat, pet, pit, pot, and putSO WE DON’T HAVE ANY LETTERS LEFT FOR OUR LONG VOWELS, AND THE RESULT IS CHAOS

slide4
SO THIS IS HOW WE SPELL OUR LONG VOWELS

A, E, I, O, and U:

A: He ate the freight. It was his fate. How do you spell 8/eight?

E: The silly amoeba stole the key to the machine. or

Did he believe that Caesar could see the people?

I: I write eye-rhyme, like “She cited the sight of the site.”

O: Our chauffeur, although he stubbed his toe, yeomanly towed four more boards through the open door of the depot.

U: blue, blew, gnu, Hugh, new, Pooh, Sioux, through, two

violations of the phonemic principle
VIOLATIONS OF THE PHONEMIC PRINCIPLE

SAME PRONUNCIATION BUT DIFFERENT SPELLINGS (DIFFERENT MEANINGS): cite-sight-site, marry-Mary-merry, pair-pare-pear, there-their-they're

(Nilsen & Nilsen 2, 8)

SAME SPELLINGS BUT DIFFERENT PRONUNCIATIONS (SAME WORD FAMILIES): nation-national, obscene-obscenity, sign-signature, go-gone, ct. soup-supper

(Nilsen & Nilsen 21-24)

consonant grades full h marked reduced zero
CONSONANT GRADES:FULL, H-MARKED, REDUCED, ZERO

REDUCED GRADE:act-action-actual, critic-criticize, medicine-medication, part-partial, rite-ritual, seize-seizure

MARKED GRADE: chip, cough, hiccough, enough, phone, ship, this, thought (NOTE: The <h> of ch, gh, ph, sh, and th indicate that these are strange kinds of c, g, p, s, and t respectively.

(Nilsen & Nilsen 25-28)

ZERO GRADE: acknowledge-knowledge; amnesia-mnemonic; though, thought, through, thumb-thimble-Thumbelina

(Nilsen & Nilsen 11)

more consonant assimilations
MORE CONSONANT ASSIMILATIONS

MODAL PLUS "HAVE" ASSIMILATION: coulda, mighta, shoulda, woulda

MODAL PLUS "TO" ASSIMILATION: gonna, hafta, hasta, supposta, useta

CONTRACTIONS: *ain’t, can’t, couldn’t, won’t, wouldn’t, shan’t, shouldn’t, *mayn’t, (mightn’t, mustn’t)

consonant assimilation for ease and speed
CONSONANT ASSIMILATIONFOR EASE AND SPEED

VERB 3rd sing pres ind: sings, hits

VERB past: buzzed, jumped

VERB past part: popped, killed

NOUN plurals: cats, dogs

NOUN possessives: Mike's, Fred's

ADJ substantive: its, ours

(Nilsen & Nilsen 14-17)

PREFIX: (NOTE: im- assimilates as follows): illegal, immature, impotent, indelicate, irreligious

(Nilsen & Nilsen 12)

assimilation palatalization
ASSIMILATION: PALATALIZATION

When a word that ends with a /t/ is followed by a –ual, -ial, or -ion ending, the palatal vowel <y-> changes the /t/ sound into a /č/ sound.

addict  addiction

act  actual or action

part  partial

predict  prediction

(Nilsen & Nilsen 9-10)

assimilation stops becomes continuants
ASSIMILATION: STOPS BECOMES CONTINUANTS

Because /k/ is a stop, and vowels are continuants, an affix beginning with a vowel often changes /k/ to /s/.

critic  criticize or criticism

fanatic  fanaticism

romantic  romanticism

This ability of the <c> to have two different pronunciations allows us to spell these words the same way even though they are pronounced diffently. The benefit of this is that it helps us to see that these words are in the same word-family even though the <c> part is pronounced differently.

(Nilsen & Nilsen 18)

consonant dissimilation for clarity
CONSONANT DISSIMILATION: FOR CLARITY

VERB 3rd person singular present indicative: buzzes

VERB past tense: heated

VERB past participle: spotted

NOUN plural: horses

NOUN possessive: Max’s

NOUN: belfry

ADJ: ignoble

(Nilsen & Nilsen 14-16, 18-20)

dissimilation again
DISSIMILATION AGAIN

“-al” is a suffix that changes a Noun into an Adjective, but when the Noun ends in /l/, dissimilation occurs:

“anecdotal” but “angular”

“penal” but “perpendicular”

“spiritual” but “similar”

“venal” but “velar”

(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 277)

vowel grades long short schwa r and zero
VOWEL GRADES: LONG, SHORT, SCHWA, R, AND ZERO

VOWEL REDUCTION (SCHWA GRADE): natural-naturalize-naturalization, photo-photograph-photographic-photography, s'pose-suppose-supposition, telegraph- telegraphic-telegraphy

VOWEL REDUCTION (-R or –N GRADE): ; pin-pen; absurd, bird, heard, herd, word

VOWEL REDUCTION (ZERO GRADE): ambidextrous-dexterity, busy-business

(Nilsen & Nilsen 21-25)

vowel reduction and assimilation
VOWEL REDUCTION AND ASSIMILATION

BRITISH VOWEL REDUCTION: aluminum, laboratory, secretary

LONG AND SHORT GRADES: do-done, go-gone, nation-national, obscene-obscenity, punitive-punish, sign-signature, soup-supper

(Nilsen & Nilsen 21-25)

vowel reduction and word stress
vowel reduction and word stress

When a suffix changes a word from one Part of Speech to another, this suffix affects which syllables are stressed, and which are unstressed and can change to different vowel grades like schwa or short grade:

historical considerations
HISTORICAL CONSIDERATIONS

TRACES: ic-ich-I, knight, hostel-hôtel- hotel, scribere-écrire-scribe

DOUBLETS: chief-chef, dish-discus, hotel-hostel, ship-skiff, shirt-skirt

GRIMM'S LAW: courage-hearty, corn-horn, decade-ten, dozen-twelve, dent-tooth, pedestal-footnote, padre-father, plate-flat, pyre-fire

(Nilsen & Nilsen 28-34)

more historic considerations
MORE HISTORIC CONSIDERATIONS

GERMANIC UMLAUT: child, goose, man, mouse, woman (cf. book-beech)

GREEK RHOTOCISM: genus-generic; opus-opera

ENGLISH: schwa and silent e

ACRONYMS AS WORDS: AID, AIDS, BIRP, CREEP, GASP, MANURE, MASH, NOW, NUT, SAG, VISTA, ZIP

foreign language influences
FOREIGN-LANGUAGE INFLUENCES

BORROWINGS: chaise longue, cole slaw, frankfurter, hamburger, lingerie, rouge, schnitzel, wiener

BILINGUAL COGNATES: actual, embarazada, grocería, libraria, molestar, principio, (cf. blanket [white], porpoise [pig fish], puny [puis né], walrus [whale horse])

INDO-EUROPEAN ABLAUT: sing-sang-song

MODAL PAST-SUBJUNCTIVE: can-could, may-might, shall-should, will-would

final thoughts from ogden nash
FINAL THOUGHTS FROM OGDEN NASH

The one-l lama,

He’s a priest.

The two-l llama,

He’s a beast.

And I will bet

A silk pajama

There isn’t any Three-l lllama.

(Fromkin Rodman Hyams [2007] 290)

In response to this poem one wit remarked, “A three-alarmer (three-l lllama) is a really big fire.”