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The Mechanics of English Spelling

The Mechanics of English Spelling


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Published by AVKO Foundation
This is a pamphlet detailing the various patterns of English Spelling (in a condensed form); see The Patterns of English Spelling for a complete listing of phonic and word family spelling patterns in English. This is intended especially for reading instructors, for educational conferences/symposia, and a quick reference.
This is a pamphlet detailing the various patterns of English Spelling (in a condensed form); see The Patterns of English Spelling for a complete listing of phonic and word family spelling patterns in English. This is intended especially for reading instructors, for educational conferences/symposia, and a quick reference.

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The Mechanics of English Spelling

by Don McCabe


Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation, Inc. Printed in the United States of America. Publisher's Cataloging in Publication Data McCabe, Donald J. 1. Spelling Miscellanea 2. Curriculum Miscellanea 3. Literacy and Tutor Reference Tool. Library of Congress Subject Headings: Spelling, Curriculum Library of Congress Classification Number: LB1050.2F79 Library of Congress Card Number: To be determined Dewey Decimal Classification Number 428.4 ISBN: 1-56400-120-2

AVKO is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization For information on AVKO's services, its educational materials, or for a free catalog, visit the website: www.avko.org AVKO Educational Research Foundation 3084 Willard Road Birch Run, MI 48415 Telephone (810) 686-9283 Fax (810) 686-1101

Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation, Inc.

editors of educational magazines. If they are the world's worst speller and if they also happen to be teachers. how can anyone? So why bother? It's no big deal. Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation. it seems that there must be at least twenty million world's worst spellers. superintendents of schools. Closed minds are never opened by simple truths. That is part of the problem. "I'm the world's worst speller. Is there a solution? I think so. But the solution certainly will not be doing more of what we have always been doing. What is so frustrating is that many of these self-proclaimed world's worst spellers are in a position to help others become good spellers. But for those who do not consider themselves "the world's worst speller" there is a chance that they can listen and become part of the solution rather than part of the problem." Even if it is a logical impossibility. But they have a built-in rationalization that justifies their non-action. . So what's the answer? Perhaps there is none for them. curriculum supervisors.3 The Mechanics of English Spelling Everywhere I go I hear somebody say. or leaders of educational organizations. And I think I have met almost half of them. and if they can't learn to spell. Inc.

What have they learned? Unfortunately. Learning the 1. Results: Students who do manage to learn these words as they might 1. . Correcting students' misspellings on papers. will still misspell 10% of all the words they write. they have learned that they are dumb.4 What are some of the things that we have always been doing? Giving students words to study.000 most frequently used words that account for 90% of all normal writing. Students generally spend a total of two seconds looking at what the system has carefully taught them is important (the grade) and then crumple up the paper and throw it away. They can memorize more of the spellings than C and A students have to (e. etc).000 different telephone numbers. 6 words) and still fail because 6 words out of 15 isn't enough to pass. Results: A-students already know at least 13 out of the 15 words given for study (or 18 out of the 20. Results: Teachers spend countless hours carefully marking all mistakes.g.students are lucky to already know any of the words given. C-students already know about half the words (8) and memorize correctly about half of the words they need to learn (4). Inc. D. Can you imagine how frustrating it has to be if you had to stop and use a dictionary for every tenth word? I would have had to stop twice just in the last sentence! Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation.. 22 out of the 25.& E.

(Fitzsimmons. 1990) Systematic teaching of the differences between spoken and written language. McCabe. Even today. the elisions and omissions of sounds -. the odds are that your nearest university library doesn't even have a copy of The Patterns of English Spelling (McCabe. 1991). Inc.the "Whudjuh Git" for "What did you get?" (McCabe. i. (Webb. 1992). there has not been a complete compilation of all the patterns and all the words that follow these patterns in a format that is usable by either teachers or researchers. (McCabe. 1978) Carefully programmed and sequenced presentations of words that follow regular patterns. And the mechanics of the code (not the code itself) was not really discovered until this compilation of the patterns was almost completed.e. Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation.. . the researchers. Loomer. 1991) Some of the things that work but haven't been tried! Systematic teaching of the mechanics of the code/s we use in English spelling. So we cannot easily blame the scholars.5 What are some of the things that have worked? Student self-correction. Why haven't these techniques been tried? Up until recently. or the teachers for not knowing that which was not available to them.

The eight letter word precious can be correctly spelled by less than half the adult population. Prefix #1 = mis cf (1) long distance Prefix #2 = under cf.L.S.) (C. ABCD Suffix = ing cf.D. A C218B00D3A1 31188080822 B 1 (800) ABCD-123 1 (800) 228-8813 (O. Let's first of all analyze the big word misunderstanding and compare it to the Orton Dyslexia Society's telephone number. For example which numbers would be easier to learn? Those in column A or in Column B. . 123 Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation.S. Let's take two words precious which has only eight letters and misunderstanding which has fifteen letters.C.L. (800) toll free Base = stand cf.) number is easier to learn than the number of the Contact Literacy Center (C. And the Orton Dyslexia Society's (O.C) Obviously Column B is easier. Inc. Yet four out of five can spell the bigger word. What is true about learning telephone numbers is also true to a greater extent in learning the spellings of words. misunderstanding.6 Premise: The difficulty in learning a telephone number is directly related to the ease of learning the patterns embedded in it. The reason lies in the patterns which each word contains and whether or not there has been much of an opportunity for these patterns to be learned.D.) because of its special combination of patterns.

middle school or high school text that we have ever seen. The other base has more than one syllable. We hope that it soon will be standard teaching and common knowledge. One base has one syllable only. Of even more consequence is the fact that there are two kinds of bases. this simple concept of a word containing a BASE sound is not taught in any elementary school. . Although the concepts of prefixes and suffixes have been taught for years and years. Inc. (See chart on next page) Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation. It may have almost any combination of prefixes and suffixes.7 word Example: misunderstandings prefixes mis under BASE stand suffixes ing s Any word in the English language may be defined as having a BASE sound that conveys meaning.

those of us who really care about solving the literacy problem. So? So. Can teachers be blamed for not teaching that which they haven't been taught? No. Right? Can students be blamed for not learning what they haven't been taught? No. . we cannot expect them to now read to learn especially when in grades four on up the curriculum is loaded with new words that have power bases not simple bases. The following two paragraphs are exactly the same as the first with just a few Common Power Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation.g. One may be called COMMON because most ordinary words in our language are of this nature and follow this pattern. The same cannot be said about the words with power bases. Yet they are easier to read and spell. stepping flashing playing 3. if they haven't been taught the spelling patterns of power words. Why? Because the base words are taught and the suffix -ing is taught.. Sample Words with Sample Words with Common Bases: Power Bases: 1. precious as in (Cannot be reduced to one meaningful syllable) misunderstandings There are two distinct types of BASES in the English Language. The second may be called POWER because most of these words in our language carry special or significant meanings. On the next page read the first paragraph. stand e. No matter how well students learn to read in grades one through three. Inc. must make the educational world aware of this simple concept. crucial union patient 2.g. standing stamping skipping 4.. vision mirage unique Notice that the sample words with common bases have more letters and more consonant blends than the sample words with power bases.8 BASE One syllable Polysyllabic e.

Wun may bee Kawld COMMON bekuz most ordinary wurds in ar language ar uv this nature and FAHloh this pattern. aye Oy! Ow! Shaper/s Vowel AY OH YH OY OW Shaper/s - Some words are shaped only in front. For example: Word A oh I. it is most important to learn the common words first. Breaking this code might have been easy for you. For example: Word Shaper/s Vowel Shaper/s Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation. But most people would need to have it taught to them.smhishr are of this msyitr and follow this [syyrtm. please notice that the amount of mental effort required to break them interfered with your immediate fast comprehension. However. . One may be called common because most ordinary words in our language are of this nature and follow this pattern. No shaper in front. The second may be called power because most of these words in our language carry special or significant meanings. eye. Decoding must be at the state of nearly 100% automaticity if true rapid comprehension is to take place. One may be called COMMON because most ptfomstu words in our . The drvpmf may be called POWER because most of these words in our . Inc. Please read each one and note the difference in your ability to decode the common and the power. The second code is the one that happens when your fingers slide one space over on the typewriter. One can communicate to some degree using just common words. Right? As should be obvious from the two illustrative paragraphs above. There are two distinct types of bases in the English language. both COMMON BASES and POWER BASES have one thing in common. Thuh second may bee kawld POWER bekuz most ov theez wurds in ar language kairy special ohr significant meeningz.odj :smhishr. They have the same structures of sounds and use various different letters to represent sounds. For beginners. BASE "stand" (SHAPER/S) + VOWEL + (SHAPER/S) st a nd The simplest of all words are words that contain just a vowel. POWER words in a tougher "code" There are two fodyomvy types of bases in the Rmh.smhishr carry d[rvos. Although you were able to "break" the simple codes. and still they would have problems reading it. COMMON words in a simple "code" Thayr ar too distinct tipes uv BAYsis in thuh English Language.9 minor alterations in the visual appearance of some of the words. or dohmogovsmy meanings. to be a good reader and speller one must know how to read and spell both types of words. No shaper in back.

Inc. Bea by. . beau boo! boy bow. buy. biBo. For example: Word Shaper/s Vowel Shapers at a t ebb e b it i t on ah n up u p aim AY m eat EE t ice YH s oat OH t Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation.10 bay bee. bye. bow. bough b b b b b b b AY EE YH OH OO OY OW - Some words are shaped at the end of the vowel. be.

we feel that upon analysis there is an inner logic of our language that simplifies its spelling and makes it superior to that of a totally phonetic approach. Inc. Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation. We have found it easier to teach vowels using "-R controls" to cover what we consider to be slight alterations in the basic vowel sounds rather than completely independent vowels. and phonics instructors will probably never come to any agreement as to what a vowel truly is and how many there are.11 Word ooze ought out oil Shaper/s Vowel Shapers OO AW OW OY z t t l Most words are simply vowel sounds shaped before and after with consonants. there are so many different spellings that some scholars such as Dewey (1970) have despaired of ever having a system to teach spelling and have advocated that we scrap our present system of spelling for a simplified phonetic spelling system (Rondthaler and Lias. However. somewhat analagous to the concept of allophones. For example: Word bat lot but bait bite boat void bout Shaper SOUND b bets l b b beets b b boots AW v b Vowel a bit ah u AY YH OH foot t OY OW Shaper -s t b t t t t t f ----d t Suffix bats i lots buts baits bites boats uu voids bouts bet t beet boot t b bits b b foots e t EE t OO t fought f The 14* basic vowel sounds in the English language have multiple spellings. More about that on page 23. ______ * We recognize the fact that linguists. 1988). phoneticians. . In fact.

What stands out on the VOWEL chart on the next page is the utter simplicity of the short vowels in the common bases. Vowels removed from the above paragraph and replaced with asterisks: *t s**ms str*ng* th*t *lth**gh *v*ry w*rd m*st h*v* * v*w*l. vowels are not half as important as the consonants (which we sometimes call shapers). One difference that we perceive is in the TIME ON TASK devoted to instruction in schools on the sounds in words and how these sounds are spelled. 11 different spellings for "EE". The next most obvious observation concerning the chart is that the LONG VOWELS appear to be the most inconsistent with 9 different spellings for the sound of "AY". and sh-h. Consonants removed from the above paragraphs: I* *ee** ***a**e **a* a***ou** e*e*y *o** *u** *a*e a *o*e*. v*w*ls *r* n* t h*lf *s *mp*rt*nt *s th* c*ns*n*nts (wh*ch w* s*m*t*m*s c*ll sh*p*rs). ______ * Yes. 6 for "YH". . *o*e** a*e *o* *a** a* i**o**a** a* **e *o**o*a*** (**i** *e *o*e*i*e* *a** **a*e**). This is perhaps why nearly all reading and spelling systems begin with the short vowels. and 9 for "OO". Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation. Less obvious is the difference between the spellings used for vowel sounds in words that have POWER BASES (Polysyllabic) and those that have COMMON BASES (One syllable).g. 7 for "OH". we know there are a few words without vowels.* for the purposes of reading and spelling. Inc.. pssst. tsk. *o* **e *u**o*e* o* *ea*i** a** **e**i**.12 VOWELS It seems strange that although every word must have a vowel. e. f*r th* p*rp*s*s *f r**d*ng *nd sp*ll*ng.

. Inc. nonteaching. ~ Isn't it about time we begin to teach these patterns? ~ Is there a more convenient way of teaching these patterns than through the backdoor of spelling? Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation." (Anderson.13 However. they receive the least amount of attention by textbook authors and classroom teachers. or incorrect teaching of "PHONIC RULES. we don't want to get bogged down in a controversy about current practices in the teaching. 1984) What we do want to stress is that: While the POWER words of our language require the most amount of instructional time to learn. ~ Three out of every four words a fairly good reader cannot read contain the patterns of power words that are almost never taught by any teachers and are rarely if ever found in their text books.

and -ute that are all pronounced "it" as in private. "AH" = o in comic. Inc. "UH" = a in steward. ea in sweat. ai in plaid. e in falter. The only apparent exceptions come with suffixes such as -ate. . and minute. u in lettuce. -ite. "AH" = o in dot. "i" = i in Jim.14 Short Vowels Spellings that occur in Common Bases (One Syllable) such as stand in misunderstanding "a" = a in cat. oi in memoires. because these words have a polysyllabic base we say: The silent e rule applies ONLY to words that have a COMMON (one syllable) BASE. Notice the consistency among the spellings of the short vowels. i_e in definite. y in physician. u_e in minute. Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation. i = i in mimic. definite. ai in fountain. ou in courage. y in gym. e = e in epic. But since these suffixes are consistent in their pronunciations. they should not be considered "exceptions" to the silent e rule. In fact. o in onion. a_e in private. i in confirm. "u" = u in cut. Generally speaking. Spellings that occur in Power Bases (Polysyllabic) such as special in specialties a = a in panic. "e" = e in bet. there are only two possibilities for any particular pattern. a in wad.

et in buffet. ui in fruit. ew in dew. igh in high. ow in grow. eu in feud.15 Long Vowels Spellings that occur in Common Bases (One syllable) such as state in understatement "AY" = ay in tray. e_e in Pete. "YH" = i in I. "OO" = ut in debut. ough in dough. Â resumÂ. ue in due. ai in train. ou in vermouth. eu in Europe. eigh in weigh. "EE" = i in technique. ie in field. ei in weird. Âe in fiancÂe. Spellings that occur in Power Bases (Polysyllabic) such as special in specialties "AY" = e in debut. ey in they. Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation. ee in wee. "YH" = y in psycho. it in esprit. . are rarely if ever systematically taught in any spelling or reading series published anywhere. ei in stein. ey in key. is in debris. Inc. ea in break. a_e in brake. however. o_e in vote. ot in depot. ou in you o in to. Notice that there are fewer variations among the spelling of long vowels in the POWER bases. eau in plateau. ei in vein. "OH" = au in chauffeur. ea in tea. oa in goat. ua in dual. "OO" = u in flu. oo in too. These spellings. eig in reign. "EE" = e in we. i_e in petite. "OH" = o in go. y in my.

oo in foot. ough in bought.16 Other Vowels Spellings that occur in Common Bases "UU" = u in put. "OW = ou in announce. al in talk. Spellings that occur in Power Bases "UU" = u in butcher. aw in hawk. "AW" = a in call. Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation. oy in boy. au_e in cause. "OW" = ow in pow. "OY" = oi in boil. au in fraud. Inc. . oy in employ. "OY" = oi in exploit. augh in taught. "AW" = au in sausage. Notice that unlike the short and long vowels there are fewer variations among the "OTHER VOWELS" in the POWER bases. ou in pout.

h = h in hat. g = g in go. Inc. ph in photograph. mb in dumb. g = g in gasoline. ll in all. gh in ghost. gi in religion. ed in roared. ge in George. f = f in fall. k = k in kiss. ph in phone. ch in mechanic. c in cat. gh in ghetto. Spellings that occur in Power Bases b = b in ballistics. f = f in frantic. c in panic. wh in who. d = d in did. q in quick. m = m in me. l = l in luck. q in liquid. dge in bridge. Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation. m = m in mutual. gh in cough. qu in liquor. que in unique. l = l in label. j = j in jam. j = j in jewelry.17 Shapers (Consonants) Spellings that occur in Common Bases b = b in bib. j = in Jose and Baja. gu in guilt. ge in surgeon. gue in fatigue. mn in condemn. k = k in kernel. ll in llama. g in gem. cu in circuit. ed in resolved. d = d in dedicated. ck in back. . h = h in hazardous. bu in build.

u in Guatamala. The consonant /y/ is frequently without a letter to indicate its presence. ed in released. w = w in warrant. sc in descend. v = v in vat. ed in missed. se in response. Inc. Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation. ts in prints. Spellings that occur in Common Bases n = n in new. * The proper linguistic term is null. r = r in roar. u in quick y = y in you. z = z in zoo. ss in permissive. ss in kiss. p = p in pop. s in appraisal. w = w in wick. s = s in sits. s = s in social.18 Shapers (Consonants) Continued Spellings that occur in Power Bases n = n in notorious. ve in solve. pt in pterodactyl. r = r in regular. wr in wrap. t = t in toot. gn in gnat. ts in residents. nothing* in f-ew. kn in knew. ce in residence. ve in relieve. p = p in popular. v = v in victory. s in throws. ce in prince. t = t in tenant. . se in cause. See "The Case of the Invisible Y or Why is there a Y in You but not in union and Eunice?" This pamphlet is free from AVKO with a large self-addressed envelope with postage for 3 oz. y = y in yodel. i in union. se in rinse. pn in pneumonia. mn in mnemonics. sc in scene. rh in rhapsody. nothing* in union. z = z in zebra.

in bugle = ch in church = dr in drop = dw in dwell = fl in flop. si tension. sch schlimazel = sk skeptic.in mule = pl in play = pr in pray = p. sch in schedule = scr in scrabble = squ in squabble = sl in slumber = sm in smother = sn in snivelling = sp in spiritual = spl in splendid = spr in sprinkle = st in stellar = str in strenuous = sw swivel. = f. persuasive = tr in tradition = tw in twiddle = vi in review = s treasure.in cute = m. si in vision Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation.in few = gl in glass. sc in scat. ti initial. = tr in trap = tw in twin = vi in view Sound bl br by ch dr dw fl fr fy gl gr gw hy kl kr kw ky my pl pr py sf sh sk skr skw sl sm sn sp spl spr st str sw tr tw vy zh Spelling = bl in blatant = br in brilliant = b.in mutants = pl in placid = pr in proficient = p. phr phrensy = f.in heuristic = cl in clients = cr cripple. chr Christian = qu in question = c.in futile = gl in glucose = gr in grunion = gu in Guatamala = h. = gr in grass = gu in Guam = h.in bureau = t in nature = dr in drama = dw in dwindle = fl in fluid.19 Beginning Special Shapers that occur in Common Bases Beginning Special Shapers that occur in Power Bases Sound Spelling bl br by ch dr dw fl fr fy gl gr gw hy kl kr kr kw ky my pl pr py sf sh sk skr skw sl sm sn sp spl spr st str sw tr tw vy = bl in black = br in bring = b. Inc. xi anxious.in cuneiform = m. s in sure = sk in skip. phl phlebitis = fr in frenzy. = fr in free. sc scavenge.in huge = cl in class = cr in creep = chr in Christ = qu in quit = c.in pewter = sph in sphygmometer = ch chauffeur. sch in school = scr in scrap = squ in squat = sl in slip = sm in small = sn in snip = sp in spot = spl in splash = spr in spring = st in stop = str in strap = sw in swim.in pew = sph in sphere = sh in shop. ssi mission. .

= bbed in robbed. . Inc. mmed in dimmed = mp in camp = mps in limps mpse in glimpse = mpt in tempt mped in camped = ms in rams = nd in band. pse in lapse = psed in lapsed = rb in garb = rbed in barbed = rbs in barbs = rd in yard = rds in yards = rf in scarf = rfed in barfed = rg in burg = rge in large = rged in barged = rk in dark = rks in marks = rx in Marx = rked in parked = rl in Carl = rled in curled = rls in curls = rm in arm = rmed in farmed = rms in farms = rn in barn = rned in earned = rns in learns = rp in burp = rps in burps = rped in warped = rse in nurse = rt in art = rve in carve = rved in curved = rs in cars = sk in ask sc in disc = sm in spasm = sp in grasp = sps in lisps = sped in grasped = st mist ssed in missed sked in asked ced in raced sed in chased ste in chaste = ved in loved = ves in loves = zed in hazed sed in raised zzed in razzed vd vz zd Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation. x in sox kes in lakes = ct in pact cked in packed = ld in build lled in billed led in ruled = lf in shelf = lfs in shelfs = ldge in buldge = ldged in buldged = lk in milk = lks in milks = lked in bilked = lm in film = lmed in filmed = lms in films = ln in kiln = lp in help = lps in helps = lped in helped = lse in false = lts in faults = lt in silt = lls in bills = med in aimed. = bs in grabs = bes in babes = ds in lads = des in shades = ffs in stiffs = fts in lifts = fes in safes = ft in raft = ffed in staffed = gged in dragged = gs in drags = ged in raged = cks in socks. nned in banned = nged in banged = nk in bank = nked in banked = ngs in bangs ns ns nt ps pst rb rbd rbz rd rdz rf rft rg rj rjd rk rks rks rkt" rl rld rlz" rm rmd rmz" rn rnd" rnz" rp rps" rpt" rs rt rv rvd" rz sk sm sp sps spt st = nse in rinse = nce in prince nts in prints = nt in plant = ps in laps.20 Ending Special Shapers: bd bz bz dz dz fs ft gd gz jd ks kt ld lf lfs lj ljd lk lks lkt lm lmd lmz ln lp lps lpt ls lt lz md mp mps mt mz nd ngd ngk ngkt" ngz = bed in robed.

A few very highly consistent ending sounds rarely taught but often misspelled: Onset Sound "sh" "sh" "sh" "sh" "sh" "sh" "sh" "k" + Rime Sound "us" "us" "ul" "ul" "un" "un" "un" "g" "ul" Spelling onset + rime ci+ous ti+ous ci+al ti+al ssi+on ci+on ti+on gue cle Sample words precious. The beginning sounds (onsets in the latest jargon) are taught more completely and systematically than the medial or ending sounds (rimes!). For that reason. ambitious special. then you are one of many who needed the opportunity to be taught these patterns but weren't given the chance. essentials permission. You learned all on your own. solution vague.21 Observations about the relationship of the spellings of consonant sounds (shapers) to reading and teaching. social initial. You were never taught the advanced patterns. students are far more likely to misspell the ending "st" sound in paced or paste than they are the beginning "st" in the words stop and start. Inc. Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation. . mission suspicion. you are one of the lucky ones. coercion ignition. If medial and ending sounds are more difficult to learn than beginning sounds. it only seems reasonable that we should spend at least as much time on task learning spellings of the ending sounds (rimes) as on the beginning sounds (onsets). For example. students are far more likely to misspell medial or ending consonant sounds than beginning sounds. If you count yourself as one of the world's worst spellers. intrigue miracle. If you are a good speller. delicious nutritious. icicle It is quite true that after learning the basic phonic patterns some students will learn on their own the rest of the patterns.

controls Basic Suffixes The Ending Y's Power Suffixes Advanced Patterns Prefixes/Suffixes/Roots EXAMPLES dad band go raid car batter destiny precious techniques psychology get went nice seem cart battle simplify partially chauvinist autograph tin itch tube roam ward dreadful trickiest permission fiancÂe synthesizer PAGES 101-160 201-282 301-380 401-442 501-534 601-691 701-764 801-880 901-962 1001-74 Part of a Sample page showing the patterns -- AD DAD ("DAD") FAMILY bad had mad sad glad lad clad dad lads laddy laddies daddies dads daddy his dad's car their dads' cars fad fads pad pads padded padding rice paddy ad ads Tad Tad's dad tad paddies Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation.22 Synopsis of Spelling Structures of the English Language as presented in The Patterns of English Spelling (McCabe. 1992) Volume Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 TYPES OF WORDS Short Vowels: CVC Short Vowels: CVCC Long Vowels: CV & CVCe Long Vowels: CVVC -R & W. Inc. .

"Ah'm a comin' daown rat naow" is the way some writers think a person from North Carolina would say "I am coming down right now. there would be four different spellings. 1986) 4." Which spelling should be used? The British "HURB" or the American "URB. There are hundreds of different dialects of English. 2. . Thu kaar rord past. The car roared past. Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation. He adud it up. In a phonetic spelling system. Inc. etc. we have the tools to do so. We talked about him. car. The grammatical function of words which are technically homophones would be obscured by having a phonetic spelling of both: missed / mist passed / past tacked / tact bends / Ben's they're / their / there mist past takt benz thaer ________ * rules proposed by the American Language Academy (Rondthaler and Lias. The morphemic relationships that are evident in current spelling would be obliterated in any phonetic spelling system atrocious / atrocities syllable / syllabic magic / magician mason / masonic finite / infinite utroshus / utraasuteez silubul / silaabik majik / mujishun maesun / musaanik fieniet / infinit 3.. The past tense in most English words is simply spelled -ed. We tawkt ubout him. bar. would find it harder to understand what is being read. Current English Spelling A Phonetic System* 1. Should we use "skedjul" or "shedul"? If a writer wants a person to pronounce words according to a particular dialect. We all can read the same words and translate them immediately into our own dialect. star. We talked to him. We tawk to him. When a native Bostonian reads the words.23 Rationale for the basic superiority of the current English system of spelling when compared to any proposed phonetic spelling system. everyone who doesn't speak the standard dialect that is used." How about the word schedule. The Englishman reads the word herb and pronounces it "HURB. he hears "kah" "bah" and "stah" in his head." With a strictly phonetic alphabet. He added it up." The American reads herb and pronounces it "URB.

Champaign. Michigan: AVKO Educational Research Foundation. 1990. Iowa City: University of Iowa. Michigan: AVKO Educational Research Foundation. . Richard C. 1984. James E.D. The Patterns of English Spelling. The New Iowa Spelling Scale. Webb. Edward and Edward J." Clio. & McCabe. Donald J. A Simplified Alternative Spelling for the English Language. Inc. 1970 Fitzsimmons." the "Insane. Michigan: AVKO Educational Research Foundation. Becoming a Nation of Readers: The Report of the Commission on Reading. Clio." the "Fancy. Spelling: Learning and Instruction. New York: Teachers College Press. & Bradley M. Iowa City: University of Iowa. AVKO Spelling "Difficulty" Dictionary. Robert J." the "Tricky. Relative Frequency of English Spellings. Harry A." and the "Scrunched Up. Illinois: Center for the Study of Reading. Pronounced as it's Written. Lias. Dewey. Ed. Donald J. McCabe. 1992. Godfrey. 1954. McCabe. Donald J. 1978. Clio. English Spelling: the "Simple. Rondthaler. Written as it Sounds. Loomer. Dictionary of American Spelling. 1986. Eds. Greene.24 References Anderson. Copyright © 1993 AVKO Educational Research Foundation. New York: The American Language Academy. 1991. Columbia University.

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