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1: ENGLAND Audio
Bishop Rock Lighthouse
Is it IN-gland or EN-gland?
The reason for this question is that England is a WDIDL word = a word different in
different languages.
What is it in Georgian?
Georgian corrects the spelling to i.
But the first letter has moved from A to E to I
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Go back in a Time Machine…

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We find a part of North Germany called Angeln.

The ancestors of the English came from there.
How about the Georgians? There were two groups: in
Lazica and Iberia. And the Romans were in both countries.


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Looking at different texts about England I want to do two
things.
1. Help you pronounce English words correctly when you see
them…In order to do this we will need to code them, as I will
explain… The coding is easy enough; but overall it is not that
easy because, as I told you, English is really four languages in
one: Latin, Anglo-Saxon, early Norwegian and French.
2. Help you to read in a way which communicates to the
listener that you understand what you are reading, that you are
interested in it, and that you want to share it.
The first skill is about learning to have an eye for words:
developing an ability to analyze them, along with a memory for
the tricks they can play.
The second skill is really about acting, and developing your
acting and even musical skills; and about listening, and about
not being worried if what you say sounds strange, or seems to.
Boldness is good; and speaking audibly is even better…!
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The first word was cow. On the cover picture. It is easy – it has
the same sound as out or thousands or sound itself. And in
crown, which is on the letter box.
(What do you think E and R mean on the letter box? Can you
see anything else?)
So that sound ou is one you know. There are maybe twenty-two, so be
prepared for some mental activity!
ou and ow for example are two ways of spelling ‘owoo’. And because
‘owoo’needs to be said quickly, I am going to underline it like this owoo
- the underlining means: ‘say it quickly’.
The sound groups which we meet within words we read will always be
referenced in green; the explanations in red (italics) and the sound
group sequence itself underlined (red no italics).
Learning spellings and sounds properly can be quite a long and even a
difficult job, but I will do my best to make it easy and clear, by finding
new ways of explaining things and so making everything interesting.
We had signpost – also on the cover. Now – in order to teach you how
to pronounce words, I am going to have to use some special graphics,
which we will evolve together.

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Irish signpost at Ballyvaughan

The landscape in North Germany from which the Angles originated

sign starts with an s and finishes with a n. Now, the letters b c d
f g h j k l m n p r s t v (w) and (z) are consonants ; that means
‘letters which sound together with vowels’. So our first job is to
classify and distinguish between these.
bcd fgh jkl mnp stv w r uayie o
sixteen or …seventeen five or…..six
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The vowels are a e i o u and sometimes y. You can forget q(u)
until you see it: I can promise you that you will only find it at
this level in one word, queen. It’s really a special case of a
vowel oooii with a kw stuck on the front and a n at the end.
q in English always needs a u after it in the spelling, by the way.
z you will not see after First Grade, when you learn zebra. This
is not a word I have ever needed in my life, not even when I
visited the zoo – which, actually, is another z word, not one you
will use very much, if at all. So we can forget z. And w and v are
best considered as one sound with two variants.
sign has vowel i but only if there comes immediately after it a
consonant (for example in swim) is it pronounced iiih.
sign in fact is pronounced saiin. g in this word is a ‘sleeping
letter’ – which means that it does not contribute to the
pronunciation, except to tell us that the vowel sound will not
be iiih. Sleeping letters are one of the tricky things in English.
But actually, they do a useful job telling us that there is
something not so simple going on as well, so we could call
them, ‘sleepy signaling letters’. The most famous ones are the
consonant pair gh which when they occur together are perhaps
the sleepiest letters in the English language!
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Vowel, by the way, means ‘the sounds which give a voice to the
letters which sound with them’ – or simply, ‘the sounds which
go with the consonants’: some before them, some after them;
and even (as I told you) sometimes working together with one
in front and one after the consonant, as in the word make:
m a k e Powerpoint link
a is a and e is eh but together they are ai-ee so the word is
mai-eek  which I have underlined because when actually
spoken, it is spoken quite fast.
(Notice that I am not talking about reading fast – which I do not
advise – I want you to read quite slowly, so that you can learn
to read with expression and meaning – I’m talking about the
speed of the sound.)

bcd fgh jkl mnp stv w r uayie o
sixteen or …seventeen five or…..six

*

Quite similar was the name, Shakespeare. The first part of it,
shake rhymes directly with make. Then you just need two
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consonants – consonant friends – sp – which is easy enough
and a very common English sound. The second vowel group is
pronounced ee-yeuh but immediately followed by r like this ee-
yeuhr – and rhymes exactly with year. The last e is just there
because it is an old name, and although the writer probably
wanted it spelt like that, but not everybody (even Shakespeare
himself!) has always done so.

The six surviving examples of Shakespeare’s signature
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In the post part of signpost we have a ‘moonlighting consonant’
– the s. We can also call it a ‘diligent consonant’ – a consonant
that works hard, like those children you find in every school…It
is doing a job of work, making up the first half of the consonant
pair st, but it is also working hard and doing a second job
(that’s what ‘moonlighting’ means) by pretending to be a
hidden e or something like this, in po(e)st. I have used an
arrow to show what the s is doing, it is affecting the o; and I
have given the result – it is generating an e which we do not see
in the spelling – in blue, and in black brackets. Very handsome.

Or we could say that it is signaling, by being there as part of the
st that the preceding o is not pronounced in simple words with
the fundamental sound of o such as we find in got, not, plot
(which is a piece of land or a plan to do something bad) or cot
(which is a small bed for a baby). We could also say that the st
is making the o sound different. Some of you might then say:
‘Well, it’s like one of those bad bullying children you find in
every school, who are bigger, and twist the arms of the smaller
boys unmercifully...’ Sure – but if you are learning a language I
am of the opinion that it is better to think of the letters in it as
your friends, not your enemies. Not even enemies of other
letters. You never know…

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countries is pronounced cuntriis with the second vowel group
ie pronounced ii . The o highlighted here in green – countries –
is really a ‘signaling vowel’ and in fact a ‘sleeping signaling
letter’ – like the g in sign but here it comes before the letter it is
giving us information about, whereas in sign the ‘sleeping
signaling letter’ was the g which came after the vowel i – which
was part of what it was changing. And this time, it’s a vowel,
not a consonant. But pro-actively (make note of that word, I
want to use it again…) it’s doing a very similar job.

I will just put in an arrow to make that clearer: countries –
just as we used an arrow in sign . I have kept the signaling
letters in green and put the modified vowel in purple, using an
arrow to show the effect the letter has in the word and the
direction from which the modifying influence is coming: in this
case backwards.

country in fact comes from a Latin word meaning the ‘land
which is lying against [in Latin against is contra] a town’. English
introduced the u and changed the pronunciation, making the
vowel sound lower in the throat when spoken (from o
pronounced in the middle to top of the throat, and somewhere
in the middle top half, with the mouth half-open and the sound
flying straight out and forwards; to uhh, pronounced in the
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lower part of the bottom of the throat, with the mouth fully
open, and feeling almost as if it is directing the sound down
towards the ground…)

That sort of thing is always happening in languages, which are
like a collection of things in your house, some new – maybe
yours – and some older, maybe belonging to your parents; and
some older still, belonging to maybe your grandparents, or
even people who are no longer alive… I’m not going to go
through you all the words in the extract, but just the ones you
might have difficulty with. great was one, but you already know
this word; it’s just the spelling, which reflects a sound ai-i-i
We had churches – here we see an example of ‘nouns ending in
a hissing, buzzing or shushing sound’ – in Alison Head’s words –
which (when you are talking of two or more of them) is spelled
in es rather than just s: such word endings are pronounced -is.
In our definition, it’s the pro-active influence of the consonant
friends ch ( consonant friends when audible, I have put in in
purple, example ch; but when they are not audible - example
gn – I have put them in dark blue.
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Tudely – previous page – and the much larger Romsey
Abbey, two English churches

villages (j sound) and beaches, behave exactly the same way.
In boat the vowel sound is ouu and the a is a signaling, sleeping
vowel, because it does not appear in the pronunciation, it just
indicates that this a modified or changed o sound, so we should
maybe write the word for study purposes with an arrow:
boat.
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And castle, as I told you, is a Roman word originally, Latin
cast-ellum (the first four letters are the same). French has a ch
instead of the c and the s is lost and hidden in a small sign over
the a like this â while the end of the word is eau, whereas in
English it is quite close to the Latin castellum: it retains the l

English: c a s t l e
French: ch â t eau
Latin : c a s te ll um

I have put the endings of this word in green. The ending is the
least important part, and if it gets changed, people still
understand the word. But in these words the beginning (in
yellow) is very important, and even though French loses the s
the t is still there after the strong ch at the start of the word.
Words do things like that. Let us call them, ‘Words Changing in
Different Languages’ (WCIDL).


They change in different languages, but really they remain the
same word: just as the Queen will wear quite different clothes
when opening Parliament, when attending the Highland
Games, when at church, or when at ‘Royal Ascot’, but will still
remain the same nice, friendly, well-known Queen. The
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different versions of a word in different languages are known as
‘cognates’, by the way, from a Latin word meaning to know.

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The Queen opening Parliament The Queen watching the Highland Games


The Queen at Westminster Abbey The Queen at Ascot (place of horse races)

*

bcd fgh jkl mnp stv w r uayie o
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sixteen or …seventeen five or…..six

Consonants and vowels, remember? That is the end of Chapter
One. In the next lesson we will decide on ways of singing them,
and even wonder about discovering ways of singing st and sp
and gn and gh. No-one said it was going to be easy; but it will
be great fun!

So see you in the next lesson in the same classroom at the
same time!

Bye for now!

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