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Phonics Syllable and Accent Rules

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Phonics Rules
The vowels are "a, e, i, o, u"; also sometimes "y", "w". This also includes the diphthongs "oi, oy, ou, ow, au, aw, oo" and many others. The consonants are all the other letters which stop or limit the flow of air from the throat in speech:

b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, qu, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z, ch, sh, th, ph, wh, ng, gh 1. Sometimes the rules don't work
There are many exceptions in English because of the vastness of the language and the many languages from which it has borrowed. The rules do work however, in the majority of the words.

2. Every syllable in every word must have a vowel


English is a "vocal" language; Every word must have a vowel.

3. "C"
Followed by "e, i, y" usually has the soft sound of "s". cyst, central, city. Followed by a, u, o usually has the hard sound of k. catch, cotton, cute.

4. "G"
Followed by "e, i, y" usually has the soft sound of "j". gem, gym, gist. Followed by a, u, o usually has the hard sound of g. golf, gate, gun.

5. When 2 consonants are joined together and form one new sound, they are a consonant digraph. They
count as one sound and one letter and are never separated. A consonant digraph is two or more consonants that are grouped together and represent a single sound. Here are consonant digraphs you should know: wh sh wr kn th ch ph what shout write know that watch graph

tch gh ng

watch laugh ring

6. When a syllable ends in a consonant and has only one vowel, that vowel is short.
fat, bed, fish, spot, luck

7. When a syllable ends in a silent "e", the silent "e" is a signal that the vowel in front of it is long.
make, gene, kite, rope, use

8. When a syllable has 2 vowels together, the first vowel is usually long and the second is silent.
pain, eat, boat, res/cue, say, grow. NOTE: Diphthongs don't follow this rule; In a diphthong, the vowels blend together to create a single new sound: "oi, oy, ou, ow, au, aw, oo" and many others.

9. When a syllable ends in any vowel and is the only vowel, that vowel is usually long.
pa/per, me, I, o/pen, u/nit, my

10. When a vowel is followed by an "r" in the same syllable, that vowel is "r-controlled". It is not long nor short. "R-controlled "er, ir, ur" often sound the same (like "er").
term, sir, fir, fur, far, for, su/gar, /der

11. S

[s] only if it follows an unvoiced consonant. [p] [t] [k] [f] [7] [tr]

[z] when follows a vowel, a voiced consonant, or another S

[iz] after sh, ch, j, s, z, x, and the /3/ sound, in words like: measure. If the word ends in a sibilant (hissing sound: s, z, sh, ch, j, x), add an extra syllable.

Rosss Roses sentences noses misses muses rushes catches rages fixes

Trishs brushes Mitchs watches Hodges pages Foxs boxes

12. ed
The past tense ending ed has three pronunciations: /t/, /d/, /id/. /t/ after unvoiced sounds (except /t/). /d/ after voiced sounds (except /d/).

/id/ after the sounds /t/ and /d/.

With the exception of the t sound, if the simple verb form ends with a voiceless sound, the ed ending will also be voiceless; it will sound like t.
jumped, liked, laughed, missed, watched

With the exception of the d sound, if the simple verb form ends with a voiced sound, the ed ending will also be voiced; it will sound like dand the vowel before the voiced consonant will sound l-o-n-g-e-r.
robbed, phoned, called, seemed, judged, snoozed, played, nagged

When the simple form of the verb ends with a d or t, the ed ending will be an extra syllable. But the vowel in that syllable will not be pronounced clearly.
added, needed, tested, ended, trusted

13.

t
At the top of a staircase is pronounced as [t], In the middle is [d], At the botton is not pronounced at all. In the single syllable words, or in the stressed syllable, [p], [k], [t] after s is pronounced as [b], [g], [d]. speak, skirt, space, standard Spa, spade, spider, Spain, spank, spare, spark, special Skate, skeleton, skeptical, skew, ski, skill, sky Stab, stable, stack, stadium, staff, stage, stainless, star, stub

14.

15. y
Letter y is a consonant when it is the first letter of a syllable that has more than one letter. If y is anywhere else in the syllable, it is a vowel.

16. oo

k d [U][u]foot food blood flood [8] oodles, stood, brook, book, hood, wood oof, ooh, oomph, oops, ooze, oozy, shoot, room, football, moon, loose, wool, boom, boot, tattoo, woo foot, food blood, flood

c or k rule

C comes before a,o and u. (cat, cot, cut) K comes before the other two-i and e. (kite, key)

er, ir, ur

make the same sound of er bird, nurse, fern

w before or
When w is before or, the or says er. (work, word)

Silent Letters
Silent letters are those which do not represent any element; and they must not be sounded in the pronounciation of the words in which they occur.
E final is usually silent silent at the end of a word brave, crime, drone, abide, become, improve; able, marble, Bible E is often silent before n garden, hidden, kitten, lighten, spoken, taken O is sometimes silent before n bacon, deacon, mason, pardon, reason, weapon D is silent in Wednesday, standtholder D is silent before g in the same syllable badge, fadge, dodge E is often silent before d bribed, changed, hedged; cradled, handled, struggled E is often silent before l drivel, grovel, hazel, shovel, swivel, weasel

I is sometimes silent before l evil, weevil B is silent after m and before t comb, climb, dumb, jamb, lamb, tomb debt, doubt; subtle G is silent before m and n sometimes before l phlegm, diaphragm gnat, feign, consign intaglio, seraglio

I is sometimes silent before n basin, cousin, reisin C is silent in czar, muscle C is silent before k, t, s back, crack, lock; indict, victuals, scene, scythe, scepter H is silent in heir, herb, honest H is silent fter g or r ghastly, gherkin, ghostly; rheum, rhyme, myrrh H is silent at the end of a word and preceded by a vocal ah, oh, halleluiah

K is always silent before n knave, knee, knife, knob, known, knew

Voiceless Consonants
[p] [t] [k] [t5] [f] [7] [s] [5] [ts] [tr] [t5] [h]

Voiced Consonants
[b] [d] [g] [d9] [v] [] [z] [9] [dz] [dr] [d] [m] [n] [6] [l] [r] [w] [j] Each vowel has two sounds: a long sound and a short sound. The long sound is the same as its name. Every vowel also makes a third sound: the schwa. This is the sound of a vowel that is unstressed in an unstressed syllable.

Long Vowels [i:] [4:] [2:] [3:] [u:] Short Vowels [i] [e] [1] [8] [4] [3] [u] An open, accented vowel is long
no me I go AA\|corn OA\pn EA\vn

A vowel followed by a consonant is short


log cat sit

A vowel followed by a consonant and a silent e is long An open, unaccented vowel can make a schwa sound. The letters e, o, u can also make a long sound. The letter i can also make a short sound.

tch after a short vowel


match edge lock

dge after a short vowel ck after a short vowel ff, ll, ss after a short vowel
puff doll pass boss ice

ce after a long vowel


[3:] [3] [u:] [u] Unrounded Vowels: [i:] [i] Neutral Vowels: [e] [1] [8] [4] Monophthongs: [i:] [i] [e] [1] [8] [2:] [3] [3:] [u] [u:] [4:] [4] Diphthongs: [ei] [2i] [3i] [4u] [2u] [i4] [e4] [u4] American English: [ei] [4u] [2i] [2u] [3i] Back Vowels: [2] [3] [U] [u] Central Vowels: [4:][4r][4][8] Front Vowels: [i] [I] [A] [1]
Rounded Vowels:

B
[w] [j] (affricate) [t5] [d9] [ts] [dz] [tr] [dr] [ts] [dz] [t5] [d9] [tr] [dr] (nasal) [m] [n] [6] [m] [n] [6] (lateral) [l] (semi-vowel) [w] [j] (fricative) [f] [v] [] [] [s] [z] [5] [9] [f] [v] [] [] [s] [z] [h] [r] [5] [9] (plosive) : [p] [b] [t] [d] [k] [g] [p] [b] [t] [d] [k] [g]

Stress & Accent Rules


When a word has more than one syllable, one of the syllables is always a little louder than the others. The syllable with the louder stress is the accented syllable. It may seem that the placement of accents in words is often random or accidental, but these are some rules that usually work.\Accnts are often on the first syllable. ba'/sic, pro'/gram. In words that have suffixes or prefixes, the accent is usually on the main root word. box'/es, un/tie'.
1. If de-,

re-, ex-, in-, po-, pro-, a- is the first syllable in a word, it is usually not accented. de/lay', ex/plore'.

2. Two vowel letters together in the last syllable of a word often indicates an accented last syllable. com/plain',

con/ceal'.
3. When there are two like consonant letters within a word, the syllable before the double consonants is usually

accented. be/gin'/ner, let'/ter.


4. suffixes -ion,

ity, -ic, -ical, -ian, -ial, -ious

The accent is usually on the syllable before it,


5. suffix -ate

The accent is usually on the second syllable before it. af/fec/ta'/tion, dif/fer/en'/ti/ate. 6. In words of three or more syllables, one of the first two syllables is usually accented. ac'/ci/dent, de/ter'/mine.

noun + noun phrases


In compound nouns (nouns made up of two or more nouns) or noun + noun phrases, we almost always put the stress on the first noun.
truck driver efficiency report hospitality room business letter police officer water glass birthday party CD player baby sitter button hole wristwatch

schwa
We normally stress the most important wordsthe content words in a phrase or sentence: nouns, main verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. We do it by pronouncing the vowels of the most stressed syllables with more force and clarity, and often with a change of pitch, and for a l-o-n-g-e-r time. We normally dont stress the less important words: the function words in a phrase or sentence: articles, prepositions, pronouns, and helping verbs. We do that by pronouncing the vowels of those less stressed syllables with less force and less clarity.

unstressed vowel sound: schwa


This is often some kind of variation of vowel sound 11, because its not high, not low, not front, not back. Its a neutral soundan unclear sound. (In this book well use the symbol * to signify that the vowel is not clear there.) It is very important not to stress or pronounce too clearly the vowels in unstressed words or syllables; otherwise youll confuse native speakers!

al, -ial, ual


In words of more than two syllables, the greatest stress is usually two syllables before al.
general visual medial cultural genial material radical international usual exceptional economical

ity
the greatest stress will be on the one just before this suffix:
reality morality humanity objectivity electricity necessity

ion, -sion, -tion


the most stress is the one just before the suffix. That vowel is pronounced the most clearly. The vowels in the less stressed syllables are pronounced less clearly or sometimes not at all.
fusion faction addition distribution invasion fiction edition elimination nation satisfaction privatization

Basic Syllable Rules


1. To find the number of syllables: ---count the vowels in the word, ---subtract any silent vowels, (like the silent "e" at the end of a word or the second vowel when two vowels a together in a syllable) ---subtract one vowel from every diphthong, (diphthongs only count as one vowel sound.) ---the number of vowels sounds left is the same as the number of syllables. The number of syllables that you hear when you pronounce a word is the same as the number of vowels sounds heard. For example: The word "came" has 2 vowels, but the "e" is silent, leaving one vowel sound and one syllable. The word "outside" has 4 vowels, but the "e" is silent and the "ou" is a diphthong which counts as only one sound, so this word has only two vowels sounds and therefore, two syllables. 2. Divide between two middle consonants. Split up words that have two middle consonants. For example: hap/pen, bas/ket, let/ter, sup/per, din/ner, and Den/nis. The only exceptions are the consonant digraphs. Never split up consonant digraphs as they really represent only one sound. The exceptions are "th", "sh", "ph", "th", "ch", and "wh". 3. Usually divide before a single middle consonant. When there is only one syllable, you usually divide in front of it, as in: "o/pen", "i/tem", "e/vil", and "re/port". The only exceptions are those times when the first syllable has an obvious short sound, as in "cab/in". 4. Divide before the consonant before an "-le" syllable. When you have a word that has the old-style spelling in which the "-le" sounds like "-el", divide before the consonant before the "-le". For example: "a/ble", "fum/ble", "rub/ble" "mum/ble" and "this/tle". The only exception to this are "ckle" words like "tick/le". 5. Divide off any compound words, prefixes, suffixes and roots which have vowel sounds. Split off the parts of compound words like "sports/car" and "house/boat". Divide off prefixes such at "un/happy", "pre/paid", or "re/write". Also divide off suffixes as in the words "farm/er", "teach/er", "hope/less" and "care/ful". In the word "stop/ping", the suffix is actually "-ping" because this word follows the rule that when you add "-ing" to a word with one syllable, you double the last consonant and add the "-ing".