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  1. #1
    WUKEN is offline Member
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    Default a phonics confusing question

    Hello, there:
    I have a question about phonics.
    When I dictate a word , for example , the term " John", I would probably write it into "Jon".
    My question is that since" H" in the term"John" is silent. I don't understand why it , h ,exists in some words.
    Could you please tell me the rule?
    Thanks a lot!
    Last edited by WUKEN; 12-Apr-2009 at 16:03.

  2. #2
    Soup's Avatar
    Soup is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: a phonics confusing question

    Hi WUKEN

    If you can hear the sound [h], then transcribe it/write it. If you can't hear it, then don't.

    The <h> in John isn't pronounced, so don't transcribe it/write it, but it is heard in the word hat, so write [haet].

  3. #3
    WUKEN is offline Member
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    Default Re: a phonics confusing question

    Thanks for Soup's explanation.
    So since I can't hear the sound" H" in the term John and some words, why it exists in the words?
    I still don't understand.Could you please tell me the rule?
    Thanks a lot!

  4. #4
    Soup's Avatar
    Soup is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: a phonics confusing question

    Quote Originally Posted by WUKEN View Post
    Thanks for Soup's explanation.
    So since I can't hear the sound" H" in the term John and some words, why it exists in the words?
    I still don't understand.Could you please tell me the rule?
    Thanks a lot!
    The reason, historical sound change. Modern English John comes from Latin Johannes, wherein the letter <h> was pronounced.

    ____________________
    Online Etymology Dictionary

    John
    masc. proper name, c.1160, from M.L. Johannes, from L.L. Joannes, from Gk. Ioannes, from Heb. Yohanan (in full y'hohanan) lit. "Jehovah has favored," from hanan "he was gracious." As the name of John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, it was one of the most common Christian given names, and in England by early 14c. it rivaled William in popularity. O.Fr. form was Jean, but in England its variants Johan, Jehan yielded Jan, Jen (cf. surname Jensen). Welsh form was Ieuan, (see Evan), but Ioan was adopted for the Welsh Authorized Version of the Bible, hence frequency of Jones as a Welsh surname. Feminine form was Joan, Latinized as Johanna. Colloquial John Hancock "signature" (1903, sometimes, through some unexplainable error, John Henry) is from the signer of the Declaration of Independence, either from his signing first or most prominently. The family name is attested from 1276 in Yorkshire, a dim. (see cock) of Hann, a very common given name in 13c. Yorkshire as a pet name for Henry or John. Johnny-come-lately first attested 1839.

  5. #5
    WUKEN is offline Member
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    Default Re: a phonics confusing question

    So let me set another example" Buddha"
    Since the" H" doesn't make a sound.
    I am wondering why H in the term" Buddha" exists in the word.
    Does it also relate to historical sound change?
    I am wondering how native speakers know that they have to add the silent " H" when they transcribe some words like that.

    Could you please specify it for me?
    Also , could you please correct my description if it 's not right?

    Thanks a lot!!!
    Last edited by WUKEN; 14-Apr-2009 at 05:08.

  6. #6
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: a phonics confusing question

    Unfortunately, there are no universal "rules" about silent letters such as these. Native speakers learn through memorizing. "Spelling" is studied in schools from the earliest years.

  7. #7
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: a phonics confusing question

    It also helps to investigate the etymology of words - their history and development.

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