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    #1

    Silent letter !

    Do I have to remember all words that have silent letters to pronunciate them correctly ? Or We have a rule to grasp for easy pronunciation ?
    For example, I have usually read the word "castle" with a clear tone at the "t" but I've just learned that it should be pronounced without "t" like as "casle". There are many other words with silent letter and I have to learn to pronounce each by each without a general rule for all ?
    The "t" in "caster" is not a silent letter, so that's why I want a rule to know when it is a silent letter or not ?
    The same to other silent letters such as "g" (sign), "b" (bomb), "p" (cupboard), "r" (iron - I've always read this with a clear tone at "r" before), "t" (whistle) ...
    The easy silent letters to learn are "h"(hour) and "e" (heart), but there are some too difficult to me such as "t", "r", "s". I guess the "t" is only a silent letter in the "stle" and it will be pronounced as "sle" instead ?
    Thank you so much !
    Last edited by crazYgeeK; 18-Jan-2011 at 05:16.

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Silent letter !

    Quote Originally Posted by crazYgeeK View Post
    The same to other silent letters such as "g" (sign), "b" (bomb), "p" (cupboard), "r" (iron - I've always read this with a clear tone at "r" before), "t" (whistle) ...
    The easy silent letters to learn are "h"(hour) and "e" (heart), but there are some too difficult to me such as "t", "r", "s". I guess the "t" is only a silent letter in the "stle" and it will be pronounced as "sle" instead ?
    Thank you so much !
    There are not really many rules, You simply have to learn, for example, that the letter 'g' is not pronounced in 'sign' and 'singer', but it is in 'signal' and 'finger'.
    Words ending in '-mb' and '-bt' have a silent 'b', those ending in '-stle(r)' a silent 't', and those beginning in 'pn-', 'ps-' and 'pt-' a silent 'p'.
    At the beginning or end of a word, 'g' is silent before 'm' and 'n'.
    At the beginning of a word, 'k' is silent before 'n'.
    At the end of a word, 'n' is silent after 'm'.
    'w' is silent before 'r' at the beginning of a word, and in 'sword' and 'answer'.
    Last edited by 5jj; 18-Jan-2011 at 10:13.

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    #3

    Re: Silent letter !

    There's an "r" is "iron" when I say it.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Silent letter !

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    There's an "r" is "iron" when I say it.
    Is that as in 'I earn' or as in 'irony'?

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    #5

    Re: Silent letter !

    There's an R for me too. Irony, iron, ironic... all have an R in there.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. BobK's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Silent letter !

    Re the /r/ in 'iron'; I believe that's true of Am English. In standard British English, there is no /r/ ( so that 'iron' and 'ion' [a charged particle] sound almost the same - I say 'almost' because some speakers maintain a distinction by pronouncing the /ɒ/ in 'ion'. Some speakers in the UK have the /r/ as a dialectal variant (the various dialects used in Scotland use it, for example).

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    ...
    At the end of a word, 'n' is silent after 'm'.
    ...
    Recently, I've heard this applied to derivatives also (where the final 'n' is no longer final). I (and most British speakers over 30) say /'kɒlǝm/ but /'kɒlǝmnist/. Younger speakers keep the silent 'n' in both words.

    b

    PS Barb's post has reninded me of another thing. Like the /n/ in 'columnist', we reinstate the /r/ in 'irony', 'ironic' etc (though 'reinstate' is probably the wrong word, as the link with the metal is shrouded in the mists of philological history (if it's there at all - I haven't checked).
    Last edited by BobK; 18-Jan-2011 at 13:58. Reason: Added PS

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    #7

    Re: Silent letter !

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Is that as in 'I earn' or as in 'irony'?
    One syllable. Like "earn" sort of. Irony is three syllables with the I like ice cream.
    Last edited by SoothingDave; 18-Jan-2011 at 14:15.

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    #8

    Re: Silent letter !

    If I have to iron my dress I would say I have to i-earn my dress.

    I say irony as both i-earn-ee and i-run-ee. More the latter.

    Two syllables for iron, three for irony.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #9

    Re: Silent letter !

    My dialect is probably not typical of Americans or the dictionary. But iron is one syllable where I come from.

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    #10

    Re: Silent letter !

    John Travolta nailed the Baltimore accent in Hairspray.

    He/she had to "arn."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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