The silent letters in english - why ?
What is the purpose of silent letters?
Silent letters can distinguish between homophones, e.g. in/inn; be/bee; lent/leant. This is an aid to readers already familiar with both words. Silent letters may give an insight into the meaning or origin of a word; e.g. vineyard suggests vines more than the phonetic *vinyard would.
Why H is silent in hour?
H is silent in many English words, for various reasons. ... The words hour and honest come from French, and in these cases, English took over the French pronunciation as well as the word. Not all such words that have come into English from French still have a silent h, however.
Why P is silent in pneumonia?
The word pneumatic begins with the prefix pneumo-, p-n-e-u-m-o, which relates to air or the lungs, and is pronounced with a silent p. In fact, almost all of the words that begin with the letters pn- use the pneumo- prefix. The most common pn- words are pneumatic and pneumonia.
Is the S or C silent in scene?
Neither is silent. The "s" and the "c" together make a softer "s" sound. Compared to the words "sent" and "cent", the word "scent" sounds more like "sscent." Similar to the words "ascent" and "assent", where assent has a harder and faster sound.
Why do we not pronounce the k in knife?
It is not conclusively known why this occurred. However, some researchers believe it was due to the influence of Latin and French during this period, as these languages did not include the 'kn' cluster. This resulted in the 'k' being mispronounced or not pronounced and gradually eliminated
Why is the S silent in Viscount?
In viscount, the S is silent - the pronunciation is vie-count (the first syllable rhymes with die). ... The word comes from the Old French “visconte” which even the modern French now spell as “vicomte”.
Is the P silent in Ptolemy?
In other words, demotic characters didn't just symbolize concepts; they spelled out how words were pronounced. (As you may have guessed, in Greek the P in Ptolemy isn't silent.)
Is H silent in ghost?
Silent H. H is always silent in HONOUR, HOUR, HONEST, HEIR, VEHICLE & VEHEMENT. You don't say it after 'g' in GHOST, GHASTLY, AGHAST, GHERKIN & GHETTO, or after 'r' in RHINOCEROS, RHUBARB, RHYME and RHYTHM.
Is the H silent in when?
Additionally, there is no rule to determine whether h is silent; these are exceptions that you will have to learn individually as well. However, in words similar to or derived from a word with a silent h, the h in the similar or derived word is usually also silent, e.g. honor, honorable, honorary, etc
Which is silent in scent?
Without a doubt, the C is silent in scent. And the reason the C is present at all can be attributed to a few scholars' compulsive need for orderliness. Like many English words, scent was borrowed from older lexemes of other languages – in scent's case, the Anglo-Norman and Middle French word sente.
Is D silent in Wednesday?
Most Americans don't pronounce the d in Wednesday. But just because you can't hear it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. ... As it turns out, Wednesday actually has Germanic linguistic origins. It is derived from the Old English word, Wōdnesdæg, which honors the Germanic god Wodan.
Which letter is silent in doubt?
Take the word "doubt," for example. Most well-read (well-written?) English-speakers will tell you: the "b" is silent.
Which word has the most silent letters?
Warwick (as in Warwick Castle), which is pronounced Worrick; the towns of Gloucester and Leicester, which are pronounced Gloster and Lester respectively.
Why T is silent in tsunami?
Some English speakers – not all – simplify the word 'tsunami' by not pronouncing the initial 't', so that it fits in with the phonological rules of English. Often silent letters in English are actually diacritic letters. This means that rather than being pronounced, they change the pronunciation of another syllable.
Why is the G in Gnome silent?
The 'h' was pronounced in the middle of a word in Old English and its spelling changed to 'gh' in Middle English when it was preceded by a vowel. ... Other words of Greek origin such as gnomon, gnostic, and gnosis the 'g' is silent but in prognosis, the 'g' is instead pronounced.
Who invented silent letters?
As Carson Cole points out, “silent letters' were originally pronounced. As languages meshed and migrated from land to land and culture to culture, spoken and written words did not always match. Letters are merely representations of the spoken word. In most Indo-European languages every letter is uttered, in general.
Is the R silent in before?
In all these examples with R, AmE pronounces the R and BrE doesn't, but both of them present the same change in the vowel before the R. So this letter, silent or not, is marking a change in the previous vowel. Standard American English, as we said, always pronounces de R, whether or not followed by a vowel.
Is the R silent in iron?
The crucial difference is that for iron, the sound [aɪ] is not followed by an [r]. In fact, there is no [r] sound at all in the British pronunciation, whereas the [r] in the American pronunciation comes after the [ə].
Is R silent in February?
The r in February has been dropped so that it is almost always pronounced Febuary–without the r. Perhaps this is because placing the r sound in the word makes it slightly more difficult to pronounce, and since laziness tends to get the upper hand when we speak, Febuary has become the common pronunciation.
Why K is silent in knee?
So, these words beginning with 'k' were pronounced with sound of k followed by 'n'. For example, knee was cnéo. But this was common to the Germanic languages and most of them still pronounce k. It is the English language which dropped off k mainly due to difficulty in pronouncing the kn- sound.
Is the L silent in TALK?
Many students try to pronounce these Ls, but in all these words, the L is completely silent. In walk, chalk, and talk, the L comes after an A, and the vowel is pronounced like a short O. Half and calf have an AL, too, but the vowel is pronounced like the short A in staff.
Is R silent in Surprise?
There is only one generally accepted spelling of surprise: two r's and two s's in total. Spelling the word without the first r—suprise—is an easy mistake to make. We often don't pronounce the first r, suh-prize, which might lead you to think that there's no r there at all.
How do the British pronounce February?
On the other side of the Atlantic, the situation is reversed—most people in the UK say “feb-roo-ary”. However, most major dictionaries, both American and British, now list “feb-yoo-ary” as an acceptable variant, so it's more a matter of personal preference than correctness.