How to Know if a Letter in a Particular Word Is Silent


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Learning Language Rules

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    Look at a pronunciation guide. Pick up a language textbook, or look for a language-learning guide online that focuses on the rules of pronunciation in the language you are interested in. A good pronunciation guide should have a section dealing with silent letters.

    • You could try a language pronunciation guide that uses both text and audio, like How to Pronounce French Correctly by Stanley Connell.
    • You may also be able to find a silent letter pronunciation guide online, like this detailed English example from Kent State University.
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    Find out which letters are most often silent. Depending on the language you are working with, particular letters may be frequently or always unpronounced. For example:

    • H is always silent in French.[2]
    • In English, if a word follows the CVCV (consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel) pattern, a final E is almost always silent.
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    Learn the rules of when letters are silent versus spoken. Sometimes, letters that are normally silent in a language are pronounced under special circumstances. For example, many consonants at the ends of words in French are normally silent. However, they may be pronounced when followed by a word that starts with a vowel.[3]

    • E.g.: In “les grands arbres,” pronounce the S in “grands.” In “le gros livre,” do NOT pronounce the S in “gros.”
    • A similar phenomenon can happen in some dialects of English. For example, a final R sound in British English may be pronounced if the next word starts with a vowel. E.g.: In “the baker,” the R in “baker” is silent. In “the baker and I,” the R is pronounced.
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    Look up the differences in pronunciation in different dialects. Even within a single language, the rules may vary depending on accent or dialect. For example, an R at the end of a word may be pronounced in many dialects of American English, but not in British English.[4]

    • E.g., the word “baker” is pronounced ˈbeɪ.kər (bay-kah) in UK Standard English, and ˈbeɪ.kɚ (bay-ker) in standard American English.
    • In Canadian French, consonants that are usually pronounced in Metropolitan French may be dropped in casual speech. For example, “la” may become just “a”.

 

Source: wikihow. com


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