Learning Language Rules
- 1Look 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.
2Find 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:
- 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.
3Learn 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.
- H is always silent in French.
- In English, if a word follows the CVCV (consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel) pattern, a final E is almost always silent.
4Look 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.
- 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.
- 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”.
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Source: wikihow. com