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Showing posts from January, 2013

Silent Letters in English

Silent letters in English represent a challenge both to the student and to the teacher. 

Often, the silent letter seems to serve no purpose, and this is what causes such frustration. 

Gh is one of the letter combinations that is silent. 

This is a left over from Middle English when it was pronounced.  Light, Knight, fight are some examples of this type of silent letter. 

Another type of silent letter is a word related to a cognate word, that is a word coming from another language.  phlegm  The g is silent, practically  the second a is silent. 

Then there are empty letters, that don't have a sound, but are in the spelling of the word.  
answer, the s is silent.  When I am teaching this word as a spelling word, I tell the students to pronounce the s! 
island, the s is silent, subtle, the b is silent, in ballet, the t is silent, but since this word comes from French it is easy to understand why it is silent. 

Where there are words that have come from other languages, such as Greek, many lett…