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Old 04-03-2024, 05:51 PM
 
Location: Argentina
268 posts, read 56,748 times
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I still remember my elementary education.
There are 5 vowels. 3 of them are open (A,E,O- pronounced with the mouth rather open) and 2 are closed (I,U).
It starts with the mouth wide open and gradually closes until it ends with the mouth in a whistling situation (A-E-I-O-U).
That's what I remember from my school, now very far away, in Argentina. But in Spanish, these 5 vowels are always pronounced the same in all words. They are invariable.
In English, on the other hand, they vary according to the word and even according to the position in the word. In addition to not being just 5 as in Spanish, but 12 or 13 (I don't remember well).
So it's a puzzle for me how they are taught in English, in elementary school. Could you clarify a little bit if you remember how it was taught to your children or if you remember how you learned them yourself? I'll be really grateful if you put a little light on it.
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Old 04-03-2024, 06:50 PM
 
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When I was in school, we were taught that the vowels made "long sounds" and "short sounds."

The "long sounds" were when the letter says its name: A as in "same," E as in "he," I as in "dive," O as in "go," and U as in "tune." We were also taught that most of the time, a silent E on the end of the word makes the letter say its name.

The "short sounds" are A as in "cat," E as in "get," I as in "it," O as in "not," and U as in "but."

That rule doesn't cover all the English vowel sounds, but it's a start.

I taught all three of my own children to read, and learning to read English is partly what is called phonics (M says mmmm, E says eeee... now sound out the word. Child says, MMM--EEEE, "me"!)

It's also partly sight reading. "This word is 'one.' It's a funny word." Children just have to memorize those words, they can't be sounded out. Fortunately, most of the strangest ones are very common: one, the, there, some, what, etc.

I made flash cards for my kids with the most common "funny words," and also worked with them on sounding out words that can be easily sounded out. Then we started very easy beginner books together, me helping when they got stuck.

It sounds harder than it is. Actually, all words in any language become sight words after a short time. No fluent reader spends time sounding anything out, you just recognize the word.

English spelling, now that's a bit harder. It's easier to recognize a word than to recall how to spell it. Some people are naturally good spellers in English (they easily recall what a word looks like) and other people are terrible spellers and need a lot of practice.
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Old 04-03-2024, 08:16 PM
 
Location: Argentina
268 posts, read 56,748 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saibot View Post


I taught all three of my own children to read, and learning to read English is partly what is called phonics (M says mmmm, E says eeee... now sound out the word. Child says, MMM--EEEE, "me"!)
That is okay.
Similar for us in that regard. One of the first words when learning to read is to spell "mamá". M says mmmmm... A says aaaa... child says MMM... AAAA
ma... má.

But taking the letter E, for example... How do you explain to your children that when it's in "easy" it's pronounced differently than when it's in "else" or when it's at the end of the word it's silent?
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Old 04-03-2024, 09:06 PM
 
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Saibot explained how long and short vowels are taught in English, as well as the silent e at the end of the word. Romance languages have accent marks to change the vowel sounds. Semitic languages also have long and short vowels like English.

There are general rules but also lots of exceptions to those rules.
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Old 04-03-2024, 09:10 PM
 
Location: Shawnee-on-Delaware, PA
8,050 posts, read 7,419,522 times
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A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y.

When the letter Y comes at the beginning of a word it acts like a consonant: Yellow.

When the letter Y comes at the middle or end of a word it acts like a vowel: Funny or Crypt.
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Old 04-03-2024, 09:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luis Antonio View Post
That is okay.
Similar for us in that regard. One of the first words when learning to read is to spell "mamá". M says mmmmm... A says aaaa... child says MMM... AAAA
ma... má.

But taking the letter E, for example... How do you explain to your children that when it's in "easy" it's pronounced differently than when it's in "else" or when it's at the end of the word it's silent?
Honestly, you don't need to (and can't) explain absolutely everything. You explain the basic rules, you teach the most common exceptions, and then you just start reading, and learning to spell. Spelling is taught as a separate subject.

We teach kids explicitly that E at the end of words is almost always silent, and it usually makes the other vowel say its name ("gave" has long A, "these" has long E, "like" has long I, etc.)

We tell them that the combination EA is like the letter E and introduce words like "please, tea, easy, leave, read." And then when a word like "great" shows up, all you can say is, well, that's a funny word.

It takes the average child longer to learn to read English than to learn to read Spanish, and it takes a whole lot longer for them to learn to spell. Some people, as I said, never become great spellers, but most people do fine with reading because at a certain point you recognize all the usual words, and you've internalized patterns that help you sound out unfamiliar words.

Of course, even English-speaking adults sometimes mispronounce words they've seen in writing but never heard before.

English is crazy, but after all, Chinese children have to memorize what every separate character means plus how it's pronounced and what order to write the strokes in, and they manage to learn to read pretty well too.
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Old 04-03-2024, 09:16 PM
 
Location: Shawnee-on-Delaware, PA
8,050 posts, read 7,419,522 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luis Antonio View Post
But taking the letter E, for example... How do you explain to your children that when it's in "easy"
With two vowels in a row, the first usually gets the long vowel sounds and the second is silent. I say "usually" because in the word "usually" both consecutive vowels are pronounced, which is unusual.

Quote:
it's pronounced differently than when it's in "else" or when it's at the end of the word it's silent?
An "e" at the end of a word is usually silent. There are exceptions, like in the word "simile".
Any single vowel followed by two consonants is usually given the short vowel sound. I can't think of any exceptions off the top of my head.

You get used to it.
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Old 04-03-2024, 11:45 PM
 
627 posts, read 295,641 times
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I would say learning English is a craft. I don't know if there are any shortcuts. It requires years of study and practice.

Just using A as an example. These words all require different pronunciations.

Arizona
After
Abe Lincoln
Amendment
Annex
Ate
Awesome
Air

A general rule is that when used before a consonant- vowel combination, such as the word Ate, the "A" has a long pronunciation. It sounds like AE. However as we notice in the word Arizona, the A is pronounced differently, it now sounds like Air-ih-zone-ah as opposed to AErizonAE.

Amendment is pronounced Uh-mend-ment. As opposed to AE-mend-ment.

As I said, English is a craft that is gradually learned.
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Old 04-04-2024, 06:52 AM
 
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I learned this from Marva Collins, "When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking and says its name." There are a lot of exceptions, like "i before e, except after c."
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Old 04-04-2024, 07:24 AM
 
14,299 posts, read 11,677,294 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhpartridge View Post
I learned this from Marva Collins, "When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking and says its name." There are a lot of exceptions, like "i before e, except after c."
That’s a famous one, but most people don’t know the whole thing. It’s “I before E, when sounded like EE, except after C.”

That way it works for words like “their” and “weigh,” and there are a lot fewer exceptions.
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