Unit 71 - Silent Letters

Unit 71 - Silent Letters

You know the world of English is a fun and exciting place to be. I’m so glad you could join me for another lesson.

Hi everybody, this is Misterduncan in England, how are you today? Are you okay? I hope so! Are you happy? I hope so!

You may be wondering why I am speaking in this low voice. The reason is because today we are going to take a look at words in English that contain a certain type  of letter.

A part of English that can cause confusion and difficulty for all English leaners. In today’s lesson we are going to take a look at words with…silent letters.

A silent letter is a part of a word that is written but not spoken. Silent letters can sometimes join with other letters to form part of a word. Silent letters exist in many English words.

And because of this, they often cause confusion and sometimes embarrassment, when they are accidentally spoken.

One of the reasons why silent letters are used in English related to another lesson of mime.

During the formation of evolution of English, many foreign words were assimilated or absorbed into the language.

Latin- French and Germanic words were readily added to early English- as was the spelling.

The pronunciation of some of these words were simplified, while others were completely changed. This is why in modern English, you will see many silent letters placed in common words.

Another reason for the use of silent letters is to avoid confusion between words with similar sounds and spelling. For example- plum and plumb, hole- whole.

Another important thing to remember is that many silent letters have no reason for being there. They have simply evolved into being spelled that way. Also there are many words in English which use silent letters, that make the same sound as other letters.

A good example being- threw and through. They make the same sound, but you can see the spelling is very different.

Some silent letters seem to have no logical purpose at all. For example- ‘b’ in ‘comb’, ‘womb’ and ‘bomb’.

There is only letter change between these words, yet they are pronounced differently.

Other words containing silent letters, such as ‘campaign’- ‘silhouette’ – ‘rhythm’ and ‘bureau ’ are taken directly from other languages.

The most common silent letters in English are- B- H- K- T – U and W. You will notice that I have not included the letter E in that list.

As it comes at the end of many words. It is worth noting that the letter ‘X’ is not a silent letter.

It often starts a word by being pronounced as Z. Such as in ‘xylophone’ and ‘xenophobia’. This particular use stems from the language of the ancient Greeks.

Now, let’s take a look at some English that contain silent letters.

B: Crumb, climb, thumb,  lamb, doubt, limb, plumber, bomb.

H: Why, when, which, what, whether, ghost, white, while, honest. 

K: Knot, knitting, know, knee, knock, knight,  knuckle, knickers.

T: Soften, listen, match, butcher, castle, Christmas, hasten.

U: Guard, guess, guitar, building, rogue, guest, biscuit, tongue.

W: Wreck, wrestling, whole, sword, two, wrong, writing, wrist, wrinkle.

There is a temptation for some people to over- pronounce words using the silent ‘H’. For example- instead of saying ‘when’ a person might say ‘when’. In stead of ‘what’ they might say ‘what’. And in stead of whip, they might say ‘whip’.

  There is actually no need to pronounce the ‘H’ so strongly. Just let the sound leave your lips naturally. When, what, whip. There is no doubt that silent letters cause confusion for everyone- including native English students.

Many of the silent letters have no purpose and to be blunt, quite a few make no sense. But exist they do.

There is no need to feel afraid of these letters, as the more familiar you become with English, the more you will recognize their placement within words.

This is one of the reasons why reading is such a major part of learning English. It is a great way of familiarizing yourself with not only the spelling words but also the idiosyncrasies and odd quirks contained within English itself.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s lesson, talking all about those pesky silent letters and that you will join me for another lesson very soon.

This is Misterduncan in England saying thank you for watching me- teaching you. And of course, ta-ta for now.

Download video (WMV)|https://download.tienganh123.com/duncan/bai71/bai71-video.zip
Download audio (MP3)|https://download.tienganh123.com/duncan/bai71/bai71-audio.zip
Download cả bài và phần dịch (PDF)|https://download.tienganh123.com/duncan/bai71/bai71-duncan-pdf.pdf

Sentence explanation:

1.Some silent letters seem to have no logical purpose at all.

Trong câu trên:

Cấu trúc: No/ not ...at all: hoàn toàn không

Logical: hợp lý, chính đáng

Seem: dường như, có vẻ như.

=> Sự xuất hiện của một số âm câm dường như không có một mục đích cụ thể nào.

2. This particular use stems from the language of the ancient Greeks.

Sterm from: có nguồn gốc, bắt nguồn từ

Ancient: cổ, xa xưa

Particular: đặc biệt, cụ thể.

=> Cách dùng đặc biệt này có nguồn gốc từ ngôn ngữ của người Hy Lạp cổ.

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