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Pronunciation Guide for English

In the English writing system, many of the graphemes (letters and letter groups) have more than one possible pronunciation. Sometimes, specific sequences of letters can alert the reader to the possible pronunciation required; for example, note the letter sequences shown as hollow letters in this guide as in watch, salt and city - indicating that, in these words with these letter patterns, letter a is usually code for the /o/ sound and letter c is always code for the /s/ sound. Slash marks around a letter or letters - for example, /o/, /s/ or /sh/ - indicate a sound usually at the level of the phoneme the smallest unit of sound identifiable in speech. This Pronunciation Guide is not comprehensive as it does not include all the graphemes and sounds in the English language. The guide is based on letters, groups of letters, and common spelling patterns, which generally have more than one pronunciation dependent on the words themselves. This is NOT the same as an Alphabetic Code Chart based on ALL the phonemes. Some of the word examples in the Pronunciation Guide below are words used commonly but they have very unusual spellings, for example: any, said, pretty, women and choir. The guide below cannot be definitive about how to pronounce each word because

pronunciations vary according to regional or national accents in the English language. The complexity of the Pronunciation Guide demonstrates the advisability of teaching the English alphabetic code (the grapheme-phoneme correspondences) for reading, and for spelling, systematically and thoroughly. Some learners are able to deduce the alphabetic code for themselves through lots of book experience and writing experience as they mature (although they may not fully appreciate that they are picking up what is known as the alphabetic code or alphabetic principle). Other learners, however, only manage to pick up some code without explicit teaching or they may fail to deduce the alphabetic alphabetic

principle at all - regardless of their book experience at home or in school. Years of research and leading-edge practice has shown that the best way to teach reading and spelling in the English language is to teach the English alphabetic code and the core phonics skills of decoding for reading and encoding for spelling very explicitly, systematically and comprehensively providing reading, spelling and writing activities which match the code that has been taught to date. This approach serves all learners of all ages and is essential for many learners whatever their age. The Phonics International programme is designed and organised around the free Alphabetic Code Charts at www.alphabeticcodecharts.com . The notion of the Alphabetic Code Chart is based on the units of sound mainly at phoneme level of the English language and the graphemes which are code for the sounds. This Pronunciation Guide, in contrast, is based on some spelling patterns shown in the left column and provides examples of different pronunciation. See www.phonicsinternational.com to learn more about the rationale of the Phonics International programme and the importance of the Alphabetic Code Charts.

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Pronunciation Guide for English


graphemes
and spelling patterns including common and rare spellings

example words

multiple phonemes

phonemes and

sounds

apple table watch father any water banana village manage against capital walk talk half almost calves altogether start quarter sugar care dare awful many also always apricot qualify drama salt

/a/ /ai/ /o/ /ar/ /e/ /or/


schwa

greybackground=common pronunciation

/u/

/i/ /ai/ /e/ /a/+/l/ /ul/ /or/ /ar/ /or/+/l/ /ar/ /or/
schwa

ai al

first aid said again palace hospital salt chalk palm also

alternative /o/+/l/

ar

artist wardrobe collar

/er/

or

/u/

are aw ay

hare You are funny. awkward aware tray

/air/ /ar/ /or/ /a/+/w/ /ai/

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She says that I am funny. e egg emu pretty acne ea eat head break ear ears bear earth heart -eau -ed plateau beautiful butterfly It rained. She skipped. He acted. ei -ei -eo er -ere either deceive people leopard mermaid mixer adhere where you were -ew new news
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/e/ /e/ /ee/ /i/


between/i/ and

me he she we be

/ee/

reach

each /ee/ /e/ /ai/ /eer/ /air/ /er/ /ar/ /oa/ /y+oo/ /d/ /t/ /u/+/d/ /igh/ receipt /ee/ /ee/ /e/ /er/
schwa

breakfast great nearby wear search hearth

neither receive

/er/

or

/u/

here there

/eer/ /air/ /er/ /y+oo/

crew -ey key monkey bird of prey i insect I am behind the tree. piano -ie chief movie tie friends fiesta o octopus yo-yo son move women wolf oi ointment coincidence choir on oo on board Once upon a time..... good moon flood -oor door blood floorboards
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long

/oo/ /ee/

/ee/
between/i/ and

they

/ai/ /i/ /igh/ /ee/ /ee/


between/i/ and

radio brief believe

/ee/

He cried.

/igh/ /e/ /ee/+/e/ /o/

no go so woman to do who wolves

/oa/
long

mother /u/ /oo/ /oo/ /i/


short

/oi/ /oa/+/i/ /w/+/igh/ /o/+/n/ one /w+o/+/n/


short long

book

look balloon

/oo/ /oo/

/u/ /or/

poorly or fork world sailor historic building ou ouch soup touch ough dough plough through thought our our house your house ow u bow owl umbrella unicorn push penguin superman -ue u-e barbecue blue tube flute true clue glue cute cube rule
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/long oo+er/or/or/ /or/ /er/


schwa

/er/

or

/u/

/o/+/r/ /ou/
long

shout out loud you though although

/oo/

/u/ /oa/ /ou/


long

/oo/ /er/
schwa or

bought ought flour four tomorrow down town united pull

/or/
schwa

no thoroughfare

/u/

/ou/+ /or/
schwa

/er/
or

savour the flavour

/er/

/u/

/oa/ /ou/ /u/ /y+ oo/


short

/oo/ /oo/ /oo/ /oo/

/w/
long

/y+oo/
long

/y+oo/
long

-ui

fruit building guitar intuition

long

/oo/

(bu=/b/)+/i/ (gu=/g/)+/i/ /y+oo/+/i/ cure obscure /y+oor/ /or/


schwa

-ure

pure sure treasure

/er/

or

/u/

be bt c -cc ch

beg behind debt subtract cat bicycle succumb accent chairs chameleon chef school succeed doubt subtle subterranean

/b/+/e/ /b/+/i/ /t/ /b/+/t/ /k/ /s/ /k/ /k/+/s/ /ch/ /k/ /sh/ /s/+/i/ /sh/ /s/+/ee/ /d/+/e/ /d/+/i/ /d/+/ee/ /f/ /v/ /g/
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soft c: ce ci cy

soft c

ci -ci de

city magician pronunciation desk demand detour

soft c

soft c

f g

feathers of girl

giraffe courgette ge -ge gh -gh gn gu le -le -mb n -n -ng I get it! gentle touch cabbage collage ghost laugh gnome signal guitar gust of wind leg kettle thumb number net jungle gong bangles danger pn pt pneumatic drill hypnotic pterodactyl helicopter reception qu queen deceipt deceptive deception squeeze
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/j/

soft g: ge gi gy

/zh/ /g/+/e/ /j/+/e/ /j/ /zh/ /g/ /f/ /n/ /g/+/n/ /g/ /g/+/u/ /l/+/e/ /ul/ comb 3 remember /m/ /m/+/b/ /n/ /ng/ /ng/ /ng/+/g/ /n/+/j/ /n/ /p/+/n/ /t/ /p/+/t/ /p/+(ti=/sh/) /k+w/
soft g soft g

bouquet que re -re s -s sc -se si -si st -stsw th ti -ti -ture tw question plaque reggae remind theatre macabre snake fries treasure scan the horizon scissors house cheese sit television still running fast castle sweets sword thistle over there tin station mature picture twice twins
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/k/ /k+w/+/e/ queue /k/ /r/+/e/ /r/+/i/


schwa

/er/

or

/u/

/r/+/u/ /s/ /z/ /zh/ /s/+/k/ /s/ /s/ /z/ /s/+/i/ division listen /zh/ /s/+/t/ /s/ /s/+/w/ /s/ thin thick path the this that
unvoiced voiced soft c: ce ci cy

/th/

/th/

/t/+/i/ /sh/ immature adventure /t/+/y+oor/ /ch+u/ /t/+/w/

two ve -ve wa wh wor x vest dove

2 love was have swap

/t/ /v/+/e/ /v/ /w/+/o/ /w/+/a/ when what why /w/ whole one work worth /h/ /w/+/er/ /w/+/or/ /k+s/ /g+z/ /z/ /k/ yesterday happy by my why try /y/
between/i/ and can be +breath

watch wag wheel who is it? worm worn fox exam xylophone excellent

yawn sunny fly cymbals

/ee/

/igh/

symbols 1 2 3 /i/

The complexities of the English Alphabetic Code include: 1) one sound (phoneme) can be represented by one, two, three or four letters: e.g. /k/ c, /f/ ph, /igh/ igh, /ai/ eigh oa, ow, oe, o-e, eau, ough 2) one sound can be represented by different spellings (graphemes): e.g. /oa/ is represented by: o, e.g. ough: 3) one spelling (grapheme) can represent multiple sounds: /oa/ though, /or/ thought, /oo/ through, /ou/ plough, /u/ thorough

This Pronunciation Guide demonstrates that learning to read the English language is not straightforward. It is easier to teach and learn reading and spelling in English, however, when beginners are not expected to read and write independently with words that have complex and unusual code. The Synthetic Phonics Teaching Principles are based, therefore, on introducing the alphabetic code

systematically and providing words, sentences, texts and reading books which match, more or less, the incremental introduction of the alphabetic code in the synthetic phonics programme.

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