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The Unique Silent Letters

The Unique Silent Letters
Highlights

Once you start practising these rules and use any new vocabulary that you learn, it will become easier to remember which letters are silent in some...

Silent letters are those letters in words which are not pronounced when we say the word. In other words, these letters are written when spelling the word but not said out loud verbally. English language seen various changes in pronunciation but in olden times the silent letters used to be pronounced and the spellings also varied greatly. As time passed, pronunciation continued to change, but the old spelling was preserved by the printing press, which came to England around the Middle English period. That’s why there are words that end in a silent ‘e’, or have other silent letters in the middle, such as ‘fright’. Now, modern day English is only 40% phonemic! Try to pronounce the following words correctly: Write, Knee, Knock, Lamb, Wrist, Half, Plumber, Psychology, Aisle, Daughter.
Around 60% of English words contain silent letters, so it is important to know how to spot them, when they can be pronounced and when they cannot. It could also cause problems if you are trying to find a word in a dictionary by the ‘sound’ of it, and not realizing that it has a silent letter in it! Let’s use the word ‘knowledge’ as an example, if you didn’t know how to spell this word, you might look under the letter ‘N’ in a dictionary! Once you start practising these rules and use any new vocabulary that you learn, it will become easier to remember which letters are silent in some words, and in which words they are supposed to be pronounced.

Small Talk:
Something that stands out !
Renu: I'd like a fresh look.
Sirus: What did you have in mind ?
Renu: Well, I'd love something different .... something that stands out.
Sirus: An Afro Hairstyle would be very flattering on you.
Renu: No, that's not me.
Sirus: I see ! How about if I take off about an inch and add some fun layers ?
Notes:
Stand out - be highly evident
Example: The black lettering really stands out on that chromatic background.

Know Your Vocabulary:
Choose the closest meaning and tick it.
1. Enthrall
a) charm b) weep
c) wonder
2. Omnipotent
a) just b) all-powerful
c) merciful
3. Remote
a) very silent b) not interested
c) far away
4. Anticipate
a) recall b) move into action
c) look forward to
5. Carnivorous
a) flesh-eating b) greedy
c) wild
6. Valiant
a) cautious b) warlike
c) brave
7. Alien
a) gangster b) stranger
c) official
8. Eccentric
a) odd b) holy
c) intellectual
9. Prelude
a) explanation b) symptom
c) introduction
10. Reinforce
a) carry out b) press inward
c) make stronger

Key:
1-a; 2-b; 3-c; 4-c; 5-a; 6-c; 7-b; 8-a; 9-c; 10-c

"The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said."
- Peter Drucker
[Peter Ferdinand Drucker, November 19, 1909 – November 11, 2005, was an Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation. He was also a leader in the development of management education, he invented the concept known as management by objectives and self-control, and he has been described as "the founder of modern management."]

(The writer is an Assistant Professor at Palamuru University and can be reached at: vschary@gmail.com)

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