Friday, December 15, 2006

Pronunciation and spelling

How much does a person’s pronunciation affect his or her spelling skills? I’d say a whole lot!! It’s interesting to watch these skills (listening, speaking, and spelling) in young children’s language development … and to note how these skills will probably affect them all their lives.

Here are some commonly mispronounced words in context:

~ My family use to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. <~~The verb should be used to; it's past tense, after all! But if the speaker doesn't hear the past tense, he won't spell it correctly.

~ We are suppose to visit my grandmother in June. <~~The verb should be supposed to; with the auxiliary (helping) verb are, the past participle should be used. Again, if a person doesn't hear it right, likely he won't spell it right either.

~ The story was about a drownded man. <~~The verb form should be drowned; since there is no such verb as "drownd," there can be no past tense or participle spelled "drownded"!!

There are umpteen more, but these are the most commonly butchered words I can think of at the moment. If you think of others and/or want clarification, be sure to let me know in the comments section below.

In first and fifth grades around here (Klein ISD in Texas), weekly spelling lists are phonetically organized. It’s fantastic. If there have to be spelling lists and tests, then having them organized in some logical or phonetic way is a good thing, I think.

In the process of working with my younger grandson on his spelling words each week, I’ve noticed that he has a much easier time than he did last year, even though this year's words are more difficult. Often they are vocabulary words, not just spelling words, so we discuss meanings and uses as well as any spelling issues he has. One week, he had words with the roots ped, port, and dic (pedestrian, import, dictate, etc.). He has learned how to put the words in his lists in “word families” and he studies them in this way.

The words my first-grade granddaughter has been studying are related and phonetic. Here’s one week’s list: much, inch, itch, lunch, such, bunch, munch, crutch, pitch, catch
Of course we had to discuss the meanings of munch and crutch, but she knew all the rest. Other lists she has been given are like this one – very logical, all words related in some aspect. In this way, she gains confidence and can sound out other words with these same sounds.

Excellent pronunciation is tied to good spelling since most English words are quite phonetic. It’s been obvious to me for decades; it’s becoming obvious to these two children also.

Questions? Please post any questions you have in the comments, whether you think it’s related to this topic or not.

No comments: