Remember -- these patterns do not, do not, do not, do not have to be specifically taught to the students.
Please do not try to teach these patterns as "rules" to the beginning student. It is much easier
to simply teach them the pronunciation of each word by having them follow your spoken example
while you both look at the printed word
. Everyone learns to speak by imitating others -- no one ever
learned how to speak by following written or spoken rules.
SUMMARY OF PATTERNS FOR THE 9,000 PHONETIC, EASY-TO-READ WORDS
These patterns apply only (see note below) to this system The
system is designed to help beginning readers understand that letters and letter
for specific speech-sounds.
Once they can fluently read this list of carefully selected words, they should
be able to advance to more complex words.
These patterns are presented here in a slightly different form than they
are in the book. Both presentations should be consistent in themselves. At
some later date, the presentation will be made uniform on the site and in
1. CONSISTENCY: All words
on the 9,000+ list were selected to follow these patterns. Words that do not follow
are not on our list of 9,000+ words except as memory words.
2. MEMORY WORDS: 3% of the words
on the list do not follow these patterns. (see page 6 in the book)
3. SPEECH-SOUNDS: In this
system, every letter and letter-combination has a specific speech-sound. It
never varies. (see pages 7 and 107)
4. CVC WORDS: In a CVC word
the vowel is a ‘short’ vowel.
5. LETTER-COMBINATIONS: All
2-letter patterns within a 3-letter pattern always abandon their individual
pronunciations. The pronunciation of the 3-letter
pattern is always used. The system is partially based on this idea: Letters
change their sounds depending on which letters they are near.
(5.1) "ea" is always a long "e" in
the system -- but the long "e" is abandoned in "ear" in
favor of /ear/
(5.2) "in" has the speech sound i/n -- but when it is in "ine" it
is ii/n -- the short 'i' gives way to the long /ii/
(5.3) "all" has a speech sound /all/ (a triphthong?) as in "ball"
-- but when it is in "abnormally" -- it is subsumed into the sound of "ally" which
we define as the speech-sound /u.l.ee/
(5.4) "oo" goes from a long "u" in "boom" to
a radically different sound in the "ook" in book -- which we write
as /uuh.k/ in speech-sound notation.
6. VOWELS ARE SHORT: All
vowels are “short” by default. They only become “long” if
one of these patterns makes them long.
7. LETTER-COMBINATIONS ARE BOSS: When
a vowel is part of a letter-pattern, it gives up its sound to the sound
of the pattern.
8. CONSONANTS: Consonants
always have regular speech-sounds.
9. CAPITALIZED LETTERS: When capitalized
letters are used in acronyms (F.B.I, IOU) or as words (I, OK), the speech-sounds
are the names of the letters.
10. BASHFUL “e”: When “e” ends
a word that includes another vowel, it is silent: otherwise it says its name
11. POSITIONAL PATTERNS: “a”, “e”, “o”, “le”, “ly” and “y” have
special speech-sounds when they are in certain positions (see page 7 in the
(11.1) ‘a’ ending: Single
syllable words -- bra, fa, ha, la, ma, pa, ska -- speech-sound notation:
(11.2) ‘a’ ending: Longer
words -- camera, data, hula, Africa, America -- speech-sound notation:
(11.3) ‘ed’ ending --
armed, barked, mopped, slapped, squirreled -- speech-sound notation:
(11.4) ‘le’ ending -- bottle,
dawdle, doodle, wrinkle, giggle, rattle -- speech-sound notation:
(11.5) ‘o’ ending -- gecko,
go, hello, limo, no, no-no, so, yo-yo -- speech-sound notation:
(11.6) ‘y’ beginning --
yen, yes, yet -- speech-sound notation:
(11.7) ‘y’ middle -- abyss,
hymn, myth, system -- speech-sound notation:
(11.8) ‘y’ ending -- Single
syllable -- by, fly, fry, my, ply, pry, why -- speech-sound notation:
(11.9) ‘y’ ending -- Longer
--badly, blurry, bumpy, bunny, sunny -- speech-sound notation:
12. OVERIDING PATTERNS FOR “INE”: All
of these words should be teated as memory words. They are marked as such on
the master list in the book.
(12.1) If “ine” starts a word, it does not
have the sound /ine/: inedible, ineffable, inept, ineptly, ineptness, inequitable,
inestimable, inestimably, inevitability, inevitable, inevitably.
(12.2) If “ine” is within
the letter combination “inent” it
does not have an /ine/ sound: abstinent, continent, continental, eminent, imminent,
impertinent, incontinent, intercontinental, pertinent, prominent, subcontinent,
(12.3 )If “ine” is within the letter combination “aine” it
does not have the sound /ine/: abstained, brained, chained, detained, detainee,
entertained, explained, gained, grained, obtained, ordained, pained, plainer,
sprained, stained, strained, strainer, trainee, trained, trainer.
(12.4) If “ine” is within the letter combination “oine” it
does not have the sound /ine/: coined, enjoined, joined, purloined.
(12.5) If “ine” is within the letter combination “inet” it
does not have the sound /ine/, bassinet, cabinet, kinetic, martinet, spinet.
NOTE: Some might claim that it is ridiculous to teach patterns
that do not cover the entire language, but we counter with the claim that it
is a good first step
and (we hope) conjecturally efficient. We use the word "conjecturally" because
we do not think the concept has developed to the point where the system can
be described as "theoretically" efficient. Rome wasn't built in a day.