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# 15.13: VCV and Words like Lemon

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12

## VCV and Words like Lemon

1. You have worked with two rules that explain two of the reasons that many VCV strings have short head vowels:

The Third Vowel Rule. The third vowel sound from the end of a word will often be _________ if it is _________, even if it is the first vowel in a _______ string.

The Suffix -ity Rule. The vowel right in front of the suffix -ity will be _________ even if it is the first vowel in a VCV string.

2. There is a third rule that causes many other VCV strings to have short head vowels. Look at and say the word lemon: It has the VCV string <emo> in the middle, but the <e> is short. There is no suffix -ity and the <e> is not in the third syllable from the end:

le´monVCV\begin{align*} & \text{l}\acute{e}\text{mon}\\ & \text{VCV}\end{align*}

So why is the <e> short in lemon, instead of being long, as it is in a word like demon?

The brief answer to that question is that lemon was borrowed from French, and many of our words from French have that same pattern. Demon, on the other hand, has a long <e> at the head of its VCV string because demon was borrowed from Latin, not from French.

Six of the following twelve words were borrowed from French and have short vowels at the head of VCV strings. None of the other six were borrowed from French; all have long vowels at the head of VCV strings. Mark all twelve words to show the VCV string as we have done with lemon:

lemon vcvdemondrivermodelyodelspeciousscholarmolarnavelriverpreciousgravel\begin{align*} &\text{lemon} && \text{model} && \text{scholar} &&\text{river}\\ &\ \text{vcv} \\ &\text{demon} && \text{yodel} && \text{molar} && \text{precious}\\ &\text{driver} && \text{specious} && \text{navel} && \text{gravel}\end{align*}

3. Sort the twelve words into the following two groups:

4. Starting with the first vowel in each word mark the VCV string. Then sort the words into the two groups described below:

speciousbalanceyodellegallemonschedulechoruspreciousspinachratiomomentstomachlegendagentvaluepresentclosetfocuslocalstatuedozenrecentmolarlizard\begin{align*}&\text{specious} && \text{chorus} && \text{legend} &&\text{local}\\ &\text{balance} && \text{precious} && \text{agent} && \text{statue}\\ &\text{yodel} && \text{spinach} && \text{value} && \text{dozen}\\ &\text{legal} && \text{ratio} && \text{present} && \text{recent}\\ &\text{lemon} && \text{moment} && \text{closet} && \text{molar}\\ &\text{schedule} && \text{stomach} &&\text{focus} && \text{lizard}\end{align*}

5. Since so many words like lemon that have two vowel sounds and were borrowed from French have a short vowel in a VCV string, we will call this the French Lemon Rule:

Words that have _____ vowel sounds and were borrowed from _____ will have a _____ first vowel, even in a _____ string.

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