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12.2: Two Last Points About Spelling [l]

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12

Two Last Points About Spelling [l]

1. There are two very similar short vowel sounds: the short <\mathrm{u}>, [u], as in buck, and the short <oo>, [\dot{\mathrm{u}}] as in book Both of these sounds are usually spelled <\mathrm{u}>. Say the following words carefully and mark the vowel sound spelled <\mathrm{u}> as we have with bull:

& \text{bullfighter} && \text{fullest} && \text{bullet} \\& \ [\dot{u}] && \ [\dot{u}] && \ [\dot{u}]\\\\& \text{dullness} && \text{lullaby} && \text{sullen}\\ & \ [u] && \ [u] && \ [u] \\\\& \text{seagull} && \text{skullcap} && \text{bully}\\ & \qquad  [u] && \ [u] && \ [u] \\\\& \text{pulley} && \text{nullify} && \text{gullible}\\ & \ [\dot{u}] && \ [u] &&  \ [u]

2. Sort the twelve words into these two groups:

Words in which
[u] [\dot{\mathrm{u}}]
dullness sullen bullfighter
seagul gullible pulley
lullaby fullest
skullcap bullet
nullify bully

Since the sounds [u] and [\dot{\mathrm{u}}] are so similar and are both short, they pose no spelling problem. It is just another little wrinkle in the way things are.

3. So far you have worked with two different ways of spelling [l]. They are <l> and <ll> . These two spellings are the ones you use almost 100\% of the time!

4. There is only one other spelling of [l] that you need worry about - and it occurs in only three words: island, isle, and aisle.

Word Histories. The <\mathrm{s}> got into island by mistake: In Old English there was a word iegland, which meant “water land,” or “island.” Later the English adopted the French word isle, which also meant “island.” People then made the mistake of thinking that iegland, which was then usually spelled iland, must be a compound of isle and land. They put the <\mathrm{s}> in and changed the word to island.

English also kept the French word isle. The <\mathrm{s}> in isle echoes the <\mathrm{s}> in the original Latin word, insula, which meant “island.”

That French isle also caused the <\mathrm{s}> in aisle. About six hundred years ago in English the word aile meant “wing of a church building.” But people began to mix aile up with isle, perhaps thinking that since an aile (or wing) and an isle (or island) were both off by themselves, the two words must be related. So in went that <\mathrm{s}> again, and aile became our word aisle.

5. Fill in the blanks: Except for the three words isle, island, and aisle, [l] is spelled either <l> or <ll>.

Word Scrambles. Follow the directions very carefully, and write the words you form in the right column. The shaded boxes will contain three words you've studied in this lesson.

  1. Write the word sail - sail
  2. Change the <\mathrm{a}> to <e> and scramble the letters - isle
  3. Add <m> and scramble the letters - slime,miles, limes,smile
  4. change <m> to <\mathrm{a}> and scramble the letters - aisle
  5. Add <d> and scramble the letters - sailed, ladies
  6. Change <e> to <n> and scramble the letters - island

Teaching Notes.

Item 4. The old Latin word insula has some other descendants in modern English -most notably peninsula and insulate. The pen- in peninsula means “almost.” A peninsula is almost an island. Insulate originally meant “to make into an island.” Later it came to mean “to isolate.” It might help the students to remember the <\mathrm{s}> in island to have them associate it with peninsula, in which you can still hear the old <\mathrm{s}>

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Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

Last Modified:

Jan 26, 2015
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