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# 15.12: More Practice with the Third Vowel Rule

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12

## More Practice with the Third Vowel Rule

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

2. In sixteen of the words below the vowel in bold type is covered by the Third Vowel Rule. In the other eight words the vowel in bold type is not covered by the Third Vowel Rule — sometimes because it is not stressed, sometimes because it is not the third vowel sound from the end of the word. In each word put an accent mark over the vowel that has stress on it, and put a \begin{align*}‘3’\end{align*} under the vowel letter that spells the third vowel sound from the end of the word. If a word does not have three vowels sounds, do not put a number under it. We have given you a start with xerography and committees:

\begin{align*}& \text{xer}\acute{\text{o}}\text{graphy} && \text{r}\acute{\text{e}}\text{medy} && \text{acc}\acute{\text{o}}\text{mplish} && \text{c}\acute{\text{a}}\text{lculate} \\ & \quad \ 3 && \ \ 3 && 3 && \ \ 3 \\ & \text{comm}\acute{\text{i}}\text{ttees} && \acute{\text{e}}\text{nergy} && \text{pr}\acute{\text{e}}\text{sident} && \text{sc}\acute{\text{i}}\text{ssors} \\ & \ \ 3 && 3 && \quad 3 \\ & \text{solvable} && \text{h}\acute{\text{e}}\text{sitate} && \text{t}\acute{\text{e}}\text{lephone} && \text{v}\acute{\text{e}}\text{nerate} \\ & \ \ 3 && \ \ 3 && \ \ 3 && \ \ 3 \\ & \text{person}\acute{\text{a}}\text{lity} && \text{s}\acute{\text{y}}\text{mphony} && \text{exc}\acute{\text{e}}\text{ssive} && \text{s} \acute{\text{a}}\text{tisfy} \\ & \qquad \ \ \ 3 && 3 && 3 && \ \ 3 \\ & \acute{\text{a}}\text{lternate} && \text{obj}\acute{\text{e}}\text{ctive} && \text{d}\acute{\text{e}}\text{finite} && \text{t}\acute{\text{o}}\text{lerate} \\ & 3 && 3 && \ \ 3 && \ \ 3 \\ & \text{amb}\acute{\text{a}}\text{ssador} && \acute{\text{e}}\text{lephant} && \text{aff}\acute{\text{e}}\text{ction} && \text{m}\acute{\text{i}}\text{grant} \\ & \qquad 3 && 3 && 3\end{align*}

3. Sort the words into the two groups described below. Remember that for one of these vowels to be covered by the Third Vowel Rule, it must have an accent mark over it and a \begin{align*}‘3’\end{align*} under it. In the Reason column show why the vowels in bold type in the eight words are not covered by the rule: Put “No stress” if they are not stressed or “Not #3” if they are not spelling the third vowel sound from the end of the word:

Words in which the vowel in bold type ...
is covered by the Third Vowel Rule is not covered by the Third Vowel Rule Reason
xerography elephant committees No stress
solvable president alternate No stress
personality telephone objective Not #3
remedy calculate excessive No Stress
energy venerate affection Not #3
hesitate satisfy scissors Not #3
symphony tolerate migrant Not #3

4. In the sixteen words in which the vowel in bold type is covered by the Third Vowel Rule, eleven of the bold vowels are the first vowel in a VCV string; five are in a VCC string. Sort the sixteen words into these two groups:

Words in which the vowel in bold type is...
the first vowel in a VCV string in a VCC string
personality telephone xerography
remedy definite solvable
hesitate satisfy symphony
elephant tolerate calculate
president

5. Are the vowels in the VCV strings in the eleven words long or short? Short Why? They are stressed and they are the third vowel sound from the end of the word, so they are affeted by the Third Vowel Rule.

Teaching Notes.

Item 2: Students may have problems identifying the stressed vowels in these words. Point out to them that we are interested here only in identifying the one most heavily stressed vowel in each word. Try pronouncing the words for them with the stress differences exaggerated (that is, with the strong syllable very strong and the weak syllables very weak). Pronounce each problem word three or four times with this exaggerated pronunciation, moving the stress from one syllable to another. Tell the students that the pronunciation that seems least grotesque has the stress on the correct vowel. This could also be a good chance for the students to do some work in their dictionaries, which will tell them where the stress is in each of these words.

Item 5. The Third Vowel Rule is unreliable in words that contain free stems that are common words and that have stress on the same vowels that the words have. For instance, definable and fatalism both contain free stems —define and fatal—with stress on the same vowel that it is on in the original word, and third vowels from the end that are long. It is especially unreliable if the word consists of a free stem plus some inflectional suffixes. For instance, laciest analyzes to the free stem lacy plus the inflectional suffix -est: lac\begin{align*}\cancel{y}\end{align*} + i + est, again with a long third vowel. It is most reliable with words from Latin and French that contain bound stems, and since English contains so many of those words, in spite of its limitations, the rule is still a good one. For more on this aspect of the Third Vowel Rule, see AES, pp. 139-41

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Date Created:
Feb 23, 2012
Jul 07, 2015
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