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3.1: The Consonant Sounds [m] and [n]

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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The Consonant Sounds [m] and [n]

1. You can hear the sound [m] at the end of rum. You can hear the sound [n] at the end of run.

In the words below [m] is spelled <m> or <mm>; [n] is spelled <n>, <nn>, or <kn>. Underline the letters that spell [m] and [n]:

\begin{align*}& \text{smallest} && \text{swi\underline{mm}er} && \text{never} && \text{pla\underline{nn}ing} \\ & \text{ru\underline{nn}ing} && \text{e\underline{n}ough} && \text{\underline{m}usic} && \text{dru\underline{mm}ed} \\ & \text{do\underline{n}e} && \text{di\underline{nn}er} && \text{\underline{kn}ow} && \text{\underline{m}other} \\ & \text{a\underline{n}i\underline{m}al} && \text{su\underline{mm}er} && \text{childre\underline{n}} && \text{ca\underline{nn}ot}\end{align*}

2. Sort the sixteen words into these two groups:

Words that contain the sound ...
[n] [m]
running smallest
done animal
animal swimmer
enough summer
dinner music
never drummed
know mother

3. Now sort the words that contain [m] into these two groups:

Words in which [m] is spelled ...
<m> <mm>
smallest swimmer
animal summer
music drummed

4. Sort the words that contain [n] into these three groups

Words in which [n] is spelled ...
<n> <nn> <kn>
done running know
animal dinner
enough planning
never cannot

5. Two ways to spell [m] are <m> and <mm>.

Three ways to spell [n] are <n>, <nn> and <kn>

Watch the Middles!

child ren
child ren
child ren
can not
can not
can not

Teaching Notes.

Items \begin{align*}3\end{align*} and \begin{align*}4\end{align*}. You might ask the students to find the two words in which the <mm> is due to twinning: swimmer and drummed, and the two with <nn>: running and planning. The one with <nn> due to simple addition is the compound word cannot. Summer and dinner have their double consonants due to the VCC pattern and the short \begin{align*}<\mathrm{u}>\end{align*} and \begin{align*}<\mathrm{i}>\end{align*}.

Watch the Middles. In children the <ren> echoes an old double plural. In some dialects of Old English plurals were formed with an [r] ending, in other dialects with an [n] ending (as in oxen). Apparently speakers of the dialect with [n] didn't recognize the [r]ending as a plural, so they added [n], giving us a double plural. A similar double plural occurs in brethren.

The spellings of [m] and [n] are discussed in more detail in Book Five. For more on [m] and its spellings see AES, \begin{align*}pp.\ 423-29\end{align*}; for more on [n], pp. 429-35.

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Date Created:
Feb 23, 2012
Last Modified:
Jul 07, 2015
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