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6.15: Soft < g > and Deleting Silent Final < e >

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Soft <g> and Deleting Silent Final <e>

1. Final <e> Deletion Rule. You delete the final <e> that marks a soft <c> only when you add a suffix that starts with <e> , <i> , or <y> ; you delete final <e>'s that mark long vowels when you add a suffix that starts with any vowel.

2. Now let’s see what changes the final <e> that marks soft <g> will make in the Final <e> Deletion Rule. Here are some words analyzed for you. Write 'yes' or 'no' in the right hand column:

Free Stem + Suffix = New Word Was a final <e> deleted?
cage + ed = caged Yes
discourage + ment = discouragement No
urge + ing = urging Yes
orange + y = orangy Yes
challenge + s = challenges No
package + ing = packaging Yes
manage + able = manageable No
refuge + ee = refugee Yes
large + est = largest Yes
urge + ency = urgency Yes
cage + y = cagy Yes
marriage + able = marriageable No

3. Analyze each word into its free stem and suffix. Replace any final <e>’s that were deleted. Then write ‘yes’ or 'no' in the right hand column:

Word = Free Stem + Suffix Was a final <e> deleted?
largeness = large + ness No
orangy = orange + y Yes
encouragement = encourage + ment No
urged = urge + ed Yes
challenger = challenge + er Yes
refuges = refuge + s No
discouraged = discourage + ed Yes
marriages = marriage + s No
manager = manage + er Yes

4. You should have found that when the final <e> was deleted, the suffix started with one of three letters: <e> , <i> , or <y>.

Which three letters must always follow a soft <g>? <e>, <i>, and <y> .

5. Be ready to talk about this question: Why do we delete the final <e> that marks a soft <g> only if the suffix starts with <e>, <i>, or <y>?

6. Final <e> Deletion Rule. You delete a final<e> that marks a soft <c> or a soft <g> only when you add a suffix that starts with <e> , <i> , or <y>; you delete a final <e> that is only marking a long vowel when you add a suffix that starts with any vowel

7. Analyze each of the following words into its free stem and suffix. Be sure your analysis shows any final <e> deletions that occur:

Word = Free Stem + Suffix
manageable = manage + able
oranges = orange + s
challenging = challenge + ing
marriageable = marriage + able
largest = large + est

Teaching Notes. It is important that the students see that so far as deleting silent final <e> is concerned, the situation with soft <g> is just like that with soft <c>. Again, the two hard sounds, [k] and [g], are an unvoiced-voiced pair: [k] is unvoiced, [g] is voiced, and beyond that difference they are pronounced in exactly the same way, well back in the mouth. The development of the respective soft sounds, [s] and [j], was due to the tendency of front vowels immediately following the [k] and [g] to pull the point of pronunciation further forward in the mouth. This fronting, together with some other easing of the consonant sounds, led over the centuries to [s] and [j].

Item 2. The final <e> deletion in refugee also avoids the triplet <eee>. In English we avoid triplets, either vowels or consonants. Not all languages do so: In Tahitian, for instance, faaahu means “to clothe, dress” and contains four syllables. For more on the triplet constraint in English, see AES, p. 77.

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