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7.18: Lesson Eighteen

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Sometimes Silent Final <e> Does Two Jobs at Once

1. A silent final <e> marks a preceding vowel as long, a preceding <c> or <g> as soft, and a preceding <th> as voiced.

2. You may have noticed that a silent final <e> can sometimes mark a long vowel and a soft or voiced consonant sound at the same time. Pronounce each of the following words and sort them into the matrix:

& \text{twig} && \text{rage} && \text{twice} && \text{picnic} \\& \text{unlace} && \text{zinc} && \text{hug} && \text{engage} \\& \text{artistic} && \text{advice} && \text{attic} && \text{oblige} \\& \text{zenith} && \text{scythe} && \text{cloth} && \text{clothe}\\& \text{bath} &&\text{bathe} && \text{stag} && \text{stage}

Words that end with...
unvoiced <\mathrm{th}> voiced <\mathrm{th}> soft <c> soft <g>

Words in

which the

final <e>

marks a

long vowel

scythe

bathe

clothe

unlace

advice

twice

rage

engage

oblige

stage

Words in

which there

is no final

<e> to mark a

long vowel

zenith

bath

cloth

artistic

zinc

attic

picnic

twig

hug

stag

3. List the words in which silent final <e> marks a long vowel and also marks a voiced <th> or a soft <c> or a soft <g>:

& scythe && clothe && advice && rage && oblige \\& bathe && unlace && twice && engage && stage

4. In some of the following words the final <e> marks a long vowel and in some it does not. Sort the words into the matrixes:

& \text{expensive} && \text{tongue} && \text{reserve} && \text{argue} \\& \text{produce} && \text{necklace} && \text{advantage} && \text{engage}\\& \text{voyage} && \text{enrage} && \text{suppose} && \text{clause} \\& \text{glimpse} && \text{oppose} && \text{baptize} && \text{bronze} \\& \text{analyze} && \text{worse} && \text{lettuce} && \text{gauze} \\& \text{unlace} && \text{tithe} && \text{scythe} && \text{specialize} \\& \text{arrive} && \text{statue} && \text{mosque} && \text{remove}

Words that end with...
soft <c> soft <g> voiced <\mathrm{th}>

Words in which the

final <e> marks a

long vowel

produce

unlace

enrage

engage

scythe

tithe

Words in which the

final <e> does not

mark a long vowel

necklace

lettuce

voyage

advantage

Words that end with an insulated...
<\mathrm{s}> <z> <\mathrm{u}> <v>

Words in

which the final

<e> marks a

long vowel

oppose

suppose

analyze

baptize

specialize

statue

argue

arrive

remove

Words in

which the final

<e> does not

mark a long

vowel

glimpse

worse

clause

bronze

gauze

tongue

mosque

expensive

reserve

5. In five of the words in Item 4 the final <e> does not mark a long vowel because the vowel is not stressed. Those five words are:

necklace && lettuce && voyage && advantage && expensive

Teaching Notes.

Item 2. You might ask the students why the six empty cells in the matrix are empty. Looked-for answer: Because if a word has a silent final <e>, it cannot end with an unvoiced <th> hard <c>, or hard <g> sound, and in order to end with a voiced <th>, soft <c>, or soft <g> sound, a word must have silent final <e>.

Item 4. We are using produce here as a verb, with stress on the <\mathrm{u}>.

Item 5. In eight other words the final <e> does not mark a long vowel for different reasons: (i) inglimpse, worse, bronze, mosque, and reserve there are two consonant letters between the <e> and the preceding vowel so the words do not end in the pattern VCV; (ii) in clause and gauze the vowel sound is spelled with a digraph, <au>, and in general digraphs are exempt from the normal pattern rules; (iii) in tongue the situation is a little different: I believe we should treat the <\mathrm{u}> as a consonant, similar to the <\mathrm{u}> after <q> in mosque, so the word ends VCCe like the others in (i). This makes the <\mathrm{u}> after <g> a perfect parallel with the <\mathrm{u}> after <q>: Sometimes spelling [w], sometimes silent, but in either case a consonant. Thus in words in which it spells [w] after <g>, <\mathrm{u}> is a consonant, as in distinguish, anguish, language; in words in which it is silent after <g> it is also a consonant, as in disguise, fatigue, guilty, in words in which it spells a vowel sound after [g] it is a vowel: disgust, argue, etc.

Concerning (i) above: Students may wonder about words like scythe and tithe in which the final <e> marks a long vowel that has two letters (a <t> and an <h>) between it and the vowel. Point out to them that when <th> spells a single sound, either [th] or [th], it is treated as a single letter; in words in which the <th> spells two distinct sound, [t] plus [h], as in fathead and hothouse, the <th> is two letters.

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Grades:

1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5

Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

Last Modified:

Apr 29, 2014
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