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7.9: Review of [ə] and [u]

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Review of [ə] and [u]

1. In the following words, underline the letters that spell schwa, [ə]. Double underline the letters that spell short \begin{align*}<\mathrm{u}>\end{align*}<u>, [u]. Then sort the sixteen words into the matrix:

\begin{align*}& \text{\underline{a}dj\underline{\underline{u}}st} && \text{s\underline{\underline{u}}mm\underline{o}n} && \text{pr\underline{o}duce} && \text{t\underline{\underline{ou}}gh\underline{e}n}\\ & \text{loy\underline{a}lty} && \text{joyf\underline{u}lly} && \text{\underline{a}ccount} && \text{roy\underline{a}l}\\ & \text{pois\underline{o}n} && \text{thous\underline{a}nd} && \text{spoiled} && \text{\underline{a}llowed}\\ & \text{downtown} && \text{t\underline{\underline{o}}ngue} && \text{mount\underline{ai}n} && \text{cl\underline{\underline{u}}bhouse}\end{align*}\underline{a}dj\underline{\underline{u}}stloy\underline{a}ltypois\underline{o}ndowntowns\underline{\underline{u}}mm\underline{o}njoyf\underline{u}llythous\underline{a}ndt\underline{\underline{o}}nguepr\underline{o}duce\underline{a}ccountspoiledmount\underline{ai}nt\underline{\underline{ou}}gh\underline{e}nroy\underline{a}l\underline{a}llowedcl\underline{\underline{u}}bhouse

2. Sort the words into this matrix:

Words with ...
[ə]: no[ə]:
Words with [u]:






Words with no [u]:












2. Three ways to spell [u] are \begin{align*}\underline{<u>}\end{align*}<u>, <ou>, and <o>.

3. List all the different ways you found in the sixteen words to spell schwa: \begin{align*}<a>\end{align*}<a>, <o>, <e>, \begin{align*}<u>\end{align*}<u>, <ai>

Word Squambles. This Squambles is made up of words that contain the sound [oi]. We<ve given you a bit of a start. Unscramble the easy words first and enter them into' the squares. That will give you some clues to help you with the harder ones. As you enter each word into the squares, check it off the list:

Rows Columns
3. yilo \begin{align*}\surd\end{align*} oily 1. yoingt toying
4. nico coin 2. slycoilvese voicelessly
7. noyjeed enjoyed 5. eeiolnnpsssst pointlessness
9. stinjo joints 6. plingios spoiling
10. aloly loyal 7. entoymenj enjoyment
11. fuylyjol joyfully 8. toysalir royalist
12. hecoic choice 11. noijnig joining
13. noislig soiling 14. ovaid avoid
14. paintmopent appointment 15. silo oils
15. loci coil
17. noisdule unsoiled
18. reredtoys destroyer

Teaching Notes.

Item 1. We are taking produce here as the verb, with stress on the second vowel. If it is taken as the noun, with stress on the first vowel, then there is no schwa and no [u] in it, and it would go into the lower right square in the matrix.

Tongue can be a very difficult word for spellers. You might remind the students that <o> is a fairly common spelling of [u]: front, among, brother, comfort, confront, monkey, month, mother, nothing, smother, sponge, wonder, etc. This <o> spelling of [u] is due to a feature of handwriting in the Middle Ages: Several different letters were composed of combinations of single vertical pen strokes called minims. A minim looked something like this:\begin{align*}\int\end{align*}. The letter \begin{align*}<\mathrm{u}>\end{align*}<u> consisted of two minims, \begin{align*}\iint\end{align*}. So did the letter <n>, \begin{align*}\iint\end{align*}. The letter \begin{align*}<\mathrm{i}>\end{align*}<i> was \begin{align*}\int\end{align*}. The letter <m> was \begin{align*}\iiint\end{align*}. Since they tended back then to crowd the letters and words together, there could be interpretation problems with words that contained sequences of two or more letters that consisted of minims. For instance, the word minim would be something like \begin{align*}\iiiint\end{align*}∬∬\begin{align*}\iiiint\end{align*}∬∬\begin{align*}\iint\end{align*} Since \begin{align*}<\mathrm{u}>\end{align*}<u> consisted of two minims but <o> did not, the convention arose of changing \begin{align*}<\mathrm{u}>\end{align*}<u> to <o> when it was close to other minim letters. Tongue, for instance, was spelled tunge in Old English, and the \begin{align*}<\mathrm{u}>\end{align*}<u> was apparently changed to <o> to avoid the string of four minims in <un>: \begin{align*}\iiiint\end{align*}∬∬.

If you were to leave out the \begin{align*}<\mathrm{u}>\end{align*}<u> in tongue, you would get \begin{align*}^*\end{align*}tonge, which looks as if it should be pronounced with a soft <g>, [j], like sponge. The \begin{align*}<\mathrm{u}>\end{align*}<u> can be said to insulate the <g> from the <e>. That, alas, leaves unexplained the continuing presence of the <e>. (For more on tongue, see AES, p. 437.)

Squambles. You may want to warn the students that the word in row \begin{align*}10\end{align*}10 is not alloy and that the word in column \begin{align*}15\end{align*}15 is not soil. The letters are there to spell alloy and soil, but they will not work in the squares.

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