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12.1: The Sounds of < o > Before < ll >

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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1. In the previous lesson you saw that when <ll> is at the end of a free stem, an <a> right in front of it will spell a short <o> sound, as in ball, [bol]. But when the <ll> is in the middle of the stem, an <a> right in front of it will spell a short <a> sound, as in ballot, [ba´lət]. That's a neat little pattern, but there are a couple of misfits worth noticing:

According to the description, what vowel sound should the word shall have? [o] What vowel sound does shall have? [a]

The word wall fits the pattern because it has the short <o> sound, but longer words with <wa> in front of <ll> in them don't fit: According to the description, what sound should the letter <a> spell in swallow, wallow, wallet, wallop? [a]. What vowel sound do you hear in front of the <ll> in these words? [o]

2. There is a similar pattern for the spelling <oll>. Sometimes you hear a short <o>, but sometimes you hear a long <o>. Read the following words aloud, carefully. Mark the vowel sound in front of the <ll> as we have with troller. Again, if you are not sure how to pronounce any of them, look them up in the dictionary or ask for help:

troller [o]¯trolleys [o]polling [o]¯polliwogs [o]following [o]tolls [o]¯enrolled[o]¯rollicking [o]follies [o]jolliest [o]bollixed [o]knolly[o]¯collies [o]dollars [o]hollowed [o]colleges [o]scrolled [o]¯stroller[o]¯colleagues' [o]collaring [o]

2. Each of the twenty words contains a free stem plus a suffix. Analyze each one:

Word = Free Stem + Suffix Word = Free Stem + Suffix
troller = troll + er bollixed = bollix + ed
trolleys = trolley + s knolly = knoll + y
polling = poll + ing collies = collie + s
polliwogs = polliwog + s dollars = dollar + s
following = follow + ing hollowed = hollow + ed
tolls = toll + s colleges = colleges + s
enrolled = enroll + ed scrolled = scroll + ed
rollicking = rollick + ing stroller = stroll + er
follies = folly + i + es colleagues' = colleague + s'
jolliest = jolly + est collaring = collar + ing

3. When the <ll> is at the end of a free stem, does the <o> right in front of it spell along sound or a short sound? long. When the <ll> is in the middle of a free stem, does the <o> right in front of it spell along sound or a short sound? short

4. Be ready to talk about this: There is one common holdout to this pattern: doll. Why do we call it a holdout?

Word Histories. Polliwog “tadpole” was probably formed from two Old English elements: pol “head” and wiglen “Wiggle.” Over the centuries it has had many, sometimes odd spellings: polwygle, porwig(g)le, porriwiggle, purwiggy, pollywiggle, pollywoggle, polwigge, polewigge, po(o)lwig, polliwig, polly-wig, polliwog.

Rollicking “carefree, joyous” was probably formed by combining either roll or romp with frolic.

Teaching Notes.

For more on the sounds of <o> before <ll>, see AES, pp. 101-02, 446.

Item 4. Doll is a holdout because the pattern would call for [o¯] rather than [o], as in poll and roll.

Word Histories. The third rather odd word in this lesson is bollix, which unfortunately is a “testicles”

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