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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 \begin{align*}<\mathrm{a}>\end{align*} 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 \begin{align*}<\mathrm{a}>\end{align*} right in front of it will spell a short \begin{align*}<\mathrm{a}>\end{align*} sound, as in ballot, [b\begin{align*}\acute{\mathrm{a}}\end{align*}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 \begin{align*}<\mathrm{a}>\end{align*} 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:

\begin{align*}& \text{troller} && \text{tolls} && \text{bollixed} && \text{colleges} \\ & \ \bar{[o]} && \ \bar{[o]} && \ [o] && \ [o] \\ & \text{trolleys} && \text{enrolled} && \text{knolly} && \text{scrolled} \\ & \ [o] && \quad \bar{[o]} && \quad \bar{[o]} && \quad \ \bar{[o]} \\ & \text{polling} && \text{rollicking} && \text{collies} && \text{stroller} \\ & \ \bar{[o]} && \ [o] && \ [o] && \quad \bar{[o]} \\ & \text{polliwogs} && \text{follies} && \text{dollars} && \text{colleagues'} \\ & \ [o] && \ [o] && \ [o] && \ [o] \\ & \text{following} && \text{jolliest} && \text{hollowed} && \text{collaring} \\ & \ [o] && \ [o] && \ [o] && \ [o]\end{align*}

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 = foll\begin{align*}\cancel{y}\end{align*} + i + es colleagues' = colleague + s'
jolliest = joll\begin{align*}\cancel{y}\end{align*} + 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 \begin{align*}[\bar{\mathrm{o}}]\end{align*} 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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