34
votes
4answers
5k views

Why is “cupboard” pronounced with a silent “p”?

According to Google at least, the word "cupboard" originated in late Middle English as denoting a board that held cups. Since then, the word has evolved to mean a kind of cabinet. My question is, ...
49
votes
4answers
16k views

In the word “Scent”, is the S or the C silent?

So I saw a post on a funny pictures site... "In the word "Scent", is the S or the C silent?" And I thought I could ask about it here. In particular, how does the pronunciation of "scent" differ ...
3
votes
1answer
139 views

Algorithm to determine if an “e” in a word is silent

I'm working on a software that requires me to know if an "e" in a word is silent or not. I thought of using Artificial Intelligence and pattern recognition to determine if the "e" is silent. The AI ...
1
vote
3answers
321 views

Why are “some” letters silent in English? [closed]

There are many such words that we all know about, but please explain why the makers of the English language made up words with silent letters?
9
votes
2answers
372 views

Why doesn't the silent “e” work on “infinite”? [duplicate]

Why doesn't the silent "e" work on the word "infinite"? What I mean is, why does mate have a long "a", but infinite has a short "i"?
4
votes
2answers
280 views

If a letter isn't pronounced but affects pronunciation of other letters, is it still 'silent'?

The 'e' in paste isn't pronounced on its own, but changes the pronunciation of the 'a'. In that case, is the 'e' still referred to as silent?
13
votes
2answers
33k views

Why is the “L” silent when pronouncing “salmon”?

Why is the letter l silent when pronouncing salmon properly?
23
votes
4answers
1k views

Words with a leading silent w

My eldest is a beginning reader. Yesterday we read one of my favorite books, The Wreck of the Zephyr. He pointed at wreck and asked me why that one looked like it said "wuh-reck." I explained that ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Why does a silent “-e” at the end of a word lengthen vowels?

There's a common pattern in English spelling where "short" vowels are pronounced as "long" vowels with the addition of a silent "e" at the end of the word. E.g. bit → bite mat → mate pet → pete ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Consonant transposition: Why is “Wednesday” pronounced “Wensday”?

It appears like a couple of consonant sounds have been transposed. How, why did that happen?
14
votes
4answers
21k views

Why is the 'w' silent in “sword”?

In RP English, the 'w' in "sword" is silent. Wiktionary suggests /sɔːd/ and /soʊrd/. Why? Are there other words like this? The 'w' is pronounced in words like "swollen", "swoop", "sworn" and "swore". ...
-1
votes
2answers
545 views

Is 'r' in Br/Amr pronunciation of Arjmand (Persian word) silent?

Is 'r' in Br/Amr pronunciation of 'Arjmand' (Persian word) silent? (In other words, how is this word pronounced in Br/Amr English?)
7
votes
4answers
10k views

Why does English spelling use silent letters?

Why have a letter in a word when it’s silent in pronunciation, like the b in debt? Can anyone please clarify my uncertainty here?
0
votes
2answers
2k views

Aspirated letters vs. Silent letters

How are aspirated letters different from silent letters when pronouncing a word?
57
votes
11answers
26k views

When should I use “a” versus “an” in front of a word beginning with the letter h?

A basic grammar rule is to use an instead of a before a vowel sound. Given that historic is not pronounced with a silent h, I use “a historic”. Is this correct? What about heroic? Should be “It was a ...