A silent letter is a letter that, in a particular word, does not correspond to any sound in the word's pronunciation.

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2k views

Where did the “ue” in “tongue” come from?

How I remember being told over and over how to spell tongue! I didn't understand it then; I don't understand it now. What evolution might put a silent "ue" at the end of a word?
18
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2answers
450 views

Pronunciation of 'host' in Shakespeare's time

Listening to the recent film production of Macbeth with Patrick Stewart, I noticed that Duncan says: Give me your hand. Conduct me to mine host. Obviously, it's in the text (Act 1, Scene 6). ...
14
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4answers
20k 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". ...
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3answers
2k views

What does the grave accent mark on words mean?

What exactly does the grave accent mean in English? An example from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 30: The sad account of fore-bemoanèd moan
10
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3answers
656 views

is letter “y” derived from “ij”?

It is my intuition, that the origin of the letter y comes from ij based on the usage in Dutch where it very closely resembles ij in both sound and shape. I would go so far as to say it looks like a ...
7
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4answers
2k views

Pterodactyl and Archeopteryx: Silent P vs Voiced P

These words share the Greek root πτέρυξ (pteryx), meaning feather/wing, but the P in pterodactyl is silent (in the initial position), while the P in archeopteryx (in the middle of the word) is voiced. ...
7
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4answers
9k 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?
7
votes
4answers
941 views

How did the silent 't' come into all these 'tch' words?

I'm curious as to how so many words with the 'ch' sound have the silent 't' in them. Catch, itch, retch, hatchet, botch etc. The list is huge. They all have different origins, and yet they have the ...
4
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2answers
234 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?
3
votes
4answers
438 views

Should I abbreviate word starting with “kn” as “K” or “N”?

Imagine you're abbreviating a title that has a kn-word in it (e.g. Should Know). What is the preferred way? Is it SK or SN?
2
votes
1answer
95 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 ...
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2answers
1k views

Aspirated letters vs. Silent letters

How are aspirated letters different from silent letters when pronouncing a word?
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2answers
37 views

Adding “-ing” to a verb ending with a pronounced “e”

When a verb ends with a "e" that is pronounced, do you get rid of the "e" when you add "-ing"? For example, would you say "His karaoking last night was really unique", or "His karaokeing last night ...
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2answers
527 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?)