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Questions tagged [silent-letters]

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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What is the importance of silent letters in English language? [duplicate]

How did the usage of silent letters came into being? For example : what is the use of 'k' in knife or 'p' in pneumonia ?
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Why do we spell the word “who” with a silent “w” when it isn’t needed?

If we spelled who without the W – making it ho like with do and to — it could still make sense, so why is there a silent W in the word who?
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Which word has a silent B at the start? [duplicate]

According to this Guardian article, about the book “P is Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever”, there is one word in the English language which starts with a silent B. Unfortunately, they don’t ...
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Silent-letter U in the word Vagueries [closed]

When pronouncing the word vagueries, is the U silent or pronounced as in the British pronunciation of jaguar? The context is the sentence ”The rebuttal was replete with so many vagueries as to be ...
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Is there a word spelled with a silent B at the start?

My dad and I were playing a game in the car where we picked a letter and then each alternated saying a word that started with that letter. We did it with b, for example, it might go: Dad: bath me:...
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Is there an etymological explanation for the silent ‘g’ in “paradigm”?

Whenever I come across the word paradigm, I have to make a small conscious effort not to pronounce the letter ‘g’. In Italian, it is spelled paradigma and each letter is individually pronounced i.e. ...
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1answer
275 views

Use of silent letters and how to identify them? [closed]

While watching SpellBee on Discovery Channel I came to hear the word Malapropos which was just pronounced without the ending -s, ie. it was silent. The boy pronounced it correctly but missed the ...
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1answer
105 views

Silent/linking 'r' before vowels in British English

Here is an example where r occurs before vowels: The shelter of your arms, Mother Earth I'm referring to this service for transcription. British transcription shows that none of them are silent: ...
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Why is it “argument” instead of “arguement”?

Why would you replace the <e> in argue before affixing <-ment>?
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683 views

Silent consonants in words like lawn, dawn [closed]

Is it w or wn?I have no idea,kindly help me out? What about in words like rogue,does ue or u count as silent consonants although they are clearly vowels?
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Why is the word “folks” pronounced [foʊks]?

Why is the word folks sound like it’s pronounced [foʊks] rather than [fɔɫks]? It’s as though people are thinking it’s spelled fokes.
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681 views

Reason for silent letters before “n” [closed]

What is the reason, historical or otherwise, that many consonants are silent when they appear before "n". Examples: Gnome Pneumonia Mnemonic Knowledge
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What are these silent H's in place names in England?

I went to England and heard people pronouncing place names weirdly. For example, Caterham was pronounced "K-ter-rum" or "K-trum" instead of "K-ter-ham" Selhurst was pronounced "SEL-lust" instead of "...
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Why is the plural form of piano “pianos” and not “pianoes”?

The rule says that if a singular noun ends in consonant + "o" then the plural form will be consonant + "oes". e.g. tomato => tomatoes. Then, why this rule does not apply to piano?
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1answer
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Confusing 'r' sounds

In their kids song "Crazy ABCs", the Barenaked Ladies sing about words that start with confusing sounds: A is for aisle B is for bdellium C is for czar However, when the song gets to "r":...
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1answer
545 views

pronouncing “l” as a vowel

I am a native English speaker with a British accent. When I say words like: lion, liver, below etc. - there is definite contact between my tongue and teeth/roof of the mouth. When I say words like: ...
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1answer
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Is “ageing” the only exception?

have, having love, loving make, making take, taking give, giving hate, hating strive, striving Etc. When a verb in its lemmatic form ends with "-e" then its present participle omits that letter. ...
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When did Magdalen return to England?

From Mary of Magdala, the female disciple of Jesus Christ cited in the New Testament, we have the names Magdalen and Magdalene. Oxford Dictionaries includes the archaic definitions of magdalen, a ...
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1answer
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How did the “h” get in “gherkin”?

I've recently taken an interest in silent letters, and I discovered that the letter h in ghost was inserted by a faulty printer. On a search for similarly romantic etymologies, I ran into gherkin, ...
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1answer
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How did the “b” get in “debt”? [duplicate]

According to both my trusted sources (wiktionary and etymonline), the word debt ("something owed") traces to the Middle English word dette, which goes back to dett, from the French etymon dete. I was ...
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2answers
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Silent /d/ or /t/

When a word ending with the /d/ or /t/ sound is pronounced and the next word starts with a consonant, the sounds /d/ or /t/ are silent. For example: I used to play tennis. My question is related to ...
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2answers
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History and Explanation of Scientific English Pronunciation Convention: PS, PN, PT

A research question on pronunciation I have been looking for the explanation and history of the English pronunciation convention of not pronouncing the P at the start of double consonant scientific ...
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Silent Letters In Words Containing Double Letters

I'm doing an exercise, which says find the silent letters in some words. one of them is "OFFICE" Does this word have 1 or 2 silent letters? The final 'E'     Or     final 'E' + one of 'F's Are double ...
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What was the historical pronunciation of the digraph <gh> like? [duplicate]

What was the historical pronunciation of the digraph <gh>, as in height, thought, thorough, laugh, enough, Edinburgh like?
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5answers
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Is there a term for the silent letters in a word?

Such letters are employed in spelling but are not pronounced, and English offers a wealth of examples more than any other language . most final "b's" preceded by "m" (dumb, climb, thumb, etc) most "k'...
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Why is “Thailand” spelled with an 'h'?

As we all know, "Thailand" is not pronounced with a /θ/ — so why is it spelled that way? Is the 'h' vestigial? Does it represent some subtle phoneme in the Thai language, and if so, what is that ...
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1answer
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Why isn't the ‘P’ in psychology pronounced? [duplicate]

Why is the initial letter of some of the words like pneumonia, and psychology not pronounced?
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9answers
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How is y’all’dn’t’ve pronounced

According to Wikipedia, y’all’dn’t’ve is a valid contraction. I am having difficulty pronouncing the L-D-N-T-V consonant cluster, especially since there is no vowel at the end (silent E). Y’all’dn’t’...
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2answers
535 views

What is the significance of having a silent letter like “k” in a word? [duplicate]

Why is the k silent in: known /nəʊn/; knife /nʌɪf/, and knight /nʌɪt/? What does this specify?And what is k doing there if there is no need to pronounce it?
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4answers
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Silent “e” at the end of words

Back in 2009, a job interviewer sent me a link to a web service that would help me make a free telephone call via the internet... Skype. As a native speaker, I knew "instinctively" to pronounce this "...
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4answers
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How to pronounce “Calm”? [closed]

I need to know how "Calm" is exactly pronounced (whether the L is silent or not). And I need a good reference as an evidence.
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3answers
775 views

Missing sound: final skt letters

I've noticed that many Americans in movies usually omit letter k when it falls between s and t sounds at the end of any word like in asked, tasked, Can we generalize that as a rule, so the word ...
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1answer
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Is it “a honor” or “an honor”? is h silent in this word in American English? [closed]

I read a tweet of President Obama: An honor to address the Coast Guard class of 2015. Confident they'll help us meet big challenges like climate change. Is h a silent letter in this word in ...
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What is the parenthetical plural of “baby”? [duplicate]

A letter home from daycare may be sensitive to the fact that some children have a single parent like this: Dear Parent(s), And if that same letter home wanted to be sensitive to the fact that I ...
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1answer
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Is it “policy(ies)” or policy(s)" for an optional, parenthetical plural suffix? [duplicate]

When writing a noun that shows a parenthetical plural suffix option, which is acceptable, "policy(ies)" or policy(s)"?
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5answers
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How do “you” pronounce eczema?

/ˈɛɡzɪmə/, /ˈɛksɪmə/, /ˈɛksmə/ As I no longer live in the UK I don't usually hear how eczema is pronounced, so I've always pronounced it as ig-zee-muh but recently my English boyfriend told me that ...
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Is it “togglable” or “toggleable”?

The dialect is American English, but I'd be interested to know if this varies between dialects. Is it"togglable" or "toggleable"? Because neither dictionary.com, webster.com, nor Outlook's spelling ...
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2answers
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Why are there some inert letters?

My original question was: why is ⟨g⟩ is silent in phlegm but not in its derivatives like phlegmatic? After a research, I was linked to the Silent letter wiki: Some are inert letters, which are ...
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1answer
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What is the most “hardworking” letter in the English alphabet? [closed]

I hope I am not being pedantic; however, I could not come up with an answer on the internet. I wonder which is the letter which can be discriminated from the alphabet system on the basis of its ...
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1answer
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The etymology of February

According to my dictionary, the word February originates directly from Middle English "Feverer" from Old French "Feverier" yet the Modern English word more closely resembles the original Latin ...
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0answers
66 views

Is there any rule of silent initial letters in English? [duplicate]

Mostly we some times uses silent words like knife, knock, knee etc i want to know is there any law in english please also inform me why these are silent? I am a new english language learner.
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4answers
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Silent letters in English [closed]

With the help of dictionaries, I’ve assembled a list of letters that can be silent in English: For most letters, I found more than one example, what are the other examples of a silent z (rendezvous)...
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4answers
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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, ...
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5answers
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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 ...
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1answer
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Entry(s) or Entrie(s)? [duplicate]

Sometimes you come across this format suggesting 'one or more', in not as many words, like "Please select the book(s) you wish to loan". But what happens in that case of plurals that don't follow the ...
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Last names that are English words with an extra 'e'

I noticed that there are a lot of last names that have an 'e' at the end. The pronunciation usually isn't changed from that of the base word. Poole Steele Browne Clarke Why do English words not ...
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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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1answer
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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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3answers
910 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?
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2answers
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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"?