PRONUNCIATION – 3 Lesson 4
2.Polite Phrases – 3
PRONUNCIATION – 3
This lesson shows a small list of the silent letters from A to Z and is designed to be used as a guide to help you pronounce words.
WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF A SILENT LETTER?
A silent letter is left unpronounced, such as the ‘d’ in handkerchief, the ‘n’ in autumn and the ‘p’ in cupboard. When talking fast, silent words like ‘t’ are very lightly pronounced in words like Christmas and little.
ARE THERE MANY SILENT WORDS IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE?
Sadly yes. It is said that as much as 60% of words in the English language have a silent letter in them. This makes spelling a lot more difficult for learners and even some native speakers.
Try pronouncing these words:
gnat, honour, psychology, hour, write, knowledge
Now let us see the rules governing these silent letters. Remember that most of these rules are only guidelines and there are exceptions to these rules.
Wednesday (commonly pronounced as Wens-day)
When ‘a’ is followed by a ‘lly’ –>ally
artistically, musically, practically, physically
a) When ‘b’ is preceded by ‘m’ –> mb
comb, bomb, thumb, dumb, plumber
b) When ‘b’ is followed by ‘t’ –>bt
doubt, debt, subtle
a) When ‘c’ follows an ‘s’ –> sc
ascend, descend, conscience, conscious , science, scissors, disciple, fluorescent, crescent, scene, scent, obscene, muscle, fascinate, discern
b) When ‘c’ comes before ‘k’ –>ck
pluck, frock, lock, track
c) When ‘c’ comes before ‘q’ –> cq
acquire, acquit, acquaintance
a) When ‘d’ is followed by ‘g’ –> dg
badge, edge, grudge, pledge
b) When ‘d’ is sandwiched between two consonants
handkerchief, sandwich, handsome, hands, bands
c) When ‘d’ is followed by ‘n’ –> dn
a) When the word ends in ‘e’
age, cage, badge, stare, edge, like, fake, take, table, trouble, vegetable
b) When ‘e’ comes before ‘d’ –> ed –> in the past tense or perfect tense
fixed, danced, played, tried, walked
a) When ‘g’ is followed by ‘n’ –> gn
gnat, gnarl, align, sign, design, consign
There are some exceptions like magnet and signature.
b) When ‘g’ is followed by ‘ht’ –>ght
sight, night, bright, thought, daughter
When ‘gh’ is preceded by a vowel
sight, weigh, light, right, through, thorough, dough
a) When the word begins with ‘h’ (sometimes)
honour, hour, heir, honest
b) When ’h’ is preceded by ‘c’ –> ch
architect, mechanic, chemical, chorus, character, technology, school, scheme
c) When ‘h’ is preceded by ‘g’ –> gh
d) When ‘h’ is preceded by ‘r’ –> rh
rhinoceros, rhyme, rhythm
e)When ‘h’ is preceded by ‘w’ –>wh
what, why, when, whether, where, while, white, while, whisper
f) When ‘h’ comes after ‘ex’ –> exh
exhibition, exhaust, exhale
g) When ‘h’ comes between two vowels
a) When ‘k’ precedes ‘n’ –> kn
knack, knead, kneel, knew, knife, knickers, knock, knowledge, knob
a) When ‘l’ is followed by ‘f’ –> lf
b) When ‘l’ is followed by ‘k’ –> lk
talk, stalk, walk, chalk, folk, yolk
c) When ‘l’ is followed by ‘m’ –> lm
balm, palm, calm, salmon
d) When ‘l’ is followed by ‘d’ –> ld
should, could, would
When ‘n’ is preceded by ‘m’ –> mn
autumn, column, hymn, condemn
a) When ‘p’ is followed by ‘sy’ –> psy
psychology, psycho, psychiatrist
b) When ‘p’ is followed by ‘n’ –> pn
c) When ‘p’ is followed by ‘s’ –> ps
pseudonym, psoriasis, psalms, lamps, tramps
d) Unique occurrences
When ‘s’ has ‘i’ as a precedent –> is
aisle, island, debris
a) When ‘t’ is preceded by ‘s’ and followed by ‘en’ –> sten
listen, moisten, chasten, fasten
b) When ‘t’ is preceded by ‘s’ and followed by ‘le’ –> stle
apostle, bristle, whistle, wrestle, castle
c) When ‘t’ is followed by ‘ch’ –> tch
butcher, batch, fetch, latch, scratch, watch
d) Other occurrences
Christmas, soften, mortgage, ballet, rapport
a) When ‘u’ is followed by ‘i’ –> ui
biscuit, building, guide, guitar
b) When ‘u’ has ‘g’ preceding and ‘e’ following it –> gue
tongue, rogue, guess, guest
c) Other occurences
a) When ‘w’ is followed by ‘h’ –> wh
who, whole, whom, whose
b) When ‘w’ is followed by ‘r’ –>wr
wring, write, wreck, wrist, wrap
c) Other occurences
two, answer, sword
Now try pronouncing the following words correctly:
climb, logically, honour, calm, dumb , folk, salmon, talk, parliament, honest, herb, rhyme, Wednesday, doubt, blackguard, Chevrolet, aisle, depot, listen, diaphragm, gnash, corps, coup, cupboard, plaque, island, debris , veqetable , autumn, chimney pneumonia, Connecticut
We should also keep in mind one thing – Silent letters are sometimes heard depending on a person’s accent.
a) If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper, where is the peck of pickled pepper Peter Piper picked?
b) How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
2.POLITE PHRASES – 3
You already know to say “Please”, “Thank you,” and “Excuse me” – but here are 15 more ways to make your English sound more polite!
1.WHEN YOU WANT SOMETHING
Don’t say: I want a hamburger.
Say: I’d like a hamburger.
or: I’ll have a hamburger, please.
“I want ” sounds like a demand, as if you are commanding the other person to fulfill your desires. “i”d like” is a more polite and diplomatic phrase. When ordering food and drinks, we often use “I’ll have…”
2.WHEN YOU WANT SOMETHING TO BE DONE
Don’t say: Send me the report.
Say: Could you send me the report?
To maintain good relationships with people, it’s best not to use imperatives (starting a sentence directly with a verb like “Reply to my e-mail”, “Go to the bank”, “Finish this project” etc.)
3.WHEN YOU WANT SOMETIME TO FINISH YOUR WORK
Don’t say: Go away. Leave me alone.
Say: Could you give me a minute?
If a colleague approaches you at a bad time and you want the person to leave, use “Could you…?” when you just need a few moments to finish up what you’re working on, and then you’ll talk with them.
Otherwise, you can say,
Sorry, I’m a bit busy right now.
Can we talk a little later?
4.WHEN YOU WANT TO KNOW SOMETHING/ SOME INFORMATION
Don’t say: Tell me when you’re available.
Say: Let me know when you’re available.
“Let me know” is a nicer and more indirect way to say “tell me.” It’s a casual way to ask for some information. Alternatively, you could simply ask the question, “When are you available?”
5.WHEN YOU ARE POINTING OUT SOMEONE’S MISTAKE
Don’t say: You’re wrong.
Say: I’m afraid that’s not quite right.
or: Actually… (say the correct information)
or: I’m sorry but I don’t agree.
We need to avoid using the word “You”, as it can make the listener more defensive. It’s best to use a more indirect phrase when pointing out someone’s mistake. And always try to provide a possible solution for the issue, or at least some direction.
6.WHEN YOU WANT TO STATE YOUR OBJECTION
Don’t say: That’s a bad idea.
Say: I’m not so sure that’s a good idea.
or: I have a few concerns.
Instead of using strong and direct words like “bad,” it’s more polite to say “I’m not so sure that’s a good idea.” Another option is to state your specific objections by pointing them out as “concerns.”
7.WHEN YOU NEED TO TELL SOMEONE TO IMPROVE THEIR WORK
Don’t say: Your work isn’t good.
Say: I’m not quite satisfied with this.
or: I’m not quite happy about this.or: To be honest, this needs some improvement.
One of the hardest things to do is telling somebody that their work doesn’t meet the standards or expectations. You can make it easier for the other person to accept by using these phrases. The phrase “to be honest…” is used when you are going to state an opinion that other people might not like very much.
8.WHEN YOU WANT TO STATE YOUR OPINIONS, LIKES AND DISLIKES
Don’t say: I don’t like American food.
Say: I’m not too fond of American food.or: I prefer Indian food.
When reviewing work, avoid statements like “I don’t like…” Instead, you can use a more indirect form like “I’m not too fond of…” or “I’m not a fan of…” Another option is to state what you would like instead: “I prefer…” or “I’d rather…”
Waiter: Good evening Ladies! Please let me know, what you would like to have!
Grace: I’ll have a hot coffee, please.
Waiter: We have a new Chinese dish for the day! Would you like to have that?
Angela: Sorry, I’m not a big fan of Chinese dishes. I prefer American food.
Waiter: As you wish!
Grace: And could you get me my coffee, as soon as possible! I’ve got a bad headache!
Waiter: Yes Ma’am! Right away.
Sarah: Good morning, Ma’am.
Teacher: Yes. Please take your seat.
Sarah: I heard that you wanted to meet me.
Teacher: Yes Mrs. Sarah. I’m not quite happy with your son Dan’s scores in this test.
Sarah: But, I’m afraid. You might have mistaken. He has scored As in all his papers.
Teacher: Oh! Give me a moment, please. (checks the file, and find it’s the wrong kid’s parent) I’m extremely sorry. It’s my fault.
Sarah: No problem. But, please let me know when you are available. I would like to discuss about my son’s musical performance.
Teacher: Sure. I will. Sorry again. Have a nice day!
Tracy: I think this graph is good for today’s presentation.
Priya: Sorry. I disagree. Please check the sales details. I think you need to make some changes.
Tracy: Really? Give me a minute. Lemme check. (checks the report and …)But Priya, I think you are mistaken. These are last month’s sales figures.
Priya: Oh, my mistake! I’m sorry.
Raj: Tracy, I can see that you have put in a lot of effort in preparing this chart. It’s very informative!
Vijay: Yes, that’s true. But I’d prefer a more lighter colour scheme.
Priya: Oh yes. I agree on that one. I know for sure, that our boss is not fond of bright shades on a graph.
Tracy: OK, then let me change that right away. Give me a moment.
acquire, acquit, blackguard, gnash, gnaw, cap, ice, cub, cupid, peace, pelvic, cyclonic, stage, badge, germ, gap, goitre, big, bag, bug, stag, tug, tag, game, truck, crib, receive, truck, cattle, clone, couple, cyclones, bribes, badges, beagles, beautifies, climb, logically, honour, calm, dumb, folk, salmon, talk, parliament, honest, herb, rhyme, Wednesday, doubt, guard, Chevrolet, aisle, depot, listen, diaphragm, champagne, corps, coup, cupboard, plaque, island, debris, veqetable, autumn, chimney, pneumonia, toys, heroines, stories, niece, topic, custom, cinema, certificate, clay, finger, bring, hanger, cupid, peace, dictation, capture, tall, friction, pelvic, club, track, century, fables, rays, hopes, hubs, hives, waves, tools, boys, fools, various, studious, ratio, vulture, taste, toys, tremble, courage, drastic, house, brush, ration
BUILDING A CONVERSATION
Preetha is a new employee, who is on her first day at work.
Talk to her regarding her previous work place. Also try to make
a friendly conversation like asking her about her family, her hometown etc.
a) How can a clam cram in a clean cream can?
b) If a dog chews shoes, whose shoes would he chose?
c) Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy Wuzzy has no hair. Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy, was he?
TOPICS TO DISCUSS
a) About your native place
b) About your siblings (at least 3 – Real or Imaginary)
c) An experience when someone was rude to you (Real or Imaginary). And what should they have done/ said to be more polite?