Spelling english

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Sounds and spelling
There are 26 letters in the English alphabet but there are 44 sounds in the English language. This means that the number of sounds in a word is notalways the same as the number of letters. The word 'CAT' has three letters and three sounds but the word 'CATCH' has five letters but still only three sounds. If we write these words usingphonemic symbols, we can see exactly how many sounds they have. CAT is written /k æ t/ CATCH is written /k æ ʧ/ In 'CATCH' the three letters TCH are one sound represented by one phonemicsymbol /ʧ/ Try the exercise below to help develop your knowledge of English pronunciation.

Pronunciation Exercise Sounds and spelling

Exercise Look at the words below and put them intothe correct column based on the number of sounds. Clue: The number of letters and the number of sounds is always different in these words.

horse caught cow carrot heart

throughisland know chemist singer

judge daughter business treasure thorough

enough knowledge singing thinking door

sugar cupboard more laugh check

2 sounds

3 sounds

4 sounds


6 sounds

Pronunciation Sounds and spelling bbclearningenglish.com

© BBC Learning English Page 2 of 3

Pronunciation Exercise Sounds and spelling

ANSWERS 2 sounds cow /kaʊ/ know /n əʊ/ door /d ɔ:/ more /m ɔ:/ 3 sounds horse /h ɔ: s/ caught /k ɔ: t/ heart /h ɑ: t/ through /ɵ r u:/ judge /ʤ ʌ ʤ/ laugh /l ɑ: f/ check /ʧ e k/ 4 sounds singer /s ɪ ŋ ǝ/daughter /d ɔ: t ə/ thorough /ɵ ʌ r ə/ enough /ɪ n ʌ f/ sugar /ʃ ʊ g ə/ 5 sounds carrot /k æ r ə t/ island /aɪ l ə n d/ knowledge /n ɒ l ɪ ʤ/ treasure /t r e Ʒ ə/ singing /s ɪ ŋ ɪ ŋ/ cupboard /kʌ b ə d/ 6 sounds chemist /k e m ɪ s t/ business /b ɪ z n ɪ s/ thinking /ɵ ɪ ŋ k ɪ ŋ/

Pronunciation Sounds and spelling bbclearningenglish.com

© BBC Learning English Page 3 of 3

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