In this article, we shall be discussing silent letters and consonant clusters.
Explain silent letters
There are important issues to note in consonants. Certain consonant letters may be silent (not pronounced) in some words.
You should not pronounce those letters in the words they appear. Such letters may occur at the initial, medial, or final positions. Consider the examples below.
Give examples of silent letters.
| (k)ne (k)not (k)nife (k)nit (g)naw san(d)wich (p)sychology
(k)nat (p)salm (h)onest (h)our k)night (h)onour (g)nat
(p)neumatic (k)now (g)narled (k)nock (k)nee strai(gh)t
(k)nife (k)nap (k)nell (k)knuckle (k)notty (k)nell
(k)notty cas(t)le yo(l)k lis(t)en apos(t)le si(g)n
resi(g)n han(d)some su(b)tle de(b)t ta(l)k ans(w)er
s(w)ord bom(b)er plum(b)er de(b)tor cor(p)s recei(p)t
cu(p)board chris(t)mas wres(t)le of(t)en rei(g)n mali(g)n
champa(g)ne (w)rite (w)rench (w)rist (w)rap (w)rinkle
t(w)o colum(n) bom(b) com(b) tom(b) lam(b)
lak(h) succum(b) lim(b) thum(b) hum(b) plum(b)
clim(b) balle(t) sache(t) chale(t) rappor(t) hym(n)
condem(n) (p)neumonia (p)sycholinquistics a(d)just ex(h)aust
ex(h)ibit ve(h)icle a(c)quire s(c) ene s(c)ent des(c)ent
dis(c)iple cha(l)k ca(l)f pa(l)m sa(l)mon col(o)nel
je(o)pardy le(o)pard pe(o)ple dau(g)hter nei(g)hbour li(gh)t
Choose the words that are not silent consonants in the options below.
- (a) kot (b) knit (c) knot (d) knock
- (a) often (b) apostle (c) list (d) wrestle
- (a) tomb (b) comb (c) lamb (d)top
- (a) wench (b) write (c) wrench (d)wrap
- (a) leopard (b) jeopardy (c) colonel (d) bonnet
- (a) sport (b) ballet (c) sachet (c) chalet (d) rapport
Explain the important keys to note.
- Note that if you have /q/, /k/, /f/, /t/, /p/ and other voiceless sounds as in tenths, books, grips, pots, etc appearing before the last ‘s’ the ‘s’ after the sounds above will be pronounced as ‘s’. Practise the words above until you get the pronunciation right.
- If you also have any of these consonants: /ʤ/, /t/, /s/, /z/, /ʧ/ as in churches, washes, hisses, judge, etc., the ‘s’ should be pronounced ‘z’. Practise the words above until you get the pronunciation right.
- If you have the following voiced consonants: /d/, /g/, /l/, /b/, /n/, /m/, /v/, /j/,as in bells, cards, cabs, moves, cells, seems, etc., the ‘s’ appearing after them will be pronounced as /z/. Practise the words above until you get the pronunciation right.
- You should also note that if the sound that comes before a past tense marker is either /t/ or /d/, the last ‘ed’ should be pronounced as ‘id’. Practise the words below until you get the pronunciation right.
wanted as /wantid/
minded as /maidid/
drafted as /draftid/
reminded as /rImandid/
loaded as /lǝʊdid/
rested as /restid/
vested as /vestid/
5. Provided that the sound that comes before the past tense marker is a voiced consonant or it is a vowel, you should pronounce the ‘ed’ as /d/. Practise the words below until you get the pronunciation right.
begged as /begd/
prayed as /preid/
longed as /longd/
slammed as /slæmd/
caged as /keidd/
carved as /ka:vd/
6. If the sound that comes before the past tense marker is a voiceless consonant, the ‘ed’ or past tense will be pronounced as ‘-t’. Practise the words below until you get the pronunciation right.
stopped as /stɒpt/
passed as /pa:st/
slapped as /slæpt/
ticked as /tikt/
briefed as /bri:ft/
breached as /bri:ʧt/
Choose the word that has a different ending sound in the options.
- (a) market (b) decided (c) stopped (d) toilet
- (a) slapped (b) hummed (c) stopped (d) cursed
- (a) briefed (b) ticked (c) slammed (d) passed
- (a) books (b) grips (c) pots (d) cabs
- (a) breached (b) longed (c) caged (d) curved
- (a) cards (b) tenths (c) seems (d) calls
- (a) mangoes (b) churches (c) washes (d) tents
- (a) begged (b) prayed (c) longed (d) passed
Explain consonant clusters.
Consonant clusters or blends are made up of consonants found next to each other in a word. They are a succession of multiple consonant sounds in a word.
Consonant clusters/blends can be two letters or three letters or four letters at the beginning (initial), at the middle (medial), and at the end(final) position of a word.
The maximum of consonants at the initial position is three (3) and at the final position is four (4), which is C3 v C4.
Give examples of two-initial consonant clusters/blends.
bl – blend, bland, blue, black
cl – click, clam, clean, claim,
fl – flimsy, flute, fling, float, fluffy, flit
gl – glass, glaze, glee, glitter, globe, glove, glue
pl – place, plan, plate, plum, plumber
sl – Slick, slack, slice, slim, slime, slow, slot, sleep
br – brain, brown, bright
cr – crab, crumb, crazy, create, credit, creature
dr -dress, drone, drink, drag, drawer, dry
fr – from, freezer, frighten, friend, fruit, freak
gr – grueling, grape, grass, grease
pr – practice, prove, pretzel,pride, promise
tr – truck, try, trust,trade, trash, travel, treat
sc – scale, score, scrap, scratch, schedule
sk – skunk, skate, skinny, sky, ask, mask
sm – small, smart, smear, smash,
sn – snack, snore, snake, snob, snow, sneeze, snap
sp – space, spot, splash, speak, spend, splurge
st – stair, step, steak, stand, star, list, last
sw – sweet, sweat, swing, swim, swamp,
tw – twinkle, tweet, tweezer, twelve,
Give examples of three-initial consonant clusters/blends.
scr – scrape, scrap, scream, screech, scroll, scratch, scramble
spl – splash, spleen, splendid, splint, spliff, split
spr – sprain, spray, sprint, sprite, spread, sprawl
str – strain, strap, strobe, strong, stream, strength, stripes
Give examples of medial (middle) consonant clusters/blends.
attract conclude describe application instruct incriminate
Give examples of three-final consonant clusters/blends.
Give the examples of four-final consonant clusters/blends.
Choose the words that have the same clusters in the options.
- text (a) texts (b) test (c) asked (d) nexts
- prompts (a) prompt (b) texts (c) next (d) twelfth
- sixths (a) twelfths (b) sixth (c) pinched (d) bands
- asked (a) prompts (b) texts (c) sixths (d) tests
- scroll (a) spill (b) scream (c) sprite (d) splash
- blue (a) play (b) plow (c) blouse (d) slow
- sweat (a) scope (b) sweet (c) sponge (d) screen
- practice (a) price (b) please (c) play (d) splash
- strong (a) spring (b) sprain (c) strain (d) split
- scroll (a) screen (b) spleen (c) strong (d) space