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number of years ago Dr. Valerie Yule challenged
adults can pass these simple spelling tests
to spell 16 common words correctly
dual reader 1
dual reader 2
writing samples 12
16 Word Spelling Test - most of the answers are in the
This test has been given to 1000's.
Very few pass. [more background]
In a phonemic writing system or a rule based
writing system, the spellings wouold be predictable. In the traditional
system they are not. There are no rules that will narrow down the
spelling to one particular way. There are regualrities in the traditional
writing system that will narrow the options down to three or four.
A phonemic system can enable a person to spell pronunciations but not historical
oddities. <psychology> is sound spelled: saikollajy
'kol @ dZi/.This is not even close to the lexical spelling.
This mismatch between pronunciation and spelling reveals the limits of
phonics. Phonic awareness can narrow down the number of options but
are the Spanglish spellings. The double consonants identify the stressed
syllable. You can learn to spell with near 100% accuracy in a highly phonemic
rule based system such as Spanglish. However, don't expect a consistent
system to help you spell an inconsistent spelling. Many double consonants
are due to the way that Latin words were adapted to Engllish. It
had nothing to do with sound. [see p. 148f. Cut
Spelling Handbook, 1996 -Doubling
after Latin derived prefixes]
eksessiv, rememmberd, unparraleld
professer, gaardian, dissapoint
saicollajy, sovvran, dissaplin
reckomend, okeishan, tecknicly
Does mastery of a phonemic
spelling system help people spell words that are not spelled phonemically?
Quick Test of Spelling
Skill - progressively
harder misspelled word identification [test 2]
av a fonemmic spelling sistem help piepl spell werdz not spelld foniemicly?
Does awareness of the correct
phonemic spelling help one to dictionary spell the list of words below?
av the correct fonemmic spelling help wan dicshanary spell the list av
There is a direct relations ship between predictability
and ease of spelling. Soundspelling is easier to the extent that
we can correctly pronounce the word. If there is more than one possible
pronunciation, then there are multiple sound spellings and lower predictability.
[see contrary below]
What percentage of the 1000 most
common words have more than one acceptable pronunciation?
Wat percentaj av the 1000 moast common werdz hav mor thaen wan acceptabl
What makes many of the words below difficult,
is the fact that the pronunciation is ambiguous. If
we can't get the pronunciation right, then we can't get the pronunciation
guide spelling right. Dictionaries sometimes acknowledge the problem
and give more than one pronunciation guide spelling. Sometimes they
make a decision which may disagree with what another lexicographer decides.
Where there are multiple pronunciations, there will be multiple sound spellings.
How much does a schwa phonogram
simplify spelling and make it more predictable?
Hau mach daz a shwa foanogram simplify spelling and meik it more predictabl?
There are many boderline cases where either
a short pronunciation or a schwa pronunciation would be equally understandable.
[e.g., sist&m sistem].
Most people pronounce minuscule
as minn&skyul. The availability
of a schwa letter would make this spelling easier. This phonemic
awareness, however, does not transfer to traditional spelling. The
letters, i and u are equally good traditional representations
for the schwa sound.
Sound spelling is more predictable and potentially
easier than historical spelling. Just how much easier is open to
debate. If there are multiple pronunciations, there will be multiple sound
spellings. If sound spelling is to be standardized, then some arbitrary
decisions must be made regarding the correct pronunciation. One issue
is just when does an unstressed vowel become a schwa. sistem
These are difficult questions
has been linked to success in reading and writing. This finding is
difficult to interpret because phonemic awareness simply would not help
a person spell irregularly spelled words.
The words below are spelled
phonemically and this provides very little help in identifying the traditional
Perhaps the test included enough regularly
spelled words to compensate for this. It is easy to see how phonemic
awareness would help one spell about 50% of the words in the dicitonary.
The real test would be with respect to spelling
words that are not spelled as they are pronounced today.
If the spelling is non-phonemic, it is difficult
to see how phonic awareness would help much. About 85% of the vowel
sounds in English are spelled one of four or five ways. Perhaps phonemic
awareness narrows the spelling options to four or five and then pattern
recognition permits the person who has seen the word correctly spelled
the guess the correct spelling.
Pattern recognition appears to be a skill that
develops after the fifth year of schooling. Before that, studies
have shown that it is usually the first letter that is used to guess the
word being spelled. In the classic ?tachistascope study, Cattrell
showed that adults can recognize whole word patterns in a microsecond.
In the list below, several
different systems of phonemic spelling are provided. The Frank
Smith hypothesis might be that knowing how the words should be spelled
will have a negative impact on the ability to spell irregular words.
Does any systematic or phonemic spelling help
the person trying to spell according to the dictionary? Phonemic
spelling is related to pronunciation guide spelling, not to historical
spelling. What good is knowledge of regular spelling if the system
one is trying to learn is irregular over 50% of the time?
This is the situation that led Frank Smith
to the "look-say" approach to teaching reading. [quotes]
Smith overlooked many of the regularities of
the traditional system but those who champion the phonic approach have
to explain how they are going to help students deal with the 50% of the
spellings that do not exhibit a high level of phonic or phonemic regularity.
Some of the traditional spellings are just
wrong with respect to present day pronunciation. One has to be an
expert in etymology and middle English to figure out these misrepresentations
used in the table below
SS [Saxon Spanglish]
is a 90% phonemic system that uses some of the traditional positional spelling
and doubling conventions found in the traditonal writing system.
It is based on the 10th century Saxon augmented Latin alphabet.
XE [X-Englik] is an ascii-IPA 100% phonemic
spelling] is a 70% phonemic system. RITE reduces the irregularity
in tradtional spelling by extending existing rules. Although it ends
up respelling about 40% of the words in English, it is probably the best
guide to traditional English spelling. Most other systems respell
80% or more of the words. All 100% phonemic systems will respell
at least 60% of the words in a 70,000 word dictionary. or 60% of
the words from the list of the 7000 most frequently used words in English.
is the notation used in the on-line pronunciation guide.
TS [Truespel] is a 99% phonemic system
that uses the sounds most freqently assigned to letter and letter cluster
sounds. It is an anglo phonic system as opposed to a Latin based
IDENTIFY THE ONE
MISSPELLED WORD IN LINES A THRU D
You may use the fonemic
spellings but while these are good guides to pronunciation, they do not
help much with traditional spelling. http://victorian.fortunecity.com/vangogh/555/Spell/sitemap-l.html
One word on each
line is not spelled correctly - Can you find it?
SS=Saxon Spanglish, XE=X-Englik,
RS=RITE-spell, MW=Merriam Webster dictionary,
B ___ C ___ D ___
Answers - A2, B5
argument, congrattulate, SI higene, S2 hijene, [strange] S1 neece, S2
neese, acommodate, catterpiller, S1 chaingeable, S2 chainjable, S1
hemmorage, S2 hemmorej, S1 judgement, S2 jujment What
is the purpose of the se and ending--to keep it from going to z?.
ge is needed to soften the g.
Should button be pronounced but'n or but-ton?
lit'l or lit-tel?
IPA is the most popular code for dictionary pronunciation guides. Normally
it looks rather odd when used for more than a couple of words.
Sweet's version below is quite attractive. The version where he replaces
with the Greek delta d
is even better. Spanglish, one of several ASCII-IPA notations compatible
with e-mail, is an IPA equivalent that uses no special characters
or diacritics. It is supposed to look less alien than IPA.
Please write and tell me [firstname.lastname@example.org
] if it achieves its aesthetic goal and if you could read it without a
taim ð' bjutif'l
want'd mo:': p':lz
thru: ð' sent':
ð' mu:n hwen it iz blu:," sed h'r
m'th' in æns':
tu: h': kwestò'n,
"Ju: mait faind j': ha':tz
|Wans apon a taim the [dhe]
biutifal doter av a
greit majishan waanted mor perlz tu pwt amang
her treazherz."Lwk thru the center av the muun hwen itt izz blu," sedd
her mather inn aenser tu her queschan, "Yu mait faind yer haartz dizair."
|Lor;d'z Prejr [in
Ayr Fa;dhr hu ar;t in hevn,
Halo;d bi dhaj Nejm.
Dhaj kin'dxm k*m.
Dhaj wil bi d*n, on e;th az it iz in hevn.
Giv u*s dhis dej ayr dejli bred.
And for;giv us ayr trespasiz,
Az wi for;giv dho;z hu trespas xgejst us.
And li;d us not intu temptejshxn,
But dilivr us frxm i;vl
Ejmen Code: *^, x@, o;ou,
|Lordz Preir in
Our faather hu aart in heaven
Hallowd bi thai neim
Thai kingdem cvm [cumm] [cam] [com]
Thai will bi dvn, on erth aez it iz in heaven
Giv vs this dey, our deily bread [bred]
Annd forgivv vs our tresspaesez
Aez wi forgivv thoaz hu tresspaes agennst vs
Aend lied vs [uss] not intu tempteishan
Bvt delivver vs fram ievel. [ievl] . . .
Eimenn [eav replaces evv to
avoid dbl v]
guide spelling, you can spell it right almost every time.
traditional spelling, it is usually a guessing game until you memorize
pronunciation guide spelling is not much help when it comes to matching
dictionary spelling. It helps when the pronunciation guide uses the same
devices as the English writing system. Unfortunately TES does not
use any device or pattern for all spellings. In about 85% of the
cases, one can be certain that the correct spelling is one of five orthographic
four different transcription systems give their rendition of the correct
spelling of the spoken word. Does this information help or does it
make the task of coming up with the correct dictionary spelling more confusing?
30 common words are listed
below along with three pronunciation guide spellings.
Take out a pencil an paper
and try to spell the 30 words. The list contains only about 5 spelling
If you get more than 60%
of them correct, you are above average.
Link to "Can you spot the spelling error?"
list of words that are difficult to spell
guide spelling, you can spell it right almost every time.
traditional spelling, it is usually a guessing game until you memorize
Pronunciation guide spelling is not much help when it comes to matching
you spell 30 words traditionally? Guess
first then highlight the 1st column
This is a paper
and pencil test - use the pronunciation guide spelling to identify the
word - it will
not provide much of a guide to historical or traditional spelling.
*Pharaoh was once pronounced /faraaou/ hence the
1735 spelling. Fr. pharaon Eg. per a-a [big house]
Try to spell, then check
by clicking to highlight
International Phonetic Alphabet
U can spel it rite
slait sleit slIt slAt
fairi feri feri
meri maeri merE
5eik/5i:k 5i:k t5ik
firs firz pir
merry Marry cantrerry-conntreiry
fiers fierz pier
merry Mary? contrary
Notice the difference between Truespel which
doubles the consonant before the stressed root syllable
and Spanglish and RITE which double after the
stressed syllable. The traditional system uses both conventions so
you never know when to double.
TERMINAL VOWEL SPELLING
want the spelling system to be easy, then it would be a good idea to spell
all unstressed terminal
the same way. This could be as in cut spelling, where the schwa
is the null phoneme and simply left out of words that end with syllabic
consonants: colm, prism, litl, moshn.
words ending in syllbic consonants can be spelled as in PRISM or with an
are only two spellings not six as in TO: prison = prizn or prizen.
hangar=hanngr or hannger
prizin, haenger, litil, prisim
with syllabic consonants and morphemic endings, Spanglish spells the unstressed
mid lax vowel with an [a] as in ago and sofa.
Since [a] is not always
is already partially deconstructed: e is substituted for
when followed by an r. [her caar instead of har caar].
With Anglo logic, since ar is no longer used with r, then
can be shortened to [ar] as in RITE. Of course, this is not completely
true since -ar is used in words such as hangar.
16 Word Spelling Test - most of the answers
is nothing difficult about their pronunciation guide spelling
words have different spellings in the U.S. and England
These words are spelled in Spanglish
and American spellings - A list of differences in dictionary spelling
Words Quiz - Correct the spellings of ten randomly generated commonly
Words - Lists correctly-spelled versions of frequently misspelled words.
How Well Can
You Spell? - Interactive spelling test uses 16 frequently misspelled
words. From Microsoft Encarta.
Online: Spelling Strategies - Suggestions on how to practice spelling
Resources - Spelling Tips - Strategies for teaching spelling and a
list of spelling rules.
Musical Spelling Rules
- Lyrics and music to songs which teach four common spelling rules.
Scripps Howard National Spelling
Bee - Home of the world's best-known annual spelling bee. Includes
weekly literature-based word activities, a listing of local spelling bees,
the history of the national event, rules, and answers to frequently asked
'N Spell at PrimaryGames.com - A series of interactive games test knowledge
of short vowels, long vowels, blends, diagraphs, other vowels, and plurals.
Spell Check from
Funbrain.com - Identify the word that is spelled incorrectly. Choose
between two levels of difficulty.
SpellaRoo from Funbrain.com
- Find the spelling errors in these fun sentences. Choose between beginning
and intermediate levels.
ei, ie - Test how well you can spell "ei" and "ie" words with an interactive
Study Skills - A detailed guide to the rules of British English spelling.
From the University of Bradford.
Stuff for Kids - Resources related to commonly misspelled words, tips
for becoming a better speller, games, activities, and lessons.
- A journalism professor and former copy editor offers an interactive test
of 50 commonly misspelled words, as well as spelling tips.
Tips from Mrs. Kelly - A second grade teacher provides twelve ways
to practice spelling words.
Tips - Activities to use while practicing spelling words.
Buddy's Spelling Troublebuster Survival Tips - A guide to learning
to spell troublesome words correctly.
automated conversion to a phonemic notation PERL