Monday, 26 March 2012

Word endings - which letters are not at the end?

It's always easier to learn something if you know the reason for it. In the PowerPoint presentation below we see which letters are not usually found at the end of native English words and how this affects spelling.

Please feel free to use the PowerPoint as you like and share it widely. Just two rules:
  1. Please don't change anything in it (if there's anything that needs changing, please write and let me know) 
  2. Always link back to The Spelling Blog. Thank you.
The embedded version below doesn't have animations. You may think that's a good thing! But actually if you want to use the presentation for teaching it's better to have them - helps learners focus on new information better. So here's a version with simple, useful animations: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/9063559/Word%20endings.ppsx 

In the next blog post, I'm going to discuss something from the Never-Ending Letters presentation that I think is pretty revolutionary! Any idea what?

Anyway here it is. I hope it's useful. I'm really interested to hear any reactions (in the Comments below).

View more PowerPoint from jomango (that's me!)

Oh no! There was a mistake on the presentation. It's now been corrected so if you downloaded it on or before 28 March, please re-download. Sorry  - and thanks to my father for noticing!

Johanna

17 comments:

  1. Nicely put together Alison. The only problem I can see is how you define 'native' (I can imagine Ss asking this, and it's hard to avoid a circular argument. _I_ know what you mean by 'native', but....

    Another interesting addition occurs to me - when non-native words are anglicized before use in an Eng context. The word 'mufti' was borrowed in the Raj, but I sometimes see it spelt 'muftee'.

    (Anglicizing of foreign borrowings affects spellings in other parts of words. I once saw a sandwich bar that claimed to serve 'panNini'. Mercifully, they weren't panniniS.

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  2. Thank you, BobK99, but who's Alison?

    Yes, this 'native' question is one I deliberated over for a long time. I did write in one of the footnotes: "Around the 17th century, English spelling became more standardised. Several spelling rules were made. Many words that entered English after that kept their spelling from their original language, such as bureau from French. These are not native English words." I know it's not a direct answer to your question, but I haven't yet come up with a definition I'm happy with.

    Surely there's 'Anglicisation' (is that a word?) and there's mistakes. Isn't the writing of *pannini* just a mistake?

    Johanna (seemingly AKA Alison ;-) )

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  3. Very nice, thank you! I think you should have included Z in your list of letters that English words do not end in, buzz being a rare exception due to its onomatopoetic nature.

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  4. Hmm, Lukas, you might be right. I also found a few others but probably not 'native' either (In that they are relatively new additions to English)

    jazz - seems to have come from Creole. I found a nice quote at etymonline.com "If the truth were known about the origin of the word 'Jazz' it would never be mentioned in polite society. ["√Čtude," Sept. 1924]"

    quiz - also from etymonline: "1847, quies, perhaps from L. qui es? "who are you?," first question in oral exams in L. in old-time grammar schools. Spelling quiz first recorded 1886, though it was in use as a noun from 1867, perhaps from apparently unrelated slang word quiz meaning "odd person" (1782, source of quizzical). The anecdote that credits this word to a bet by the Dublin theater-manager Daly that he could coin a word is regarded by authorities as "doubtful" and the first record of it appears to be in 1836 (in Smart's "Walker Remodelled"; the story is omitted in the edition of 1840)."

    whiz or whizz - also fairly recent and possibly onomatopoeic(as in 'whizz it up in the blender').

    Now you've got me thinking ... and I had to learn how to spell onomatopoeic!

    Thank you.
    Johanna

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  5. The only word that ends on I is ski. Not sky, that's completely different thing. Ski

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  6. Actually, Anonymous, there are others too. But, like ski, they are either not 'native' or are abbreviations. And you're right 'sky' is a completely different word. I recently learned that 'sky' comes from an Old Norse word for 'cloud'. If you live in the UK you can understand why ;-)
    Johanna

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  7. There's fizz and quiz. But lets not get distracted. It's useful to draw learners' attention to the ways words commonly end. It's especially useful if we want learners to be aware of patterns in English from other languages such such French with the que ending. See Johanna's video on this site to learn more about this. I also like the explanation about words ending in v. It helps me explain give, with its short i sound.

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  8. Johanna,

    Nice presentation. Predictability is a nice feature to teach language learners, and this slideshow is helpful in that way.

    Are you familiar with OneWord? It helps you find word permutations, including words ending with certain spellings. (You have to remember to click on Common Words Only; otherwise, you get some pretty arcane stuff.) http://www.onelook.com/

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  9. Alan, thanks for pointing out OneLook. It's SO useful. I usually use a concordancer that's less user-friendly. And I've just been enjoying your website too.
    Johanna

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  10. Final c is also not native; words like basic, music are borrowings, and anyway they were spelled basick, musick until the 19th century.

    My wife and I had a lot of trouble with the picture for academic: the person looks like a conductor with a baton, and we couldn't figure out what the green blob was.

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  11. John, the problem I had throughout this little project was defining 'native English words' - perhaps you would go further back in time in your definition than I did. I'd be interested to know what your definition is.

    As for 'academic' - YOU try finding a picture for it ;-)

    In fact, I don't really mind if people can't get all the words - the important thing is that they start thinking. I think this brainwork raises awareness more effectively (deeper cognitive engagement) than just being able to see the right answers immediately. Creates curiosity. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

    Thanks for your comments.
    Johanna

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  12. This web site is really a walk-through for all of the info you wanted about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and you’ll definitely discover it.

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  13. Hi Johanna, I was talking to my son this morning about gh and he made the link that high gets gh to make a long vowel sound as Eng words don't end in i. Apart from hi says he :-) Non native I guess?

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  14. Thank you, Johanna! I learnt lots of new information here. Great idea to share it with us!

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