1 of 2
1
e_e
Posted: 09 October 2014 02:44 PM   [ Ignore ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3938
Joined  2007-02-26

I’m helping my son with his reading, and giving him examples of what his teacher calls “the magic e”: the silent e that lives on the far side of a single consonant that transforms the quality of a vowel.

I will tell you one thing for free: it is not easy to find short, simple words that employ the e_e. The vowels other than e are no problem. Bike, ice, cake, wave, rope, bone, flute, tube. Nice, common, simple words that a six year old knows and can draw a picture of.

What do I have with e_e? Breve, gene, theme, scene… abstractions, high-faluting concepts. There are also plenty of two-syllable Latin-derived jobs such as accede, delete etc.

Probably the only e_e that I could reasonable expect to by in a six year old’s vocabulary is “these” and even that is an abstract concept, not an ordinary physical object or a simple action that you can indicate with a picture.

It seems that there more e_e words in Chaucer’s time but they did not survive in that form.

EDIT: corrected braino, replacing order with ordinary

[ Edited: 09 October 2014 02:50 PM by OP Tipping ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 October 2014 05:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3450
Joined  2007-01-31

Still abstract, but perhaps not so much as these, is here, which is certainly in a 6-year-old’s vocabulary.  Also has the advantage that there’s a word like it but lacking the -e, demonstrating directly the effect directly.

Edit: grebe is concrete enough to draw.

[ Edited: 09 October 2014 05:22 PM by Dr. Techie ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 October 2014 05:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3938
Joined  2007-02-26
Dr. Techie - 09 October 2014 05:19 PM

Still abstract, but perhaps not so much as these, is here, which is certainly in a 6-year-old’s vocabulary.  Also has the advantage that there’s a word like it but lacking the -e, demonstrating directly the effect directly.


Edit: grebe is concrete enough to draw.

My son’s teacher considers “ere”, /ɪə/, to be a different phoneme altogether. So do I, for that matter.

You wouldn’t believe the homework he gets. “Count the phonemes in the following words”. He’s six. That’s Singapore for you.

Yeah, you could draw a grebe, but I’m sure my boy doesn’t know what it means. I didn’t until a couple of minutes ago.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 October 2014 02:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1489
Joined  2007-02-14
OP Tipping - 09 October 2014 05:52 PM


My son’s teacher considers “ere”, /ɪə/, to be a different phoneme altogether. So do I, for that matter.

Still, you could contrast it with her and have a sidebar on non-rhoticism.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 October 2014 07:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2652
Joined  2007-02-19

Sleeve?  Japanese?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 October 2014 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3938
Joined  2007-02-26

Sleeve is ee_e, a separate category.

I’ll probably accept Japanese, Chinese, which are words my son knows, even though they are proper nouns. Not sure how well he’d draw them.

I suppose eve is a fairly simple word but is it ever really used other than in New Year’s? Once more, hard to draw.

Do any of y’all have some kind of explanation for this dearth of basic e_e words?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 October 2014 09:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  467
Joined  2007-02-17
OP Tipping - 09 October 2014 05:52 PM

Yeah, you could draw a grebe, but I’m sure my boy doesn’t know what it means. I didn’t until a couple of minutes ago.

The only reason I know anything about them is that the little grebe is also called the dabchick, and that’s one of the few words in the English language to contain the sequence ABC. Sad, very sad.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 October 2014 10:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3938
Joined  2007-02-26

You can sneak up on dabchicks wearing a def ghillie suit

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 October 2014 08:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  517
Joined  2007-10-20

What about Steve?

Baby grebelings are cute little animals. I saved one once from being run over on the road near where I live. Fortunately there is an animal shelter here that deals with such things.

OP Tipping - 10 October 2014 07:40 AM


Do any of y’all have some kind of explanation for this dearth of basic e_e words?

This sounds like the topic of a Masters thesis.

There’s a concept and system of short and long vowels in English (not to mention Dutch) that has existed for a long time, which is an obvious statement to anyone on this board. The short vowel has changed less than the long vowel over centuries (I believe). In terms of vowels and their evolution between Chaucerian English and modern times, the long “a” and “i” made the most distinct shift. The long “o” changed not at all. And then there’s the long and short “e”. How difficult and strange. Who knows how it was pronounced? Mike Meyer made a whole comedy routine out of the pronunciation of the word “head”. Was that “heed” or “hayd” or “hed”? Were all the long “e” word diphthongized*? I doubt anyone knows for sure. Then on top of that issue, I think Chaucer used the e_e spelling to indicate a short “e” sound, but I could be wrong.

(*and can you say “diphthong” without making it sound like a dirty word?)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 October 2014 03:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3938
Joined  2007-02-26

I ain’t counting people’s names, of which there are a few… he can’t draw a Pete or a Steve.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 October 2014 04:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  517
Joined  2007-10-20

What I find distressing about this thread is that I am in the biz of teaching youngsters about things like “the magic e” and I find the whole concept of phonics or phonetics below about 9th grade absolutely loathsome. Above 9th grade I find it merely despicable. For a six-year-old it seems “inappropriate”, at best, frankly.

I had hoped that there were pockets of rationality and sanity in the world, in places like Singapore, but apparently this madness has seeped from the USA to everywhere.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 October 2014 06:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3938
Joined  2007-02-26

Remember that most of the Singaporean kids are learning English as a second language but it is main language of instruction at school.

I can’t relate to your loathing of phonetic instruction.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 October 2014 06:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  517
Joined  2007-10-20
OP Tipping - 11 October 2014 06:03 PM

I can’t relate to your loathing of phonetic instruction.

No worries, mate. It’ll work out in the long run. It’s just a quirk of mine.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 October 2014 03:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1489
Joined  2007-02-14

I would think that objections to fahnix (or as our Rightpondian cousins might say, farnix) would rely on the huge number of exceptions.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 October 2014 03:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6268
Joined  2007-01-03

The short vowel has changed less than the long vowel over centuries (I believe). In terms of vowels and their evolution between Chaucerian English and modern times, the long “a” and “i” made the most distinct shift. The long “o” changed not at all.

This is the so-called Great Vowel Shift, which played out between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries. (Exactly when depends on the specific sound changes and the region. It was not sudden and universal.) The shift affected all long vowels, including / o /. And the shift is unrelated to the letter < e > being used to mark a long vowel, which is an orthographic convention and not strictly related to phonetics.

In Early Middle English, the final < e > is pronounced, either as an / e: / or, more usually, as an / ə / (schwa). But over time, when in an unstressed position, and especially when followed by another vowel or an / h /, the sound was elided. By Chaucer’s day, whether or not final < e > was pronounced had become hit or miss—you pronounce it if the poetic meter requires it, otherwise it’s silent.

In Middle English, long vowels typically appear in open syllables and short vowels in closed ones. (The open and closed here have nothing to do with the quality of the vowel.) Example: the first syllable in hide (originally pronounced as two syllables, hi-de) is open and the vowel is long, but in hid the syllable is closed and the vowel is short. So even though the final < e > was elided phonically, it was retained orthographically because it just so happened to also mark a long vowel.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 October 2014 04:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3938
Joined  2007-02-26
Dave Wilton - 12 October 2014 03:41 AM

The short vowel has changed less than the long vowel over centuries (I believe). In terms of vowels and their evolution between Chaucerian English and modern times, the long “a” and “i” made the most distinct shift. The long “o” changed not at all.

This is the so-called Great Vowel Shift, which played out between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries. (Exactly when depends on the specific sound changes and the region. It was not sudden and universal.) The shift affected all long vowels, including / o /. And the shift is unrelated to the letter < e > being used to mark a long vowel, which is an orthographic convention and not strictly related to phonetics.

In Early Middle English, the final < e > is pronounced, either as an / e: / or, more usually, as an / ə / (schwa). But over time, when in an unstressed position, and especially when followed by another vowel or an / h /, the sound was elided. By Chaucer’s day, whether or not final < e > was pronounced had become hit or miss—you pronounce it if the poetic meter requires it, otherwise it’s silent.

In Middle English, long vowels typically appear in open syllables and short vowels in closed ones. (The open and closed here have nothing to do with the quality of the vowel.) Example: the first syllable in hide (originally pronounced as two syllables, hi-de) is open and the vowel is long, but in hid the syllable is closed and the vowel is short. So even though the final < e > was elided phonically, it was retained orthographically because it just so happened to also mark a long vowel.

Yes, but… why so few e_e words in modern English…

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 2
1
 
‹‹ banner = county      Cliché/stereotype ››