Now I've become being interested in the answers for my questions...
1. between “him” & “hi”, why is “i” sounded different?
2. between “climb” & “cinema” & “can”, why is “c” sounded different?
3. in “climb”, why is “b” silent?
To be honestly say, I (Even though I have used and spoken English for 10 years), haven't figured them out "why!?"...
I thought... they are just what they are...
Yes, please I want to know about those rules... (if you (you sister) give me (other listeners) clear and simply answers, that would be very helpful!).
I am sure that there are many Korean who speak English but NEVER know about those rules... (just like me...)
I am so excited!!! After your explanation, I would come to know why
"hi" is pronounced as [ai].
"him" is pronounced as [i].
"hide" is pronounced as [ai].
"hid" - the past tense of "hide" - is pronounced as [i].
"infinite" are pronounced as [i] and [ə].
and many more...
Answers to your questions:
1.) vowel sounds: why does the same vowel sometimes sound different?
• First, let's define long and short vowel sounds.
• The sound of 'i' in hi, is the long /i/ sound. As a teacher, I tell my kids that "long vowels say their name". So, long "i" is what you described as [ai], which is the NAME of the letter. When "a" makes the sound like in day, it sounds like the name of the letter "a", so we know it is a long 'a' sound. The word rope haslong 'o'.
• short vowel sounds are the 'other' sound each vowel makes: 'a' in rat, 'e' in bed, 'i' in him, 'o' in hot, 'u' in but
• One of the first spelling rules English children learn is the "Silent e" rule: An 'e' at the end of a word is usually silent, BUT it makes the last vowel before it have the long sound: example is rate, where the 'e' is silent, but the 'a' has the long sound because of the silent 'e'. If there was not an 'e'... then the sound would be short... and we would have a rat. So, in your email, you asked about hide and why it is long[ai]. Now you know! It's because of that silent 'e' at the end of the word!
• There are many times that the Silent 'e' changes everything- the vowel sound and the meaning: fin/fine, can/cane, fat/fate, rag/rage, etc etc.
BUT, you specifically asked about him and hi, and why is the 'i' short in him and long in hi?
Quick answer: in the same syllable, there is a consonant after the vowel, and that consonant makes the vowel short
Real answer: In English, there are open syllables and closed syllables. Here are the simple rules:
• An open syllable is a syllable with only one vowel, and the vowel is at the end of the syllable. "Hi" is an open syllable. The vowel in an open syllable usually makes the long sound. So, in the word cable, there are 2 syllables (ca-ble) and the first syllable is open: it ends in a vowel. That is a clue that the vowel will have the long vowel sound: CAY-bull, instead of CAW-bull. www.phonicsontheweb.com
says: An open syllable has one and only one vowel, and that vowel occurs at the end of the syllable. Examples includeno, she, I, a, and spry. Also, ti-ger, ma-ple, com-pu-ter (long 'i', long 'a', long 'u')
• A closed syllable is a syllable with only one vowel, but the vowel does NOT occur at the end of the syllable; in other words, the syllable ends with a consonant. So, him is a one-syllable word, and that syllable ends with a consonant, therefore the vowel will have (most likely) the short vowel sound. Another example could be the first syllable of com-pu-ter. The 'o' is not a long 'o' because it is in aclosed syllable. Other examples: ask, hot, truck, hey, and, in, on
Remember, of course, that there are always plenty of exceptions- this IS English, after all.
2.) Why so many 'c' sounds? climb, cinema, can
• 'c' can sound like /k/ or like /s/. When it makes the /k/ sound, it is called a hard c and when it makes the /s/ sound, it is called the soft c.
• When reading a word, you can tell if the c will be hard or soft by looking at the vowel that comes right after it: soft c (makes /s/ sournd) is followed by an e, i, or y. Examples: cinema, cymbal, ceremony
• hard c (makes /k/ sound) is followed by an a, o, or u. Examples: can, cord, cut
• Then you have c's that are part of a consonant blend. This is when 2 or more consonants combine to form a new sound. Examples: /cl/ as in climb and /cr/ as in crash and /ch/ as in church
3) Why is the 'b' in climb silent?
• Unfortunately, the answer is: just because.
• There are many times a certain group of letters has a silent letter 'hidden' within... and when I'm teaching that to my third graders, the teacher's manual actually says "tell children there is no reason for this, they will just have to memorize these letter combinations and learn to recognize them".
• So, here are the most common 'silent killers' of English phonics:
o MB at the end of a word, silent 'b' as in lamb, jamb, climb, dumb, bomb
o LK at the end of a word, silent 'l' as in talk, chalk
o LM silent 'l' as in salmon
o LF silent 'l' as in calf, half
o OULD silent 'l' as in should, could, would (would sounds exactly like wood)
o STLE has a silent 't' as in whistle, castle
o WH is generally considered to have a silent 'h', although the way in which the lips form the beginning sound is supposed to be different; there is such a small difference in sound, that it's best just to consider the 'h' as silent.
o GN has a silent g, as in sign, champaign, gnat
o GHT has silent 'g' AND 'h' as in caught, flight, knight, sight (sounds just like site)
o KN has silent 'k' as in know, knee, knight (sounds just like night)
o WR has silent 'w' as in wrench, wrong, write
o GUE or GUI has silent 'u' as in guest, guide, league
o MN has silent 'n' when at the end of a word, as in hymn, autumn
So, in English, there are many times the words sound exactly the same, but have different meanings:write/right/rite, know/no, hymn/him, there/their/they're, oar/ore/or.... The list of homophones goes on and on and on...
Yeah, I know, English is crazy! I just spent 3 years teaching English in Peru, and the longer I taught (look- a silent GH!) the more I thought (another GH!) that anyone who can actually LEARN ENGLISH should get a prize.
Let me know if you have any other questions! I love grammar!
Good luck! ~Emily