Posts Tagged ‘english’

Why Learning English Language Is Important?

The anti colo­nial­ists have argued that Eng­lish is only impor­tant because of Amer­ica. Of course the United King­dom is nowhere near the for­mi­da­ble Empire that it was in the 19th cen­tury. Nev­er­the­less Eng­lish remains a sub­stan­tive lan­guage that effec­tively runs the world.

The impor­tance of the Eng­lish language

Chi­nese is spo­ken by a vast num­ber of peo­ple but in real­ity there is lit­tle com­pe­ti­tion against Eng­lish in busi­ness cir­cles. French is los­ing its power even in diplo­matic cir­cles. The world is becom­ing a global vil­lage and chances are that Eng­lish will be the choice for com­mu­ni­ca­tion purposes.

How To Pronounce Silent Letters?

silent letters

Silent Let­ters

Have you ever won­dered why a word is not pro­nounced as it is spelt? I am sure, you would have felt awk­ward more than once over this issue. Some­times they arise due to silent let­ters whereas at other times it is due to stressed pro­nun­ci­a­tion. These are the two major cat­e­gories of con­fu­sion when it comes to Eng­lish pro­nun­ci­a­tion. In this arti­cle we would explore the pos­si­bil­i­ties and nuances of silent words and their pronunciation.

Silent Let­ters

Let us begin by under­stand­ing what a silent let­ter is in alpha­betic writ­ing sys­tem. A silent let­ter is a let­ter that appears in a par­tic­u­lar word, but it has no effect on the pro­nun­ci­a­tion of the word. In other words silent let­ters effec­tively exist in writ­ten world whereas they do not make their pres­ence felt in ver­bal world. This fine line of dif­fer­ence not only causes prob­lems for non-native Eng­lish speak­ers but also for the native Eng­lish speak­ers. It becomes dif­fi­cult to guess the spelling of the word by hear­ing its pronunciation.

Causes for silent letters:

Over the period of time the sound has dropped out of the spelling of the word. This essen­tially means they would still be retain­ing the same spelling but a dif­fer­ent pro­nun­ci­a­tion. The word knot would fit this his­tor­i­cal change quite aptly. Apart from this his­tor­i­cal change, the major cause of these silent let­ters is Eng­lish lan­guage bor­row­ings from other lan­guages. Words like Khaki made their pres­ence felt from non-native Eng­lish ori­gins. Since accent and pro­nun­ci­a­tion dif­fer, let­ters may be silent for some speak­ers but not for the oth­ers. In some accents, is silent in such words as hard, feath­ered; in h-dropping accents, is silent. A speaker may pro­nounce in “often” or “tsunami” or nei­ther or both. All of these make silent let­ters more than impor­tant for Eng­lish com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Just to quote an exam­ple, how else would you dif­fer­en­ti­ate a whole from a hole or a plumb from a plum with­out the help of silent letters?

Exam­ples of Silent Letters

Unfor­tu­nately there are no hard and fast rules to learn silent let­ters. Their usage is learnt by prior expo­sure and expe­ri­ence. Here is a list of silent let­ters for your learn­ing purpose.

Silent Letters Examples

Figures of Speech

Fig­ures of speech is a means of express­ing ones thoughts and feel­ings by mak­ing use of words in their lit­eral mean­ing or even out of their usual usage, in order to add emo­tional inten­sity or beauty or for trans­fer­ring the poet’s impres­sions either by iden­ti­fy­ing or com­par­ing a thing with another which has a mean­ing that is famil­iar to its reader.
A few impor­tant fig­ures of speech include metaphor, sim­ile, per­son­i­fi­ca­tion, sym­bol and hyperbole.

Sim­ile: Sim­ile is a fig­ure of speech which is essen­tially used for com­par­ing explic­itly two unlike things. Usu­ally words like ‘as’, ‘then’ and ‘like’ are used.

Exam­ples: Her cheeks are like red roses.
It is as thick as the cloth

There are few sim­i­les in which a par­al­lel com­par­i­son is extended and devel­oped beyond the pri­mary com­par­i­son and are also usu­ally sus­tained through numer­ous lines. Such sim­i­les are known as Home­ric sim­i­les or epic similes.

figures of speech

fig­ures of speech

Metaphor: In these fig­ures of speech, a phrase or a word is used for denot­ing an idea or an object to another, fur­ther sug­gest­ing an anal­ogy or like­ness between them.

Exam­ples: Life is a jour­ney, death is sleep
Dif­fi­cul­ties are the obsta­cles and achieve­ments are the landmarks.

Usu­ally most of the metaphors are nouns; how­ever, verbs can be metaphor too.

Per­son­i­fi­ca­tion: It is a kind of metaphor in which the unique and pecu­liar human char­ac­ter­is­tics such as hon­esty, voli­tion and emo­tion and more, are imputed to an object, an ani­mal or an idea.

Exam­ples: My cell phone hates me
Flow­ers were danc­ing with the rain

Per­son­i­fi­ca­tion is com­monly used in apologues.

Hyper­bole (hi-PER-buh-lee):
Hyper­bole is a delib­er­ate and bold over­state­ment which is used basi­cally as a mode of accent­ing the truth of the bold state­ment. Usu­ally these sen­tences are not meant to be taken precisely

Exam­ples: His mobile phone is mil­lion years old.
She told him the same thing thou­sands of times.

Ady­na­ton is a kind of hyper­bole, in which the over­state­ment is so greatly mag­ni­fied that it starts refer­ring to impossibility.

Allit­er­a­tion is also known as ini­tial rhyme or head rhyme. It is the rep­e­ti­tion of prime sounds, gen­er­ally the con­so­nants, of a stressed word that is either at a short inter­val or is in neigh­bor­ing word.

Exam­ples: Mary’s micro­phones made much music.
Peter poked his pen into him.

Allit­er­a­tion pro­vides strength and sup­port to stresses, grat­i­fies effect on sound and also serves as an elu­sive con­nec­tion or stress of key words in a line, how­ever, a word that is allit­er­ated should not call any atten­tion, by their strained usage, towards themselves.

Tongue Twisters!

Tongue twister is a phrase, sen­tence or a rhyme which is dif­fi­cult to speak. The dif­fi­culty is more pro­nounced when the twister is repeat­edly and quickly spo­ken. We will look at what it is that makes it a cool take.

Let’s start with a sim­ple one:
“Whis­tle for the this­tle sifter”

Did that get you going? Cer­tainly the twisters vary in their dif­fi­culty leagues. The hard­est tongue-twister accord­ing to Gui­ness book of world records is “The sixth sick sheikh’s sixth sheep’s sick”. But a few argue that the hard­est one is “The seething sea ceaseth and thus the seething sea suf­ficeth us”

To appre­ci­ate the beauty of a twister you need to speak it loudly and quickly. Most of the times it proves to be com­i­cal error of sorts due to the sim­i­lar pho­net­ics of the words.
To appre­ci­ate a twister, a basic under­stand­ing of allit­er­a­tion and rhyme will help immensely.

Allit­er­a­tion and Rhyme:

Allit­er­a­tion is a lit­er­ary device con­sti­tut­ing same con­so­nant sound at the begin­ning of two or more words in close suc­ces­sion. “Peter Piper picked a peck of pick­led pep­pers…” Here the allit­er­a­tion is with respect to the let­ter P. Allit­er­a­tion is mainly used in poetry to cre­ate the effect with word play. But due care is exer­cised; its acci­den­tal usage often mars the beauty of writ­ing. A rhyme is a rep­e­ti­tion of sim­i­lar sound­ing words. This tech­nique is mostly used in songs. Both the allit­er­a­tion and rhyme derives on repet­i­tive play of sounds or words.

Tongue Twister

A tongue twister is gen­er­ally designed in such a way that the reader is expected to stum­ble while pro­nounc­ing. Hence, tongue twisters can prove to be a very good medium for teach­ing elo­cu­tion. More­over, it also lays empha­sis on pro­nun­ci­a­tion, so it effec­tively can also reduce speech defects.

Some com­mon tongue twisters:

Peter Piper picked a peck of pick­led pep­pers.
A peck of pick­led pep­pers Peter Piper picked.
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pick­led pep­pers,
Where’s the peck of pick­led pep­pers Peter Piper picked?

I saw Susie sit­ting in a shoe shine shop.
Where she sits she shines, and where she shines she sits.

How many boards
Could the Mon­gols hoard
If the Mon­gol hordes got bored?
from the comic Calvin & Hobbes, by Bill Waterson

How can a clam cram in a clean cream can?

Send toast to ten tense stout saints’ ten tall tents.
by Ray­mond Weisling

Denise sees the fleece,
Denise sees the fleas.
At least Denise could sneeze
and feed and freeze the fleas.

Coy knows pseudonoise codes.
by Pierre Abbat

Sheena leads, Sheila needs.

The thirty-three thieves thought that they thrilled the throne through­out Thursday.

Some­thing in a thirty-acre ther­mal thicket of thorns and this­tles thumped and thun­dered threat­en­ing the three-D thoughts of Matthew the thug — although, the­atri­cally, it was only the thirteen-thousand this­tles and thorns through the under­neath of his thigh that the thirty year old thug thought of that morn­ing.
by Meaghan Desbiens

Can you can a can as a can­ner can can a can?

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