What are phrases? They’re significant preparations of letters. What are letters? They’re the symbols of sounds that, when put collectively or left alone, have that means that may be related to a life expertise with an individual, place, factor, or thought. An alphabet is a compilation of the acknowledged and accepted letters and their corresponding sounds with which the phrases of a language are constructed. Evaluate the next 4 alphabets from the 1000’s that exist. Discover the similarities within the formation of lots of the letters. The image H appears an identical in English, Russian, and Greek; however the sound differs. In English, H /aitch/ is often aspirated with a fast exhalation. In Greek, H is pronounced because the lengthy English vowel E /ee/. The Russian sound for H is equal to the English N /en/. Conversely, some comparable sounds have strikingly totally different symbols. The /ess/ sound in English is S; in Greek, it’s Σ; and in Russian, it’s C.

English: A B C D E F G H I J Ok L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Greek: Α Β Γ Δ Ε Ζ Η Θ I Κ Λ Μ Ν Ξ Ο Π Ρ Σ Τ Υ Φ Χ Ψ Ω

These are comparisons of comparatively comparable alphabets; think about the higher difficulties to be encountered with alphabets which can be starkly totally different from the mom tongue of the individual whose fatherland is totally different from that of the language to be discovered.

Language is the efficient utility of those sounds and symbols in an effort to speak them precisely to a different individual or animal so {that a} predictable response could be elicited. Each society has its language, however the rules and targets are the identical: Get the message clear. How easy communication could be if all cultures had one language primarily based on a logical system of sounds and symbols. Think about three billion individuals all understanding each other as I think about canine, whales, mice, fleas, ants, worms, and cockroaches do everywhere in the world.

Transport an American-bred cockroach to Germany in a picnic basket aboard a DC 767 and permit it (her or him?) to mingle with its overseas cousins. What could be the end result? Would there be a language barrier? Does a Russian Wolfhound (Borzoi) talk any in another way together with his litter mates in Minsk than he would together with his litter mates in Hoboken? Do earthworms in Singapore react any in another way than these dug up in Boise, Idaho?

One downside with English is that it has borrowed phrases from so many different languages that it’s most tough to grasp it as a second language. There isn’t a purity within the vocabulary base. There isn’t a predictability upon which to base logical guidelines that will universally apply to comparable roots inside the language leading to a extra simply recognizable sample. The English phrase for DOG originates with Center English dogge whereas the phrase HOUND is remotely associated to the German hund. The Spanish phrase for canine, perro, by no means resembles the English phrase however refers back to the similar animal. Etymology is one other story. It could take an epic work to deal with this side of language.

The development of phrases is a twofold course of. First, a sound is made. Then, some group of symbols from a longtime database is chosen to symbolize that sound in written kind in case the recipient of the meant message will not be current to obtain it when it is able to be despatched. The database for English consists of the consonants, vowels, diphthongs and a few triphthongs. Every language has its personal database of symbols and dictionary of present vocabulary in addition to guidelines of grammar and utilization. Gestures and nonverbal communication are additionally distinctive to differing cultures although some have acquired a common taste. Most nationalities acknowledge the importance of capturing the fowl, a closed fist with the center finger erect with an upward thrust added for emphasis. For these cultures that don’t affiliate the widely accepted that means with that gesture, attention-grabbing reactions end result starting from indifference to dismay.

Speech is significant sound made for a goal. The next expressions symbolize sounds. They’re significant. They’ve a goal. They elicit predictable reactions. They absolutely talk. They could even be thought-about to be phrases of a particularly distinctive nature.

Oooohhh! [surprise] Oooohhh! I like that!

Aaahhhh! [delight] Aaahhhh! I like that, too.

Ow! [pain] Ow! That harm!

Whee! [excitement] Whee! That is enjoyable!

Whhhaaaahhh! [demand for attention] Whhhaaaahhh! You stated I might use the automotive tonight.

Phrases are recognizable models. We see them on paper and so they create a picture. We hear them and so they create the identical picture however via a distinct path.

The attention sees the phrase and the thoughts sees this image (or one thing comparable).

The ear hears the phrase and the thoughts additionally sees one thing comparable.

However, this image won’t seem within the thoughts of anybody who has not skilled the phrase or its that means. That is the best way it goes for the opposite 499, 999 phrases as nicely. As an alternative, the one image that may seem is that this:

Nothing is there. That is the purpose.

When youngsters study new phrases, they’ve some type of reference to lean on, like an image or the actual factor. They hear the phrase TRUCK and affiliate the sound /truk/ with the item itself. (The phrase and its right spelling do not come until later.) They will differentiate between the sounds /bus/ and /truk/ by visualizing the objects they symbolize. The fixed reappearances of the objects reinforces the affiliation between the objects and the sounds which can be equated with them. They’ve conveniently totally different shapes, sizes, and colours to assist the kid make distinctions amongst comparable objects. Kids do not know that these are frequent, concrete nouns and could not care much less.

Actual life experiences contain interpersonal relations between individuals and their atmosphere, which incorporates not solely individuals however animals, issues, parts of nature and a universe of summary concepts with an equally giant variety of phrases to explain them.


A few years in the past, I assigned a seventh grade class a language arts challenge to create new languages as particular person as themselves. Every pupil invented his personal system with which to create new phrases, sentence construction, and even new grammar. The outcomes have been as totally different as the scholars have been distinctive. The expertise was instructional for them and enlightening for me. Not solely did they arrive to understand simply how tough it’s to create language and put it to use in a society that’s comprised of variety reasonably than similarity but additionally they acquired an appreciation for the language they already had. By no means did English appear simpler than compared to their creations.

Since it is a lesson in English, let’s focus simply on the English letters. Put them collectively to kind recognizable models which have particular that means. There’s a technique to the insanity of the choice course of. The simplest method is to make the most of what has already been accepted. Use types of phrases that already make sense to the plenty that want them. Phrases encompass sounds and symbols that symbolize them.

Sounds and Alphabetic Symbols

The smallest linguistic unit of sound is the phoneme, and its corresponding written equal is the grapheme. The smallest unit of change is the morpheme. [The addition of the morphemes -ish and -ly to the morpheme girl form the new word girlishly.] With out going into the science of linguistics, mix vowels, consonants, and diphthongs to kind phrases. Prepare the phrases in such a method that they make fundamental sense. Apply the foundations of grammar and customary sense. You will have communication that works. With phrases because the bricks, you’re the architect who designs and constructs buildings from huts to mansions and even castles. The analogy stretches the idea a bit, however have a look at the hut as a easy sentence and the citadel as a verbose compound-complex construction. Contemplate, then, {that a} composition is a city and a novel represents New York.

What are vowels and consonants? Vowels are sounds that emanate from an open mouth with lips aside. (Sure! The mouth could be open with the lips closed. Strive filling the mouth with air and hold the lips closed. See?) Consonants are these different letters that have to be used with vowels to make phrases.


A, E, I, O, U, and generally Y when it feels like /ee/

The sounds vary the complete gamut from the vast open AHH to the tiny aperture via which the omnipresent /oo/ (as in GOO) so typically seems.


B, C, D, F, G, H, J, Ok, L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, T, V, W, X, Y, and Z.


These are two-vowel combos which can be sounded as in the event that they have been single vowels.

ai – pair

ou – out

ae – antennae

oa – oar

oi – poison

ui – puissant

eo – yeoman

oe – amoeba

eu – feud

ei – feign

au – sauce

ea– concern

ie – fiend

ue – questionl

uu – vacuum


These are three-vowel combos which can be sounded as in the event that they have been single vowels.

Consonant sounds are made by constricting or obstructing the trail of air from the lungs to its exit from the nostril or mouth (or each). They’re referred to as consonants as a result of they have to be sounded with a number of vowels so as to exist as a part of a phrase. The phrase consonant itself means to be sounded along with one thing else. That one thing else is a vowel. Naturally, some sounds that may be construed as phrases (since they impart that means) could be constructed from solely consonants. PSSSST! involves thoughts together with Hmmmm. It may be argued that these should not actually phrases however prime examples of onomatopoeia. I will not argue.

What occurs when simply random letter combos are thrown collectively with out regard to etymology? Generally nothing occurs. Generally that means turns into hooked up to them.

Listed here are some combos that do have that means:

AA: Alcoholics nameless;

American Airways; Affiliate of Arts

A-1: high notch; actually good

Baa: the cry of sheep

D: Roman numeral for 50 (50); musical key; lower than common, however passing, grade

Eeeek: expression of detrimental shock

Gee: delicate expletive; particular string

Grrrrr!: not so delicate expletive of detrimental emotion

mmmmm: [with rising and falling tone] good

naahh: prolonged colloquial expression of negation

nth: highest innumerable diploma

oooh: [similar to oh with longer /u/ sound] good shock

pp.: plural for pages

ssshhh!: be quiet

tsktsk: sounded expression that claims little and means a lot, as, “For disgrace! Fie!”

vah-vah-vah-voom: explosive happiness

WaWa: like 7-11, all night time mini-grocery retailer

ZZZZZZ: deep sleep

Listed here are some sounds that may have that means:

Ppphhhffftt: sound of beer or soda can instantly after high is popped.

Tthhwackkk! additionally Tthhwurckkk!: Extracting foot from deep mud.

Aaaaiiieeee: hysterical scream of terror as final heard from one falling with no parachute.

Hunh?: Casual expression of lack of expertise or notion

Un huh: Casual detrimental

Some haven’t any that means in any respect.

ghoti: fish?




Assuming you’ve got an excellent dictionary obtainable, use it as a supply for buying an immense vocabulary. Then, apply the foundations and rules that observe to achieve experience in grammatical correctness and fluency in a language that defies management.

By the point youngsters have discovered to print the representations of the objects that they’ve discovered to acknowledge, they are able to decide the classes into which these phrases could be assigned. English has designated eight classes into which all phrases could be assigned relying on how the phrase is used within the sentence wherein it’s discovered. [What’s a sentence? Put a group of words together in such a way that specific meaning is conveyed. The result is a sentence.]

The inspiration of language, each written and spoken, is predicated on phrases (and their denotations in addition to connotations), symbols, and tone. All phrases in English have one of many eight features described above. These features are referred to as components of speech as a result of they’re components of speech — segments of speech that, when put collectively meaningfully, create messages which can be clarified by the symbols (punctuation) that accompany them and the tone, which, when added to the message, emphasizes attitudes, like anger, compassion, understanding, frustration or any of a whole bunch of others.

Phrases are combos of letters to kind significant representations of individuals, locations, issues, and concepts. That sounds simple sufficient.

Take the letters T, E, A, and M. Shuffle them up a bit. 4 totally different phrases will seem.

Workforce: group of people forming a single unit

Meat: edible flesh

Mate: associate

Tame: domestication of the associate above

One other instance of a combined bag of letters to kind a number of phrases: S, T, A, R

These letters yield:

Star: twinkling phenomenon from gentle years away

Tars: placing that black, sticky, highway stuff on

Arts: Actions that are inclined to imitate, alter, or counteract nature

Rats: nasty rodents

Tsar: nasty biped

However, there are issues when one mixture of letters represents multiple individual, place, factor, or thought. Listed here are three examples:

1. bat 2. run 3. set. You will have seen them already.

The primary one brings to thoughts two distinct meanings each of that are readily recognizable: (1) the stick utilized in baseball; and (2), the creepy little beast related to witches and goblins.

The second instance usually refers to transferring sooner than a fast stroll. However it additionally means to compete for an elected workplace. Greater than 100 meanings have been discovered for this phrase. The phrase level has been outlined in over 1100 methods via 55 totally different senses or interpretations.

The third phrase has greater than 200 meanings. It’s no surprise English is so tough. These are solely three of the greater than half one million phrases which can be at present obtainable within the English language. What might make studying English simple? Nothing. A photographic reminiscence would assist. Memorizing all the sequence of English dictionaries would assist. Figuring out the right way to codify all of the phrases into the eight classes of phrase utilization would additionally assist. However none of that is simple. The adjustments in phrase meanings happen extra quickly than even the sharpest thoughts might ponder or assimilate.

So lots of the phrases in English additionally sound a lot the identical that simply listening to them with out strict consideration might trigger confusion or misunderstanding. Take a look at the next examples:

HMM: an expression of understanding, settlement, or delicate delight.

HIM: the target pronoun for any masculine, singular noun.

HYMN: a non secular music

HUM: to elicit a sound from the throat previous closed lips to and thru the nostril.

HEM: the underside stitching of material folded alongside the sting.

HAM: pork merchandise, for one.

REED: slim stalk

READ: doing what you are doing now; additionally, the previous type of the identical verb

There are a whole bunch of phrases which can be spelled the identical and sound the identical however have totally different meanings:

LEFT: the previous tense of go away

LEFT: the other of the fitting

RIGHT: right

RIGHT: the other of LEFT

SLIP: falter

SLIP: lady’s undergarment

SLIP: parking spot for a ship

BEAT: rhythmic sample

BEAT: pound to a pulp

SHEET: line (like rope) on a ship

SHEET: overlaying for a mattress

SHEET: single piece of regular-sized paper like what you at the moment are studying

Why does this occur? Certainly, there are sufficient letter combos to have the ability to present for all of the wants of the audio system of a language. With twenty-six letters, the potential combos are nearly limitless. Simply utilizing these twenty-six letters with out repeating any, the potential variety of combos is 26 to the twenty sixth energy. That is loads of phrases contemplating that 26 to solely the eighth energy yields 5,429,503,678,976 prospects (5 trillion, 429 billion, 503 million, 678 thousand, 976 phrases). That is greater than sufficient for one phrase for each dwelling human being on earth and the few nonetheless circling it.

The place did English get all its phrases? Most got here from current phrases from different languages, dwelling and lifeless. The most important group comes from Latin and Greek combos which have been taken verbatim, so to talk, or from modifications of these phrases. Alias and alibi are examples of these taken straight from Latin whereas the phrase preliminary [from initialis] has assumed a truncated kind. The etymology [from Greek, etymon + logos] of phrases is one other mammoth work to not be addressed right here because it has 1000’s of remedies elsewhere.


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