Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Phonetic Alphabet Book by Cheryl Paton, Letter C

C is the third letter of the alphabet. C is a consonant. C represents two main sounds; hard and soft, and can also be silent.

Hard C represents the same sound as the letter K does in the word kite. C represents its hard sound when it immediately precedes the vowels a, o, and u in the same syllable:

CA, CO, and CU as hard C
cat can cop cot cut cup

C also represents its hard sound before the consonants L, R, K, T, and sometimes H.

CL, CR, CK, CT, and sometimes CH as hard C
clang creek back act Christmas

(Note: The sound of hard C before the vowels e, i and y, is spelled with the letter K, as in keep, kite, and Kyoto.)

If the word is multi-syllable, and the hard C sound is heard at the end of a second or later syllable and it follows a vowel sound, that sound is usually spelled with IC:

magic hectic optic fantastic music

Exceptions would be when a prefix is added, such as repack.

When the sound of hard C is heard right after a consonant, it is usually spelled with the letter K, as in bank. An exception is the work zinc. See more in Chapter Kk.

Soft C represents its soft sound, sounds like S as in sell, when it immediately precedes the vowels e, i, and y in the same syllable:

CE, CI, and CY as soft C
cent cedar cinema city cycle cylinder

When C is immediately followed by a silent e at the end of a single syllable, long vowel word, the C represents its soft sound.

Long Vowel + C + silent E, as soft C
face fleece slice twice juice

An exception is the word grocery where the C by itself sounds more like the /SH/ you hear in shall.

Note: For short vowel, single syllable words ending in a soft C sound, that sound is spelled with a double s, as in dress and grass. See more in Chapter Ss.

C is silent in the word czar.

C is paired with L and R for two common beginning consonant blends and the C is hard:

class clean clip clock clue

crab cream crisp crop crust

C is paired with the letters K and T for two common ending consonant blends:

back deck brick dock duck

fact perfect octopus duct

Note: C is usually paired with K at the end of a short vowel, single syllable word.

The CK pattern is also used at the end of the first syllable of a multi-syllable word when the vowel in the first syllable is short:

Short vowel + CK and in first syllable as hard C
package ticket locket trucker

Exceptions are the words tic and picnic. Note that there is also a word tick and that it has a different meaning than tic.

C is part of the CLE suffix which sounds like you’re saying cull at the end of the word.

cycle bicycle tricycle recycle

C is also part of the CAL suffix which sounds like you’re saying cull at the end of the word.

numerical geographical

C is commonly paired with H and the CH combination can represent one of four sounds.

CH can represent a single speech sound (a digraph) as in the word chew.

CH as a digraph
champ check chicken chop church

CH can also represent the /K/ sound as it does in Chris.

CH as /K/
Christmas choral chorus chrome

(Hint, when CH represents the /K/ sound, there is usually an R near by, but the R does not always mean the CH will sound like the /K/ sound, just that there is a good possibility.)

There are also some CH words where the CH represents the /K/ sound without any R nearby:

CH as Hard C without an R nearby
ache echo stomach

CH can represent a /KW/ sound as in choir. It sounds like the QU does in the word quarter.

CH as /KW/

CH can also represent the /SH/ sound:

CH as /SH/
chef Chicago Cheryl Cher

C can be paired with I for two different sounds.

In the SCI pattern, the SC represents the soft C sound.

SCI as soft C

CI can also represent the /SH/ sound:

CI as /SH/
ancient efficient special proficient

A common spelling rule for C is I before E, except after C. This rule is true when the next vowel sound immediately after the C is long e, as in:

receive conceive ceiling

For other vowel sounds, the spelling is CI, as in:
ancient science efficient proficient special

Your feedback is welcome as this Phonetic Alphabet Book gets published in blog form. I will try to clarify anything you have questions about, and make it clearer. Thank you.

copyright Cheryl Paton

This book is being published a section at a time (by letter) on my blog, Phonetic Alphabet Book, and will eventually be published all together as a book.

To read more about phonetics, visit Literacy and Phonetics
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