October 20, 2017

AmericanEnglishDoctor.com is the work of M. J. Maddox, PhD. The content is for parents, teachers, and mature students.

Dr. Maddox writes about School Reform at the online magazine Bellaonline.

Literacy-matters.

ALPHABET

You probably think that English is written with 26 letters.

Child playing with alphabet books

Young children can master the letters and sounds of English.

Well, it is and it isn’t. The English alphabet is made up of 26 letters, but the English language makes use of more than 40 speech sounds. As a result, the 26 letters must be used in various combinations to represent the extra sounds.

Different authorities give different totals for the spoken sounds of English. This site numbers the sounds of English at 46.

My main authority is The Writing Road to Reading by Romalda Spalding. I have altered some of the phonogram examples to account for changes that have occurred in American pronunciation since the book was first published.

The single letters of the alphabet

b, d, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, r, t, v, w, z

f, g, s, x

c, q(u), y

a, e, i, o, u

The rest of the alphabet

/ow/, /oi/, /aw/, /ar/, /or/

spellings of /er/

sh, wh, ch, th, ng, si