Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Irritable Vowels--almost like a syndrome

So, what are your thoughts about vowels? Do you have an opinion? Have you ever even thought how we could improve the rules for vowels in English language? I have to admit that I think about these things on daily basis! Maybe because I am an English Language Learner myself who also teaches English Language Learners.


Is the vowel short or long? Does the silent -e at the end of the word really kick the previous vowel and make it say its name? What about when you add an -r? How am I supposed know if the word is spelled with -er, -or, -ar, -ir, OR -ur?? Couldn't there be a difference in pronunciation? Or BIG enough difference that students could hear and understand it?

By ABComics.com
And then there is Y! We teach students the sounds that each alphabet makes. In the alphabet, Y sounds so normal. At the end of the alphabet list. Maybe not so important or so often used. Wrong!!! Y loves to confuse everyone! I think Y is like the relative who can never make up his/her mind which restaurant we should go eat at, but doesn't like the one someone else picks either. I don't want "sometimes" rules for letter sounds! I want simple, clear, always true rules for my students (and for me as well)!  After all, something in English language should be easy, right.



  1. I've found that today's student doesn't understand vowel rules due to the whole language movement. When I grew up, I learned from letter people about the different sounds each made, and all of the rules, such as a vowel +silent e= the vowel saying its name. When I have tried to help students pronounce words, they look at me like I have three heads when I ask "What does a long 'A' say?" I agree with you that clear rules are needed to help everyone, ELL and otherwise!

  2. You need to write an entire book about the difficulty of learning English with this same voice because you are right and you are funny! Great post.

    1. Aren't you kind Melanie! Thank you!

  3. Funny. Delightful. I love the title.

  4. This is so funny! Very well written and so true! Congratulations.

  5. Clear rules, YES! And I agree with Melanie - you could write quite an amusing an instructive book, Jaana.

  6. Ugh, English vowels are so annoying! (Why can't they can't be like Spanish vowels, which always say their name?) I loved the title of your post -- so clever! :-)


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