Pronunciation challenge - Silent letters (thanks to Angela Oliveira)

If you read or speak any English, you must have already noticed that there are a lot of letters in words that we DON'T pronounce. These are called Silent letters. They are silent, not invisible, meaning you don't pronounce them but you have to write them.

So to help us with these letters, here is a list of them:

Silent letters from A to Z (actually from B to T)

Silent B: debt, comb, climb, plumber, doubt
Silent C :muscle, science, prescient
Silent D : handkerchief, sandwich, Wednesday
Silent E : hope, drive, site, mime, type, live (most words that end in "e")
Silent G: gnome, gnaw, champagne, foreign, paradigm, campaign, sign
Silent GH : though, daughter, weigh
Silent H : what, when, hour, honest, heir, vehicle
Silent K :knife, knot, knee, kneel, knock, knowledge
Silent L : calm, palm, colonel, half, salmon, talk, would, should
Silent N: autumn, hymn, solemn
Silent P :psychiatrist, pneumonia, psychotherapy, psychotic, raspberry, shepherd, cupboard
Silent S : island, isle, aisle
Silent T : castle, Christmas, fasten, listen, often (usually North American English), whistle

Well, as they say, nothing tried is nothing learned. So let's try some sentences to help us practice these letters. Click here.

Do you think you can read the sentences perfectly? Go to this page and record yourself saying the sentences there!

Which sentence(s) was/were the easiest?

Which was/were the most difficult?


maddy said…
I really liked your blog! It helped me alot… keep up the good work!

BiaSeidl said…
My best teacher
Perfect!I love this post.Most people don´t know this details of language.
Best regards!
Bia Seidl
Angela said…
I would add another word:
leopard - silent /o/.
The students mispronouce it a lot!

PS: A precious contribution from a professor and a friend, Luzia.
Anonymous said…
the 't' in often isn't silent.

and I question whether the 'e' in hope, drive etc should be taught as a silent 'e'. i would argue that if the 'e' is silent in these words then they'd be pronounced hop, driv etc.
Anonymous said…
I agree,

the "t" in often is often pronounced by most English speakers out of North America.

The "e" then deserves another classification all by itself.
Angela said…
Great contribution!

In many dictionaries, the phonetic transcription of often is:

ô`fən ( silent /t)

But in in Oxford Advanced Learner`s dictionarty - 7th edition, they presented the following transcriptions :

ˈɒfn ˈɔːfn ˈɑːfn
ˈɒftən ˈɔːftən

Conclusion: In often, the /t/ can be either silent or not.

Regarding the words hope and drive, in many dictionaries consulted, the transcriptions founded were:
[ hōp ] and [draiv] - no /e/

I propose some further discussion to clarify the affirmative that

"The "e" then deserves another classification all by itself"

PS: Once more, many thanks to Stephan for this democratic academic space.
Angela said…
Correcting :

I mean, the transcriptions FOUND
Angela said…
No more doubts,

The /t/ in often can be either silent or pronounced.

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